10 April 2010
An earlier post posed the the question, "Who are you?" For me, this is a difficult question to ask. I've been thinking about it a great deal as I have been reading Derrick Jensen's incredible book, Walking On Water: Reading, Writing, Revolution. The book speaks of the Aristotelian idea of eudaimonia ... well-being; how well we match our actions with our natural gifts to be.
Ahhh ... that's better.
Thomas Jefferson concept of "tranquil permanent felicity" is in accord with Aristotle and Jenson.
Jefferson was, at least philosophically, a man of temperance. In his pursuit of happiness he espoused "a just equilibrium of the passions."
My temperament is sanguine. I steer my bark with Hope in the head, leaving fear astern. My hopes indeed sometimes fail; but not oftener than the forebodings of the gloomy. There are, I acknowledge, even in the happiest life, some terrible convulsions, heavy set-offs against the opposite page of the account. I have often wondered for what good end the sensations of Grief could be intended. All our other passions, within proper bounds, have a useful object.
His sense of ease came as a result of what he called a balanced imagination. He knew that disorder, as far as the spirit is concerned, disrupted the hope of attaining any notion of hope. As Andrew Burstein wrote in his book, Jefferson’s Secrets: Death & Desire at Monticello, "Happiness can just as easily be said to derive from life of the body as the mind."
Leonardo ... "The world needs dreamers. The world needs doers. But the world really needs dreamers who do."
This is where it is starting to come together for me.
Jensen makes a convincing argument that "eudaimonia" ... happiness, well-being (which works better for me as being well) ... is actually "fittingness," how well your actions match your gifts. Match who you are.
An informative article on eudaimonia here.