Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Easter

Regular readers of this blog would know that I'm not a religious person.
Yet I still participate in the festival of Easter in my own way. After all being an atheist doesn't preclude my ability to have a good time be it Christmas or Easter.
So what does Easter mean to me?
I suppose any event that is celebrated collectively by society is a happy event. The feeling of sharing in a mood, of belonging to a group is just something you can't buy.
And yet there's a foreboding in the air, I wonder how long we will continue to openly celebrate Christian festivals before being forced to feel guilty that our celebrations are offending Muslims.
The fact that we already tend to replace specific street decorations at Christmas time with colorful but non specific artifacts signals this trend. This morning I read that a large public hospital in Sydney has removed the crucifix from their prayer room so as not to offend Muslims.
Isn't it ironic that it's left to an atheist like myself to lament the passing of Christian pride?
Maybe I should just concentrate on my other preoccupation of howling at the full moon, after all it is that time of the month.

The greeting of "Happy Easter" coincides with my thinking about happiness in general.
I've been reading a book review of yet another book on happiness by Alain de Botton. This reminds me that I must get my hands on a few of his books. Popular psychology grounded in classical philosophy seems to be the way to go.
The important thing to realize is that in our daily pursuit of happiness, we often lose track of why we do anything and what significance it has for us in relation to our eternal striving for happiness.
We go to work everyday and the presumption is that our work must make us happy. I'm paraphrasing Alain de Botton's ideas here from The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work.He's also written The Consolations of Philosophy, The Architecture of Happiness, How Proust Can Change Your Life, Status Anxiety.
And when I think about it, he is right. How many of us are unhappy with our work? How many of us expect to find personal fulfillment through our work?
After all, we introduce ourselves by name to strangers and define ourselves in terms of what we do for a living. Our personal sense of self importance and value is defined by what we do.
In fact, seeking personal fulfillment through our work seems doomed to failure for most of us.
Seeing ourselves only in terms of what we do is also very limited in its capacity to define us as individuals.
For example, try to imagine a mafia boss. Would you consider him to be cultured? Would you consider him to be intellectual? Not if you think within the boundaries of you are what you do.
And this thought was brought on by another book review, Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano.

Since I'm talking about book reviews, Thomas Szasz is an extremely interesting guy who's written The Myth of Mental Illness and The Myth of Psychotherapy and Psychiatry: The Science of Lies. Having listened to a radio interview I found this rebel thinker extremely fascinating and disturbingly convincing in his arguments.

Happy Easter Everybody

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none said...

I just see the holidays has different manifestations of pagan rituals that have been going on for thousands of years..whoever is in charge adds their own twist.

The easter bunny hides colored eggs and Jesus rises from the dead.

Which is more believable?

Jeannie said...

Happy Easter!

Anonymous said...

Szasz see's the mentally ill as mere pharmakoi? I always thought that was what criminals involved in the justice system were... ;-)

Happy Easter, Lexcen!

Anonymous said...

Interesting post, Lex. I like the way your thoughts flow. Dennis Prager has a book or two out on happiness. I don't identify myself by what I do anymore. I work part time as a physical therapist, but I stay at home most of the time with my kids. I "see" myself as many other things.

Peaceful Easter to you!