The Default Dream of Happiness
A new human is much like a new smart phone. It comes preloaded with an OS that enables it to perform the basic functions (eating, sleeping, shitting) and has some inbuilt default apps for things like emotions and cognition.
When a human is young, all of the people that surround it will support it to install apps and fill up its memory with all of the things that they think it needs to be effective.
When a human is young though, they are much like a smart phone with all of the security features disabled. This means that everyone can access everything and upload what they want.
As we grow older, we learn to configure our security so we can take control of our own device (our mind). We can cleanse our memory and the apps that are installed so we can refine ourselves to serve the purpose that we want.
The challenge with this though is that some of the content is installed at such a basal level that we actually perceive it to be part of the base OS. We don’t realise it can be changed.
An example of this kind of programming is the purist of material positions as a destination of happiness. You could call it the default dream of happiness. It is a dream born from the collective consciousness of society and one that is imparted subconsciously to humans as they grow.
The material happiness app creates the default dream using an algorithm based on relative perception. This means that happiness is always deduced relative to other humans around us.
I have battled with this app myself over my life. Chasing the dream that was imparted on me at such a young age by people that simply did not know any different, and which was then reinforced by media stereo types of success and happiness throughout my teens and twenties.
Now being a step-father, I am experiencing first hand how this programming starts to form…
I have developed a little questioning tactic to help my stepson revaluate the reasoning behind his wants. It goes a little like this:
Dev: I would like some new Pokémon cards…
Me: Oh ok, you have got lots and lots already. So many that you have not even sorted them all out. If you can’t manage the ones you have already got, why do you think you need more?
Dev: Because I want them and I don’t have them right now (or some other non-reason)…
Me: Ok, lets understand this a little better. Let’s just meditate on this a bit (he likes Kungfu Panda) … When you picture yourself in your mind with your new cards, imagine what it is about having the new cards that is making you happy… describe that to me….
Dev: Well, I am playing a battle with my friend Hatim and….
Me: Ah, so… the happiness that you seek is not found from the cards, but from your friends’ reaction to you with the cards. So really, you just need your friend to make you feel happy?
Dev: I suppose so.
Me: I am not saying no to getting new cards Dev but, in my opinion, you need to have a much better reason for wanting them than that. It would be good for you to spend some time thinking this and if you can honestly find a good reason why having those cards will make you happier (when you are all by yourself with no one else there), then you and I will both know that you have a good reason for wanting them.
When you find yourself wanting material things, simply ask the question: why?
Does the mental image of you with those things only include happiness which is derived from other people? Relative happiness.
Are the objects themselves the source of the happiness? Short term pleasure.
Or, do the objects provide you with the ability to experience through action the kind of life that you want? Promoting action.
If you answer this question sincerely, you will know within yourself honestly that there is only one right type of answer.
Enjoy, for now.