Thursday, March 30, 2006

Happiness through Adversity?

Those who weather adversity well are living proof of one of the paradoxes of happiness: We need more than pleasure to live the best possible life. Our contemporary quest for happiness has shriveled to a hunt for bliss—a life protected from bad feelings, free from pain and confusion.

This anodyne definition of well-being leaves out the better half of the story, the rich, full joy that comes from a meaningful life. It is the dark matter of happiness, the ineffable quality we admire in wise men and women and aspire to cultivate in our own lives. It turns out that some of the people who have suffered the most, who have been forced to contend with shocks they never anticipated and to rethink the meaning of their lives, may have the most to tell us about that profound and intensely fulfilling journey that philosophers used to call the search for "the good life."

Read it all here.

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