The Pursuit of Happiness_ A Book of Studies and Strowings
PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
A BOOK OF
STUDIES AND STROWINGS
DANIEL G. BRINTON, A.M., M.D., LL.D.
AUTHOR OF “RACES AND PEOPLES,” “THE MYTHS OF THE NEW WORLD,”“ESSAYS OF AN AMERICANIST,” ETC., ETC.
DAVID MCKAY, PUBLISHER
No. 23 South Ninth Street
Copyright, 1892, by D. G. Brinton.
WM. F. FELL & CO.,
Electrotypers and Printers
1220-24 SANSOM ST.,
HON. GEORGE PIERCE ANDREWS,
JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK,
This Book is Inscribed,
IN MEMORY OF A FRIENDSHIP WHICH HAS CONTINUED
UNINTERRUPTED SINCE OUR EARLIEST
“We hold these truths to be self-evident,—that all men arecreated equal; that they are endowed by their Creator withcertain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, andTHE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.”—The Declaration of Independenceof the United States of America.
Happiness as the Aim of Life.
I. Is a Guide to Happiness Possible? And if Possible, isit Desirable?
Objections to the Pursuit of Happiness as a Low and Selfish Aim.—Answeredby the Fact that we Cannot do Otherwise than Pursue it.—Enjoymentis not a Sin, but a Duty.—No One Can Impart Happinesswho does not Possess it Himself.—It is Desirable, therefore, thatMen be Taught How to become Happy.—Nor is this a Commendationof Selfishness,
II. The Definition of Happiness.
Happiness is not Pleasure, but is Built Upon it.—Explanation of Pleasureand Pain in Sensation.—Happiness Dependent on the Will andSelf-consciousness.—Difference Between Self-feeling and Self-seeking.—Happinessis the Increasing Consciousness of Self.—It maybe Derived from Other than Pleasurable Feelings.—The Yearningfor Joy is a Cry of Nature.—It is the Secret of Evolution,
III. The Relative Value of Pleasures.
All Pleasures are Inseparably Connected.—The Error of Religions andPhilosophies which Condemn Any.—Escape from Pain the LowestForm of Pleasure.—Indifference to Pleasure a Sign of Mental Failing.—Contentmentis not Happiness.—Happiness means Expansionand Growth.—Practical Difficulty in Comparing Pleasures.—TheHierarchy of Enjoyments.—The Blunders of Asceticism.—The Equalityof Pleasures, as Such,
IV. The Distribution of Happiness.
Relation of Happiness to the Means of Happiness.—Law of the “Rateof Pleasure.”—The Extremes of the Social Order Equally Unfavorable.—Civilizationdoes not Increase Personal Enjoyment.—SocialEvils Diminish, but Personal Sufferings Increase.—The Motive of theTrue Civilization.—Women Have Less Happiness than Men.—Partlythrough their Physical Nature, Partly through Social Impositions.—Pernicious,Legal and Ecclesiastical Restrictions.—The Trueand False Education of Women.—Man will Profit by Woman’s Improvement.—Childhoodand Youth not the Happiest Periods of Life.—EnjoymentShould Increase with Mental and Physical Vigor.—OldAge is not the Period of Wisdom.—Spurious Enjoyments of the Aged.
V. Principles of a Self-Education for the Promotion ofOne’s Own Happiness.
Happiness is the Reward of Effort.—The Greatest Efficiency is not theGreatest Happiness.—The Principles of a Self-Education:—I. TheMultiplication of the Sources of Enjoyment—What these Sources Are—TheAvoidance of Profitless Pain—The Value of Knowledge—TheTrue End of Culture—Falsity of “Contentment with Little.”—TheKind of Knowledge Required:—1. Of Our Bodily Constitution—2.Of the Elements of the Sciences—3. Of the Nature of the Mind—4.Of the Principles of Business—5. Of the Value of Evidence.—II.The Maintenance of a Sensibility to Pleasure.—The Criteria of PleasurableSensations.—The Anatomy of Ennui.—III. The Search for Varietyof Impressions.—Variety Necessary to High Pleasure.—Pleasuremust be Remitted.—The Individual should Seek Novelty.—TheEvil Effects of Habit.—IV. The Proper Proportion Between Desireand Pleasure.—The Wisdom of Counting the Cost.—Precepts forthe Regulation of Desire.—V. Make all Pleasures a Part of Happiness.—AllPleasures are Excellent.—Error of the Contrary Doctrine.—AllPleasures should be Brought into Relation.—The Bond ofSense to what is Beyond Sense.—The Reality of the Ideal.
How Far Our Happiness Depends on Natureand Fate.
I. Our Bodily and Mental Constitutions.
Life as a Synonym of Happiness.—Necessity and Chance the Arbitersof Life.—The Endowment of the Child.—The Laws of Heredity.—Hereditaryand Congenital Traits.—The Heritage of the Race.—FamilyJewels and Family Curses.—The Avenue of Escape.—Preceptsfor Self-training.—Words for Women.—Beauty and its Cult.—ItsPerils and its Power.—The Ideal of the Beautiful.—The FourTemperaments.—Cheerfulness and its Physical Seat.—Diseases thatare Cheerful and those that are Not.—What to do in an Attack of theBlues.—Old Age and its Attainment.—The Fallacious Bliss of Youth.—Menwho Outlive Themselves.
II. Our Physical Surroundings.
Clothing and its Objects.—The Dress of Women.—The Value of GoodClothes.—The Room and its Furniture.—Our Living Rooms.—OwnYour Own House.—Foes to Fight in House-building.—A NewPrinciple for Architects.—Love of Home and Homesickness.—HowClimate Influences Cheerfulness.
III. Luck and its Laws.
What Solon said about Happiness.—Destiny in Human Affairs.—TheCalculation of Chances.—Results of the Laws of Luck.—They Cannotbe Escaped.—Runs of Luck and their Results.—“A Fool forLuck,” and Why.—The Story of Polycrates and its Moral.—TheFetichism of Gamblers.—Luck Does Less Than Many Think.—TheMiracles of Insurance.—The Dark Hand of Destiny.—Trifles Rulethe World.—We Are the Slaves of Chance.—But What is Chance?
How Far Our Happiness Depends onOurselves.
I. Our Occupations—Those of Necessity and those ofChoice.
The Washerwoman’s Ideal of Happiness.—Labor is the True Source ofEnjoyment.—Selection of an Occupation.—How to Find Pleasure inIts Pursuit.—Fitness and Unfitness for Certain Occupations.—Dangersof Diligence in Business.—The Rare Complaint, Over-Conscientiousness.—Makinga Living a Mean Business.—Occupations of Choice.—Reflectionson Recreations.
II. Money-making, Its Laws and Its Limits.
The Universal Prayer.—Property the Foundation of Progress.—Wealthis Welcome to All.—What Riches Give.—“Effective” and “Productive”Riches.—The Author Discovers the Fortunate Isles.—Butis Promptly Disenchanted.—How to Get Rich.—Another Way toGet Rich.—New Lamps for Old.—Riches and Happiness.
III. The Pleasures we may Derive from Our Senses.
The Elect of God are those who Improve their Faculties.—Division ofthe Faculties.—The Rules of Pleasure.—The Rule of Moderation.—TheRule of Variety.—Pleasures of the Muscular Sense.—Of the Senseof Touch.—Of the Sense of Smell.—Of Tobacco Using.—Eating asa Fine Art.—The Symmetry of a Well-served Dinner.—GastronomicPrecepts.—Pleasures of the Sense of Hearing.—Of the Sense ofSight.
IV. The Pleasures we may Derive from Our Emotions.
Hope and Fear.—The Folly of Philosophies.—Hopes which are Incompatibles.—AMost Useful Suggestion.—Fear is a Safeguard.—Worryand its Remedies.—Courage and Apathy.—Remorse and Regret.—Anger,Hatred, and Revenge.—The Imagination.—The Esthetic Emotions.—TheContemplation of Nature.—The Arts of Pleasure.—TheExcellence of Good Taste.—Plot-Interest.—The Emotions of Pursuit.—TheEmotions of Risk.
V. The Pleasures we may Derive from Our Intellect.
The Search for Truth.—Advantages of Intellectual Pleasures.—Especiallyto Women.—Riddles and Puzzles.—Reading, and Rules for It.—MyOwn Plan.—What Line to Read In.—A Plea for Poetry.—ThinkingAbout Reading.—What Meditation Means.—Social IntellectualPleasures.—Writing and Letter Writing.—Keeping a Diary.—ThePursuit of Truth.—What Truth Is.—The Study of Science.
VI. The Satisfaction of the Religious Sentiment.
Happiness the Only Standard of Value.—The Strange Law of Evolution.—TheIdeal of Humanity.—The Position of Dogmatic Religion.-TheUnhappiness Produced by Religions.—The Happiness Derivedfrom Religions.—The Doctrine of Faith.—Morality and Religion.—ErroneousEstimate of the Moral Life.—True Religious Unity.—TheReligion of the Future.
VII. The Cultivation of Our Individuality.
The Prevailing Lack of Individuality.—Examples of Great Teachers.—TheMan of Strong Personality.—What Individuality Is and Is Not.—Valueof Self-knowledge.—The Pains of Diffidence.—Dangers ofSelf-conceit.—The Tyranny of Opinion.—The Foolishness of FixedPrinciples.—Obstinate Asseveration.—Giving and Taking Advice.—Decisionof Character.—Importance of Reserve.—Sincerity is Essential.—Veracityat Least to Oneself.—Seek Many-sidedness of Character.
How Far Our Happiness Depends on Others.
I. What Others Give Us: Safety, Liberty, Education.
Man’s Dependence on Society for his Safety.—Security the Aim of Government.—TwoTheories of Government.—Justice as the Aim of Government.—Freedomthe Aim of Law.—Another Theory of Government.—Knowledgethe Brother of Liberty.—Education a Necessity.—DefectiveEducation of Women.—What it Should Be.—StudyShould Be Made a Pleasure.—Man’s Dependence on Others.
II. What we Owe Others: Morality, Duty, Benevolence.
Happiness and Virtue are Independent Aims.—Morality and the MoralSense not the Same.—What Morality Is.—No Universal Moral Precepts.—TheDualism of Morals.—The Sense of Duty.—The Pleasuresof the Moral Sense.—What “A Clear Conscience” Means.—Whatis “The Chief End of Man.”—The Moral Sense OpposesMoral Laws.—The Benevolent Emotions.
III. The Practice of Business and the Enjoyment of Society.
The Value of Association.—Society Should Not Ask the Sacrifice of theIndividual.—Maxims for Dealing with Men: First, Distrust; Second,Trust.—What “Society” is.—The Drawing-room as the Shrine ofCivilization.—Good-will the Basis of Good Society.—Ordinary Peopleare the Most Agreeable.—Maxim for Success in Society.—TheAim of Society.—Good Society Not Selfish.—The Power of Society.—WhatPoliteness is.—Society Conversation.—The Expert in SmallTalk.
IV. On Fellowship, Comradeship, and Friendship.
Man’s Highest Pleasure is in Humanity.—What Fellowship Means.—Mutualityof Interests the Basis of Social Progress.—But the Individualmust be Respected.—Comradeship is Based on Tastes in Common.—Itis a Substitute for Friendship.—Examples of it.—TheMeaning of Friendship.—What Weakens and what Strengthensit.—It should be Carefully Cultivated.—Friendship Between Menand Women.—Examples of it.
V. Love, Marriage, and the Family Relation.
The Single Life Ever Incomplete.—The Holiness of Maternity.—TheEmotion of Love Explained.—Love and Beauty.—Love Immortalizedin Posterity.—The History of Marriage.—The Three Conditionsof Marriage.—The Question of Divorce.—What True MarriageMeans.—Opinions of Thinkers About Divorce.—The Family as theObject of Marriage.—The Family Tie Among Us.
The Consolations of Affliction.
I. The Removal of Unhappiness.
Suffering is Unavoidable.—Where to Look for Consolation.—Two ConsolingReflections.—Advantage of a Multitude of Miseries.—TheHabit of Unhappiness.—Some Require Ill Fortune.—Two PopularMethods of Consolation.—Talk It Over, and Why.—Our StrangeClaim for Happiness.—The Tolerance of Suffering.—The UniversalPanacea.—Look Before and After.—Deal Justly by Yourself.—Howto Regard Incivility and Ingratitude.—Success Arising from Failures.—Resignation,Sympathy.—Remember Your Advantages.—ThoughtsAbout Time and Death.
II. The Inseparable Connection of Pleasure and Pain.
Pleasure Requires Pain, and Joy Sorrow.—The Words of Socrates.—PhysiologicalRelations of Pleasure and Pain.—Their Analogy to Joyand Sorrow.—The Oneness of the Pleasure-Pain Sensation.—TheRhythm of Sensations and Emotions.—Pleasure Derived from Pain,Joy from Sorrow.—Quotation from Leigh Hunt.—Quotation from SirRichard Steele.—Sadness the Best Preparative for Gladness.—Influenceof Time on Pleasures and Pains.
III. The Education of Suffering.
What is Suffering?—The Human Passion of Sorrow.—Sorrow as theInitiation into the Mysteries of Life.—The Noblest Prizes Won Onlyby Suffering.—It is the Highest Inspiration of Religion and Art.—ItAlone Teaches the Elder Truths.—The Ministry of Grief.—TheSweetness of Departed Joys.—The Compensations of Loves that areLost.—The Despair that is Divine.
Happiness as the Aim of Life.
I. Is a Guide to Happiness Possible? And, ifPossible, is it Desirable?
The pursuit of happiness,—the pursuit of one’s own happiness,—isit a vain quest? and, if not vain, is it a worthyobject of life?
There have been plenty to condemn it on both grounds.They have said that the endeavor is hopeless; that to studythe art of being happy is like studying the art of makinggold, which is the only art by which gold can never bemade. Nothing, they add, is so unpropitious to happinessas the very effort to attain it.
They go farther. “Let life,” they proclaim, “have alarger purpose than enjoyment.” They quote the mightyPlato, when he demands that the right aim of living shallstand apart, and out of all relation to pleasure or pain.They declare that the theory of happiness as an end is themost dangerous of all in modern sociology—the tap-rootPg 10of the worst weeds in the political theories of the day, forthe reason that the individual pursuit of