Artists and Twofold happiness

The great masters of the fine arts understood very well the concept of twofold happiness. They knew that an individual who has achieved happiness in this world has reached self-actualization with the gift of peak experiences. The same individual has also vanquished all human fears and desires with no further needs.

The same great artists also knew that those who have achieved happiness in this life are able to pass back and forth between the everyday world and the spiritual world. The artists knew that this ability to exist in the two worlds is only achieved by those who have reached happiness in this life – a state reached by capturing and delivery a gift for the betterment of one’s community or society.

And, the actual seizing of the gift for the common good is the action that is encouraged by the graces of Faith, Hope, and Charity. These three graces are the virtues that lead the individual from happiness in this life to happiness in the next life – with the connection being the adventure to deliver the captured boon or gift for the benefit of others.

While it impossible to depict visually what happiness in the next life looks like, the great artists come very close, as close as they can, to capturing true happiness.

Take a look at the following painting by the French painter Degas.

The ballet master is self-actualized exhibiting peak experiences. He has no further needs or desires. He exists in two worlds – the everyday and the spiritual (none of the students is looking at the master – at that moment he exists in a separate spiritual world. More importantly, he is able to deliver to the girl ballerinas his education and compassion for the study of ballet. Even the dancer in the middle of the painting is estactic – the music is not even playing at that moment captured by the painting. And we will never know if the girl completes her “en pointe” successfully (it is hidden by the girl’s tutu in the foreground): but it doesn’t matter.

The point of the painting is not the dancing ballerinas but the depiction of twofold happiness – a depiction that is at the far boundary of artistic greatest. What we are witnessing is the closest that anyone can illustrate of happiness in this life (the everyday world) and happiness in the next life (the spiritual world).

Twofold Happiness

The Road to Twofold Happiness is a nothing more than a modern version of that first proposed by St. Aquinas.  He suggested that the meaning of life is to seek happiness: happiness in this life and happiness in the next life (twofold happiness).

The modern version of Twofold Happiness takes St. Aquinas’ brilliant concept and updates it with contemporary psychological theory and scientific research.  In addition, it incorporates a contemporary view of myths to further understand the road to twofold happiness.

When you add the science and the myth clarification, you get a very logical seven-step road to happiness in this life that is difficult to deny.  Then, you see that the individual happiness in this life achieved from following this road leads to the flourishing of society: the road is not narcissistic, it helps everyone.

Finally, it is very hard to deny the conclusion of the logic: the virtues required for happiness in the next life (Faith, Hope, and Charity) help with following the road to happiness in this life, and following the road to happiness in this life helps with the road to happiness in the next life.

The logic is compelling.  It is difficult to deny that God wants us to pursue our road to happiness: it is this road that leads to the flourishing of our family and community.  And, it is His grace of Faith, Hope, and Charity that makes reaching our individual happiness in this life more likely.  Traveling the road in this life accompanied by His grace makes reaching the road to happiness in the next life a greater possibility.

This is pure Christianity!


Free book

My book will be available for free download beginning Wednesday, May 6, to Sunday, May 10.

During those days, simply click on the book image on the sidebar and you will be taken to Amazon for the free download.

Enjoy the book!

New Book

Today my new ebook became available for purchase.

I have spent the last 2 years modifying a previous book edition so much so that the new book is very different from the older edition.  It is sleeker, crisper, and the focus has shifted to helping you find your road to Twofold Happiness.

This Twofold Happiness road is the commingled path of the road to happiness in this life with the road to happiness in the next life.  This intertwined path is better at explaining happiness in this life and happiness in the next life than either road is able to do on its own.  This Twofold Happiness is a hallmark of Christianity, as well as other faiths.

After you read this book you will soon realize that the flourishing of your family and community is dependent upon your pursuit of Twofold Happiness.  This “Eureka” moment will be all the conviction that you need to seek your Twofold Happiness.

Good luck on your journey!


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New Book Edition is Now Available

The latest edition is here.

It is similar to the previous edition except that some repetition among chapters has been removed and the chapter on “Twofold Happiness” has been expanded.

The new edition has a new price: $2.99 per copy.  A very reasonable price to find your road to happiness.

I hope you enjoy the book!

New Book Edition Coming

The fourth edition of my book will be available in the coming weeks.

It has been edited to remove some duplication found in a few chapters and to extend the discussion of “twofold happiness” found in the Christian Faith.

In addition, the price has been reduced to $2.99 per copy.  A great deal!!

Third Companion Book: The Pilgrim’s Progress (Part 6)

In my last post, I discussed one of the two main reasons that the author, John Bunyan, divided his novel into two parts.  The first reason mentioned was to highlight the benefits to society of individuals pursuing their own happiness.  By Christian leaving his family and friends for his pilgrimage to happiness (in this life and the next), he was able to secure the boon of his quest to be used by others.  It was this seemingly narcissistic pilgrimage that was anything but narcissistic: Christian drew upon his innate cardinal virtues and the graces of God to secure the gift for future use by his family and neighbors.  It was this gift of the correct path to happiness that Christian fought hard to secure for others.

The other main reason for the novel to be divided into two parts was to illustrate that eternal happiness can be found along two paths: the path followed by Christian, and the path followed by his wife and children.

Christian’s eternal happiness was achieved with the help of Faith and Hope.  In fact, both graces are personified in the characters of Faithful and Hopeful.  He loses his burden through Faith, enabling him to begin traveling along the road to happiness.  He is presented with his “roll” or certificate as encouragement for the travel, with the assistance of Hopeful to fight the many battles to secure the boon and reach the threshold of happiness.  It is the love of God at the threshold that welcomes Christian, with his certificate redeemed, to eternal happiness.

Christiana and her children achieve eternal happiness primarily through the grace of Charity.  It is both the charity towards others that she and her children meet along the pilgrimage as well as the charity shown to her and her children by others that are the hallmark of Part 2.  Christiana knew that her husband held the cardinal virtues to find happiness in this life and would surely find the faith and hope to reach happiness in the next life.  She had little doubt about her own pilgrimage since she was following in her husband’s own footsteps and would eventually be with him in Heaven.  Christian had fought the many battles to secure the gift of the correct path to salvation.

The separation of the novel into two parts highlights the roles of the virtues and graces in achieving happiness.  The cardinal virtues gave Christian the strength and guidance to find happiness in this life (presentation of the boon) only to be surpassed by happiness in the next life secured with the graces of Faith and Hope.  However, it is through the grace of Charity that Christiana and her children find happiness in the next life.

The cardinal virtues provide happiness in this life for Christian allowing him to pass along the boon he secured for use by his wife and family.  The graces of Faith and Hope aided Christian in finding happiness in this life as well as the surpassing perfection of the next life.  It was the grace of Charity alone that allowed Christiana and her children to reach eternal happiness with Christian.

There is a reason that this novel has never been out of print for the past 350 years.  Its great gift to all readers is the creativity to express achieving happiness in this life and well as happiness in the next life with memorable artistic elegance.

Third Companion Book: The Pilgrim’s Progress (Part 5)

In my last few posts I have discussed two of the three questions that must be answered to better understand the narrative of the book.  These two questions are: 1) the importance of the burden on Christian’s back and 2) the “roll” or certificate that he receives and safeguards until relinquishing it at the threshold of happiness.

The third critical question to be answered is: Why did Bunyan break the novel into two parts, the first part regarding Christian, and the second part involving his wife and children.  There are two reasons for this bifurcation.  Let’s discuss the first reason in this post.

Upon first reading the novel, most readers are shocked that Christian would leave his wife and children to seek his own happiness.  And Christian does just that.  But Christian is simply following the road to happiness outlined in my book.  As mentioned in my book, both Aristotle and Aquinas, two great philosophers, teach that we all seek after our own happiness.  And fortunately for Christian’s family and neighbors, he does just that.  He seeks after his own happiness.

His search for happiness is his boon or gift to his family and neighbors.  He shows them the way to happiness, both in this life as well as the next.  His family follows in his footsteps and, without great effort, reaches the same happiness as that of Christian.

By leaving for the pilgrimage, and with the help of the cardinal virtues and the graces of Faith and Hope, Christian reaches happiness in this life as well as the next.  This pilgrimage to happiness is his boon, or certificate, which is made available to others who which to use it.  And Christiana and her children do use it and with great success.

By breaking the novel into two parts, Bunyan utilizes great artistic creativity to present the importance of seeking one’s own happiness and, if successful, the flourishing of family and friends.  While Christian’s leaving of his family to find his own happiness may seem narcissistic, it is just the opposite.  It is a noble gesture that aids in moving his family and society closer to happiness.

This is a very revealing message and one that is missed by most readers and critics.

More to come!

Third Companion Book: The Pilgrim’s Progress (Part 4)

The second question that must be answered to better appreciate the narrative of the novel is: what is the “roll” or certificate that is given to Christian for safekeeping and that must be surrendered to gain admission to Heaven?

This “roll” is given to Christian at the time that his burden is lifted.  It is soon lost by Christian only to be found after he is forced to trace his pilgrimage backward to find it.

The roll is viewed as the grace of hope: the desire for the difficult but attainable good of eternal happiness.  Hope could be considered the nourishment for the Adventure, shielding the traveler from discouragement.

The “roll” or certificate is also viewed as the boon or gift that the pilgrim is in search for to attain happiness in this life.  The boon is the gift that must be seized before approaching the threshold of happiness.  This gift is meant to add to the flourishing of Christian’s family and neighbors.  It is captured with the assistance of the virtue of temperance in Gallery Five and through the love expressed in Gallery Six it is surrendered at the moment that Christian realizes happiness.  It is this captured boon that helps his family and neighbors to flourish in their lives in Part Two.

In the novel, Christian must surrender his certificate before entering the kingdom of Heaven.  It is with the grace of hope that Christian is able to reach the gate of happiness.  In fact, two important figures help Christian along his pilgrimage once his burden is lost and the “roll” is provided to him: Faithful and Hopeful.  Faithful joins him early in his pilgrimage to be put to death later.  Hopeful then joins Christian for the remainder of his pilgrimage and joins him in entering Heaven.

More to come!