The Impossibility Of Universal Happiness

Happiness is often seen as a goal of humanity, and this has been the case for several centuries. You would think that if happiness were possible to attain, it would have been attained relatively quickly! Long term happiness isn't possible to attain for several reasons, partly because there is a strong social component to all emotions.

We feel happy when we are in control of our lives, thus we dislike being controlled, yet to attain this happiness we must control others, so we can only become happy at the cost of making someone else unhappy.

Some circumstances can be mutually beneficial for people or organisms, but there are inevitably situations where only one (or one group) can benefit at the expense of another, so competition will always occur, and thus power battles will always exist. Fairly choosing (at random?) a victor in any competitive situation would not help, as the judge themselves would be in a position of power. Would a random choice be fair? Choosing the party most in need might be unfair to the other party, if they are most deserving (which would be impossible to judge fairly), and still, the judge would remain inherently superior to either party which itself is unfair. The loser would always become the oppressed, in any judgement situation.

The best we can be is aware of the way in which our choices impact the wellbeing of others. Happiness for all could never exist, except by accepting each situation without emotion. Rational understanding will attenuate distress.

But what of solitary happiness? This is more possible. In a situation devoid of other people the emotions diminish, yet we are all communities of cells, each themselves in competition and natural harmony and disharmony. There are always judgements about what is good, battles of competition, winners and losers.

Mark Sheeky, 17 March 2017