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The search for meaning in life seems at times like an endless pursuit. Some people find it through leisure, some through work, others through material possessions or a combination of all three and some more. What really makes us happy and content? And why do we feel the way we do? We may never have the precise answers to that, but there is usually always a reason behind it.
Can People Ever Be Content?
“People are made to be loved and things are made to be used. The confusion in this world is that people are used and things are loved.”
I think this choice of being content or partially content actually starts from the time we are born. You may ask why & how? Well I see it this way. From the time we are born our loving parents pamper us with a lot of love, which leads us to want more of it, followed by the best possible infant care, be it the best baby food, clothes, soaps, oils and so on.
As time passes with age comes the feeling of complexity, and when this happens, then we start feeling uneasy in the environment we were once living with ease.
Has it happened that you have set a goal, achieved it, and then moved on to set a higher one, or even had a good job but wanted a promotion to a higher post with a better and higher paycheck and more facilities. Do you have a car but still have your eyes pinned on the next latest model with enhanced features. These are some of the practical life scenarios we will experience in our human lifetime. Have we for a moment stopped and contemplated as to where we are going in life? Is our life going ahead, stagnant or are we living a meaningful life?
From the Stone Age till the present time, man has never been content with the things he has had. He was always in search for more and better things to make his life easy and fulfilling. It’s in our human nature to always search for more, which is also a good habit as it has brought us this far, but at what cost? And even though it has made our lives better and easier, where do we stand? I am sure if we check the past records some of the sickness and diseases we hear nowadays were not even present in the early 60 or 70 years back. So the question arises, have we progressed or have we pushed the human race to a faster pitfall than it was actually anticipated?
Green forests are being cleared for human settlement, wildlife is being displaced, ozone layer is depleting, polar ice caps are melting, the ever increasing garbage and not to mention the toxic and chemical waste which are disposed off into the ground and into the rivers, which is the only source of fresh water. What does this indicate of our progress? On the one hand, we have climbed up, but we are looking down at the most hurtful fall.
So, are we humans, in the first place, even capable of achieving satisfaction in our lives, or is it in our nature to always desire for more and more? Is it a thought that is practical? I don’t mean to be so pessimistic and show the dark side of humanity or in an utterly doomed situation but this is the time we are living in.
The desire of comparison is very far-fetched than we usually assume. Comparing ourselves to others in the field of wealth, social status, and intellectual aspects keeps us either happy or depressed about our lives. We rarely tend to focus on our own unique individual talents and abilities. When we compare ourselves with others, our focus shifts away from the positive aspects of our own life, and we tend to become disheartened, thinking about what others have that we have not acquired yet or never will.
We are always curious to find out more about objects or experiences that are new and unfamiliar to us. Human ambition knows no bounds, as long as there is determination and life we tend to move on. We have, in many ways, conquered nature and made our lives more comfortable and possibly more pleasurable. But being ambitious makes us strive harder to improve ourselves and acquire better things. Because of having future ambitions, we are never content with our present achievements and fulfilled ambitions.
Anything that is new and unexplored is very interesting at first, be it a travel destination, new friends, new flavors of food, drinks or even gadgets. But eventually these things get monotonous and outdated with time and experience and soon boredom creeps in, and there we are all set in search for something new.
It is very rarely seen that a person is actually satisfied with his/her life and the way it has unfolded. The only one true satisfaction of how I see it would be in the arms of our loving parents of whom we can never be tired of and doing positive deeds to better help society and humanity. To be content or not, is entirely one’s own choice, whether we see the glass as half full or as half empty, what’s more important is to live every second of our lives in doing the meaningful things that actually matter, touching the many lives we may encounter with our good deeds, keeping the human touch alive in the human race.
The Ten Commandments in the BIBLE are all simple instructions to follow, but practically, we have broken every one of them directly or indirectly. Human beings are so very complex, with a mixed array of emotions, it becomes really difficult to differentiate from our needs and wants.
I think humans can never really be content. But we can be satisfied with ourselves if we can determine how much is enough to keep us happy.
Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Nungchim Christopher, Seyiesilie Vupru, Vikono Krose and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.