The Pursuit of Happiness

Here in the US we are celebrating our independence from England. I thought I would through out my thoughts on one of the most quoted passages. I’m no historian but hopefully it can still spark thought.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

This is probably most quoted portion of the declaration of independence. It makes sense that life and liberty are at the center of unalienable rights. It is the last one that people get hung up on. But notice it says “the pursuit of Happiness”. Webster says to pursue is “to follow and try to catch or capture (someone or something) for usually a long distance or time”. Somehow that has morphed into “I have the right to be happy”.

If look at the founder’s words and put them in action, we have to take it upon ourselves to first understand what will make us happy, individually. They didn’t say what that should mean, because it is a personal to each person. We individually have to work to understand the steps necessary to make that discovery and more importantly take those steps to try to catch that idea. That is why life and liberty are important – we can’t go after what we want without it. Unfortunately, when we think we have a right to be happy (especially without understanding what we desire) we allow for life and liberty to be compromised.

This is something I’m working through myself it terms of dreaming and more importantly setting goals so I can take concrete steps to turn that into reality. The government has to remember that and we need to hold them accountable. Because ultimately “it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security”. That is the responsibility given to us so may years ago.

Happy 4th!


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