Friday, March 9, 2012

The Truth and Happiness

This is just a small thought I had.

I have sometimes encountered in conversations I've had the attitude that, basically, the Truth (about religion, philosophy, the meaning of life, etc) might be somehow in conflict with happiness.

Of course, there are those who prefer delusion to despair. But, on the whole, I think asking yourself "is this making me happy?" can be a pretty good evaluation of the truth of a matter. What good is it to believe something or to make some choice or to worry over some issue if it isn't making you happy? Some people might appeal to some value like "the Truth," but I say, "The Truth is what works, the Truth is whatever gets you through the day."

Again, people who see some potential conflict in values between the Truth and happiness might find this to be advocating delusion or false consciousness. But this notion only makes sense in a universe where there is ultimately no unified coherent form of The Good, where the ends of desire are finally manifold, fragmented, disparate, and disintegrated.

But we believe, of course, in a Good which is transcendent, and in the existence of a single Last End for all human kind and all of Being. And in this case, there can never be any real conflict between the Truth and true happiness (properly understood; we can't just mean a subjective emotional buzz in the present). In an ordered universe, there is nothing delusional or cynically pragmatic about saying "The Truth is what works" because what works is, in fact, the Truth!

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