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On joy of finding 'inner peace'

Reading Janie Fleming's article entitled "Finding a recipe for happiness in that someone special" in the April 7 issue of the 'Prince,' I felt mildly amused again by some of our naive attitudes toward human happiness. If you're unhappy, please read on.

So what may be the sources of your unhappiness? There are various popular answers. If it's not your thesis, then it must be that you don't exercise enough. If you do exercise enough, then it might be that you think too much. If you're not much of a thinker, then perhaps it's just Princeton, or capitalism, or an absence of God and an overabundance of plastic in your life (condoms, credit cards etc.). Or who knows, maybe you're an only child and you've just found out that you have a sibling who was sold into slavery in the south seas because your parents decided they could support only one of you, and flipped a coin.


If none of these work for you, then it's your genes. You're unhappy because you happen to be homozygous for a deletion in one of your happiness genes. Take Prozac, or if you don't believe in synthetic medications, try St. John's wort. The point is, you have to find a way to be happy, an admittedly middle-class aspiration.

But more often than not, as Fleming's article illustrates, we blame our unhappiness on a shortage of love. What we fail to see is that love is not a dietary supplement for the attainment of earthly happiness. It would be myopic as well as unjust to hope that X or Y can be our vehicle to future bliss if we're feeling out of sorts with things in the present.

Take responsibility. Don't burden somebody else with the task of imbuing your life with meaning. Love exists for its own sake, not for the sake of filling cavities in our lives. To quote Dostoevsky, "Faith does not, in the realist, spring from miracle, but miracle from faith." I feel tempted to say the same about love and happiness.

Get yourself an ego, discover inner peace, cultivate a sense of self-worth, and then let the miracle of love work wonders in your life. But don't go around chasing someone hoping he or she can fill your life for you or save you from yourself. Faith, then miracle. Not vice versa. Bogachan Sahin '98