The three points of a circle (of life) - part I
A series of recent reads (philosophical books, yes) had me exposed to three main arguments, and had me contemplating on what goes on around us.
What started out as an unbearable sleepless week (partly induced by jetlag and the sweltering heat in sunny Singapore), these thought-provoking arguments proposed mainly by philosopher Julian Baggini made the week more enjoyable and definitely more interesting
As long as you’re happy – really? (on the pursuit of happiness)
Tired of hearing your folks or peers go ‘as long as you are happy’? Well I am. The last time you brought home this horrendously ugly girl; the last time you told someone that your lifelong ambition was to be a rock star – cajoling or comforting as it may sound, the almost-insincere hackneyed phrase has become less than pleasing to the ear.
Immanuel Kant once said, ‘the concept of happiness is such an indeterminate one that even though everyone wishes to attain happiness, he can never say definitely and consistently what it is that he really wishes and wills’. Such intrinsic value happiness brings to Man, that we are (more often than not) consumed by the idea of pursuing happiness that we very much miss the point of happiness altogether.
Baggini brings out a point that in the world today, we humans have a tacit understanding of happiness. One of the most common ‘lies’ that a civilized parent would commit, would be that they do not mind what their children end up doing ‘as long as they are happy’. One may quip, why is that a ‘lie’? It is this I will try to explain.
If I were to step out of the closet, openly embrace my interest in someone of the same gender, get happily hitched with my partner, (forcefully – because I live in a state that suppresses LGBT rights) and adopt a couple of adorable little babies, I would possibly live out the rest of my years a happy man.
Yet would my Asian parents really not mind? In an Asian society where every single action of an individual is subjected to heavy opinion, where conformity is expected and anything out of the ordinary is frowned upon. As Baggini puts it, would parents really not mind their children ending up a drug-dealer or spiraling into abysmal pits of vices?