POLITICS - DB3. Use Your Illusion

If a friend of mine tells me that they feel that they can do pretty much whatever they want to, because the Declaration of Independence says that one inalienable right is the right to "the pursuit of happiness", I would ask them where it is they draw the line in the pursuit of that happiness. When Thomas Jefferson and his generation discussed the pursuit of happiness they seemed to have a long term interest goal in mind. 

They believed the necessity of pursuing happiness was the foundation of liberty. That the highest perfection of intellectual nature lies in a careful and constant pursuit of true and solid happiness and the conscious discernment of what real happiness is.  They were interested in a kind of happiness that was linked to virtue and excellence.

I think of the example of an individual who practices tai chi while sweeping a floor, conscious and aware of every sweeping motion as though they were dancing with a lover, making each moment sacred and filled with delight. I find that in the article by Hamilton the definition of happiness that the fathers of our country were more interested in was a self derived happiness occurring naturally within a person, it was a deeply philosophically informed idea of which can be traced all the way back to Socrates and has been built into the fundamental ideals of the Western world view.

Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence wanted to announce a form of government that would not stand in the way of an individuals attempt at securing this sort of happiness.

 I agree that it is our basic nature to seek happiness and it may be one of the first items I loved of our country when learning about it in grade school. I never thought for a moment in my entire life that the pursuit of happiness meant that I could harm or infringe on the rights of others in  procurement of that happiness. I'd be interested to know if anyone has ever used that in defense of a crime in court. "I was just acting on my right to get happiness by any means necessary judge!"


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