Happiness as scenery

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“‘What, then,’ comes the retort, ‘if good health, rest, and freedom from pain are not likely to hinder virtue, shall you not seek all these?’ Of course I shall seek them, but not because they are goods – I shall seek them because they are according to nature and because they will be acquired through the exercise of good judgment on my part.What, then, will be good in them? This alone – that it is a good thing to choose them. For when I don suitable attire, or walk as I should, or dine as I ought to dine, it is not my dinner, or my walk, or my dress that are goods, but the deliberate choice which I show in regard to them, as I observe, in each thing I do, a mean that conforms with reason.” Moral letters to Lucilius, Seneca

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” US Declaration of Independence

I will not seek out happiness, because to do so it to chase a shadow. Happiness is not an objective in itself, but rather a side effect of living a virtuous life. I will experience (not achieve) happiness when I am living my life in alignment with my values, regardless of the circumstances of my life in the moment.  If my life can be consider as a journey that I have some ability to direct the path of, happiness is the pleasant scenery along portions of the way, but it is neither the purpose of the journey or the destination.

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