Tuesday, 26 April 2016

The purpose of life is to try to better ourselves and our world.

  What is the meaning of something, if it is destined to end at some point? This is a simple, but terrifying question, because the answer to it, could potentially be that everything in our lives; everything that we struggle everyday to keep together or to achieve, could be pointless, since someday, it will fade away and be destroyed by the unstoppable flow of time. But the answer to this question is not actually a depressing, pointless ''nothing'', but something that can bring hope to the heart of every human and point out to us, what is truly important and therefore, what we should focus on, primary, our energy and time.
   In order for me to make my case, one must first come to the realization that the most important thing we have in our lives, is the one that is eternal, since it is the only one that will endure in time. This eternal thing, is us, and not us as in body, since even that will die some day, but us as in our soul, that is immortal. For my non religious readers if you have any objections about the existence of souls, i encourage you to read or debate me, at my previous article, where i make my case, as always based on logic, about the existence of souls. In this article i will continue taking as granted that we are not a body destined to die, but we are immortal souls, that simply have a body. The importance of anything else is limited, in comparison with the importance of our soul or simply put our inner self, for everything else including the money we have earned, our health or the things we have acquired throughout the years, will not stay with us forever or will end, with our death (hopefully not sooner), while 'us' will remain forever. This is the primary reason any person should take care of his souls. Humans, consume their energy and their time, taking care of not so significant stuff, while they overlook the one that bears the most importance, their soul. And if someone wonders how he can take care of his soul, he must gain a deeper understanding of what soul really is. According to ancient Greek philosophers and specifically Pythagoras, soul is the summation of all of our emotions, while spirit is our ability to think, meaning our intellect. So, one by taking care of his character, can take care of his soul. Socrates, represents our soul and spirit as a rider on a chariot (spirit) trying to discipline 2 horses (soul), one of the them as the obeying horse (the right, as for ancient Greeks right represents the ''good'') and the other one (left) as the disobedient. The obedient is the one that represents the positive emotions, that stems from our soul, like love, friendship, mercy etc and the disobedient represents the negative emotions, like hate, anger, jealousy etc that a person (rider-intellect-spirit) must control and discipline. In this symbolic story, in order for the rider to take the ''good path'' he must turn both horses towards the right. The right, obedient horse, being positive emotions wants from its nature alone to turn right and so the rider has no problem disciplining it. On the other hand, the left, disobedient horse, wants by its nature to go left and so the purpose of the rider is to set it under his control and force it to turn towards its desired path, meaning the right. That is the purpose of humanity, according to Socrates, to govern and rule over the negative emotions that are being produced from our soul. That is the same as bettering one's character. Of course one should not just stop there, but having freed his soul from the bonds of anger, hate etc should also live a good, fair life, by applying these teachings. That means, that the primary efforts made in someones life, should be focus into the improvement of his character, since by taking care of his character, he is taking care of his soul, which is not an object or a thing that he owns, but is what the person really is.
  Moreover, one should wonder beyond these philosophical arguments and see how spending time taking care of his existence, or simply put his soul, can benefit him in life. Because, all this theory is nice, but the practical use of it, is also important, maybe much more than the theory itself and also applicable in real life. So, it is imperative to understand, that the improvement of one's live, is not a result of the betterment of his environment, but of his character or differently put, his soul. Just think, that there are all kinds of different people, some of them living in an environment worse than you do, some of them leaving with much less money than you, or being less loved and more lonely than you are and there are also a lot of people, that live in a better environment than you, there are those that have more money than you, or have a more love in their lives, by having found maybe their soul-mate, or having a big loving family. And now think, that there are people happier and unhappier than you, who live in both of there categories. There are people, who has suffered a lot in their lives and somehow still managed to be happy and good and there are people that life offered everything someone could possible ask for, like love, family, money etc and are still not happy, or even worse they destroyed what was given to them. Why is that? Well the answer is simple. It is because these people are different from one another. They have different characters and they react different in similar situations. What makes our live and what shapes our world is us and we and only we are in charge of our happiness and we are strictly responsible for the happiness of our loved ones. Of course the situations that we have been through in our lives can affect us and shape, not only our environment, but also our character, but another person in the same position as us, could have given up long ago, or could have done much better, depending of his decisions and actions. And on what does someone's decisions and actions depend on? His character of course! The way we deal with our situations that life brings us and the way we interact with the people around us, from the smallest to the most important decision, is based on our character and if we better it, we will be led into a whole different path and will change our life positively.
  The definition of madness is to do the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. How would you expect the situation and the environment of your life to better, if you don’t improve the way you take your decisions and the way you behave? If your character remains the same, the sad truth is that the conditions in which you are living your life, will remain approximately constant, even though your environment or life style may change. That is due to the fact, that the way we see and feel the world is entirely subjective and the only that dictates how happy we are or how good we feel, is not money, a rich life, or a comfortable house, but our emotions. Happiness, is an emotion and therefore it depends only on how we perceive the world and not how the world is. That is the reason why people with far less materialistic goods or even love and family than us, are somehow happier, while humans who live in a far better materialistic or more loving environment, are not happy. And everything we wish to obtain in life, is in order to try to make our self or the people we love happy. But again, the thing that makes the biggest difference in the life of our loved ones, is us, since we are also such a big part of their lives! Furthermore, if we wish to improve the world we live in, we must change actions and start to act differently, more sensitive and help to make a difference. The fact remains, that if we do not change our actions, our live will not change and in order to ensure that you will take a different path, a better one, you must change you behaviour and your decision or simply put, your character.
  Finally, as i have stated in my previous article (http://theoryofhope.blogspot.ca/…/firstof-all-in-order-to-m… ) the only way to achieve happiness is to improve your character. Everything else a person tries to acquire (e.g. money, love, goods), is in order for him to find happiness, but as i have stated that is not the right way to find it. Instead, one should focus his energy and time more into improving himself and bettering his character, by taking control of his negative emotions. In the very end, no matter how much love or materialistic goods one have, how can he be happy when his souls is being ravaged by negative emotions, like anger, hate or gloat? And how can he be good towards his close ones, his society and even with him self, when he is being pushed into making bad choices, driven by resentment, jealousy or envy? If one does not seize control of his left horse, it matters not how good and fair life is to him, he will never be as happy and he will never be as a positive influence for his society or his friends as he could have been, if he had improved his character. Sadly, humans can never achieve perfection and will always have flaws in their character, but that should not dishearten us from trying, because the way one should look at that matter, is that there will always be room for improvement.
  All in all, the thing that is the most important in our lives, is our soul, since it is not something that we possess, but it is what we truly are and unlike everything else, it is forever. Therefore, we should focus on taking care of it, by improving our character via controlling our negative emotions and emphasizing on the good ones. Moreover, this will have many positive aspects in our lives and will lead us to a different way of thinking and behaving, which will result in improving our world and environment.
                                                                                                         Andreas Sarchosis

Sunday, 24 April 2016

The secret that leads to happiness, is to try to become a better person

First of all, in order to make my case, we should think about happiness is. Well, happiness is nothing more than an emotion, a feeling, or a state of mind. It is not a physical object nor does it exist outside the persons psychological world, or simply put, his mind. Therefore, it is also created by emotions and it exist by them and as one of them. Of course, happiness is affected by our environment, but also, since they it is just an emotion (they are an idea in our head, not a physical object) it can be produced and controlled by us. We are in control of our own happiness. Now what creates these happy emotions? The first answer that would come to the majority of people would be money, fame and others materialistic gains, There would be a minority who would respond love, companionship, even family. But, what truly creates these emotions, is none of the above, but rather ourselves.  And now let me make my case, which will be divided in two parts. First, we must consider that food, sex, trips and generally all the materialistic goods that money or fame can provide you does not make you truly happy, rather they just provide entertainment, since happiness is a state of mind that does not decay or disappears after the fun this goods has provide you with, ends. Simply put, entertainment, only cause you fun the time you are are entertained, meaning that after the food ends, after the sex is finished, or after you return from your vacations, you will stop having fun and therefore you will not be joyful anymore. But happiness is a state of mind that accompanies you, before and after the food, before, during and after sex; and before, during and after the vacations; it does not disappears after the 'entertaining' time has ended, and it even endures difficult times. Even if a person was to make the entertaining time 'permanent', meaning never stopping to party, that would still not lead him to true happiness because happiness is an emotion and it does not result from materialistic goods or generally physical things. Therefore, it is easy to confuse happiness with just having fun so we must consider that happiness may result from other emotions and not money or fame etc. Moreover, we should think about which emotions are the strongest. Which do you think, will make you feel better: eating a pizza alone or having a nice dinner with family and friends? Having sex with a new partner or making love to your significant other? Being high and drunk, or feeling the tranquility only love can give you? The answer is obvious. Also, I don"t think it is hard to understand, that no matter how much fun a person can have, he will not be happy as long as he has negative emotions ravaging his psychological world, like jealousy, hate or stress. All in all, positive emotions constitute happiness, not physical objects.       Second, I must ask you, what would be the point to have all the goods in the world, materialistic goods like money and mental goods like love, if you were not to exploit and use them properly? Meaning, what would be the point to have all the money in the world, if someone was to spend them on drugs and end up sick and dying, or to lose them in casinos or waste it generally? That would not make him happy. What would be the point to have fame if you were to end up like those washed-up actors you don"t see in the movies anymore? That would not cause you happiness. Also, what would be the point, to have a relationship with a person you love, if that relationship were to end due to ones own or the others individual fault? Even further, what would be the point to have everything you want, money, love, fame if negative emotions tormented you every day (jealousy, hate, stress, guilt) never to allow you to be happy? It does not matter if you can have all the mental or materialistic goods you wish for if you were not to use them correctly. And if you think i am over exaggerating, consider how many people had money and fame and destroyed everything by their mistakes, or were never happy with them. Think how many persons could have been happy after they had won their significant other, or after they had made a family, and they but ended up poisoning their relationships or up braking up, because they had negative emotions in their heads, like jealousy or resentfulness. What a person needs in order to achieve happiness is the knowledge of how to exploit and use the goods he already has. That kind of knowledge is called wisdom. Wisdom is the knowledge, the ability, someone has to understand and separate what is the right from wrong and what is good from bad (Socrates). With wisdom, you will be able to discover happiness, since you will be able to properly utilize everything you already have and you will be able to find the beauty of the world in small things, of our everyday life. Only then can a person, truly find happiness, with everything life has already blessed him with and of course clear his mental world (his soul if i am allowed to say for my religious readers) from all negative emotions, like jealousy or hate. Everything else is just an occasional and temporary time of 'having fun' that people confuse with happiness, when they have the ability (money) to repeat it often. A person is able to find happiness even if he has no materialistic goods like money because he has all the mental goods he needs, since he is wise. A person can acquire wisdom only when he strives to become a better human being, when he takes care of his psychological world and tries to be good and just. Gandhi himself stated that his life was a sequence of misfortune events that he managed to overcame with the help of Bhagavad-Ghita. In an other statement he said that he was a happy person. Why? Because Gandhi was a wise person and therefore he managed not only to pull through all the disasters that tortured his life, but even to achieve happiness. Being wise he was able to 'utilize' all the mental goods he had on his life, disregarding money and became a symbol of tranquility. I strongly recommend to read the ' Les miserables' of Victor Hugo, to realize what happiness truly consists of. To conclude, happiness is an emotion and therefore it is not a product of goods or fun time, money can provide you with. It is a state of mind that does not decay and disappears when the fun is over, but is a product of other positive emotions, like love. Furthermore, no matter how many goods (mental or materialistic) a person has, he will not be happy unless he can live with them 'properly' and not waste them. In order to achieve that he needs to have a piece of wisdom in him. Wisdom is only achievable when a person strives to became good and a better character.All in all, if you wish to became truly happy, try to become a better person, in order to do that, you should study philosophy to find what is fundamentally good and bad, so you can apply that to your life. I recommend you to read Plato; his books contain everything a person needs to know in order to make a just and good life, and therefore, be happy.

                                                                                                          Andreas Sarchosis