Tag Archives: Adventure

Take a Poll

I have posted over 200 blogs to date about how best to find your happiness.  These blogs, together with the videos found on this site as well as my book, have spanned the worlds of philosophy, positive psychology, mythology, and the fine arts.  I have even touched on how the religions of the world have an influence on happiness in this life, versus their primary focus on achieving happiness in the next life.

I now feel at a loss in presenting any new material – I feel that I have said all that needs to be said about what the great thinkers and artists believe is the road to happiness in this life.  I think that the material in my book, in my videos, and in my blogs offer enough guidance to help you find your road to happiness.

However, I would like to now go in a different direction by looking at how others are viewing their own roads to happiness.  What I would like to do is begin with a poll.  The results of this poll will let you see how others are viewing their roads to happiness, which might differ from your own.

Let’s begin with a very famous painting that I discuss in my book – The Calling of St. Matthew, by Caravaggio.  This painting presents Christ pointing to Matthew seated at the table, requesting that Matthew accept his call.  Art historians of the past several centuries have debated among themselves as to which man at the table Christ is pointing to.  Based on the works of the great thinkers as well as the works of the great masters of the fine arts (including Caravaggio), I believe that Christ is pointing to one man in particular.

Putting aside for the moment the religious aspects of this painting, which are important in their own right, let’s focus instead on the decision to accept the call to a future adventure presented by Christ.  At the table is Matthew, surrounded by his friends, who is being sent the call.  The acceptance of this call by Matthew is the focus of this great painting.  Caravaggio depicts Matthew as the one man at the table who possesses all the requirements needed to succeed in the Adventure being proposed by Christ.

The man at the table that you select is a reflection of whether you are on the proper road to happiness or not.  The following poll will reveal whether others agree with you.

Calling of St. Matthew by Caravaggio

The Calling of St. Matthew by Caravaggio (1599-1600)

Here is the poll.



The Journey – Artists and Philosophers (Part 2)

So Epicurus was right – up to a point.  His philosophy gets us to the “good life,” which is not a bad place to be.  Family, community, and the undertaking of “involvement” and “exposure” activities to achieve flow experiences, will alleviate the pain and anxiety of the everyday world.  The four painters mentioned earlier, Epicurus, and Maslow, are in agreement regarding how best to satisfy the first four Maslow needs.  However, there is still a fifth Maslow need, and a further segment of the road to happiness – the Adventure.

Epicurus does not recognize this fifth Maslow need – self-actualization, nor does he recognize the Adventure.

However, another philosophical school does recognize the adventure – The Stoics.

We now turn to this school to understand the Adventure with a series of three painters.

World Religions – A Summary (Part V)

In my last post I discussed the Adventure segment of the road to happiness.  The Adventure being divided into: The Call, The Adventure, and The Return.

Th call is a summons to the adventure requiring the cardinal virtues of wisdom and courage earned during the Journey.

The Adventure is the trials and temptations to secure the boon – a gift for society.  This requires the preparation, self-esteem, and confidence earned during the Journey and the cardinal virtue of moderation, earned during the Journey or along the Adventure.

The Return requires the cardinal virtue of justice, earned during the Journey or along the Adventure and the virtue of love of neighbor.  With these virtues the geo may return with the boon for society and attain happiness for himself/herself.

While the virtue required of the adventure are similar to those expressed in the religions of the East, the call or summons at the commencement of the Adventure and the required love at the end of the adventure I believe are unique to the West.

It is both the call to the hero and the love towards the hero that may be the two most significant differences between the religions of the East and the West.  It is these two actions that merge the happiness of the individual with the flourishing of society.  Both outcomes are the same.  They are the same thing.  The happiness of the individual = the flourishing of society.  In other words, the individual who has reached happiness becomes immersed with universal principles.  The individual is able to pass between the everyday and the spiritual without anxiety, fear, or harm.  The same happiness as expressed by the Eastern religions.

The love of neighbor towards the returning hero is the same love expressed in the Christian faith.  And what about the call or summons to begin the adventure?  Well, it is the same – only in reverse.

World Religions – A Summary (Part III)

In my previous post I mentioned how the Eastern Religions are similar to the West regarding the Journey segment of the road to happiness.  The Journey is the education/training, involvement with others, and exposure to risks in one’s job and elsewhere that are needed to secure a livelihood, develop self-esteem and confidence, and establish the many virtues that will be needed at a later date.

The Journey, can be viewed as the preparation for attainment of happiness, which is the freedom from fear and anxiety as well as a connection to God or universal values.  The leap from the everyday world of the Journey to the attainment of happiness is what I believe separates the religions.  It appears to me that the belief in Allah is the connection between the Journey and happiness for Islam.  Wisdom, ethical conduct, and concentration (the three segments of the Noble Eightfold Path) is the connection for Buddhism.  For the Hindu faith, dharma, or the virtues, is the connection between the Journey, or the “Good Life,” and happiness, or moksha.

However, in the West the Adventure is the connection between the Journey and the attainment of happiness.  This Adventure has three segments: the Call, the Adventure, and the Return.  These three segments correspond to the final three galleries found in my book.

The Call is a summons to the adventure.  Some people may never receive the call or they may not recognize it: they will remain at the end of the Journey to live an everyday existence.  Some may recognize the call but ignore it: their life will be one of disintegration. Finally, there are those who accept the call and begin the adventure.

The Adventure is outside of the normal everyday world.  It is full of trials with setbacks or even defeat.  The goal of the adventure is to capture the boon and return to the everyday world.  Some may fail and never return.  Some may capture the boon but not wish to return finding the world of the adventure more comforting than the everyday world.  A few will capture the boon, decide to return, and will be aided by others in the return.  It is at this moment that the individual realizes happiness and, equally important, society flourishes from the many benefits of the boon.

The adventurer need not be a mythical hero; most likely, the hero is a normal everyday person, who may go unnoticed by others.  The boon may be something as simple as being a good mother or father, teacher, community leader, artist, etc.  The list is endless.  However, the everyday hero is one who accepted the call, used all the preparation and virtues earned during his/her Journey to fight for the boon, and with the aid of others, was able to return to the family or community with the boon intact.

Finally, one final virtue must be mentioned: love of neighbor.  It is this love for the adventurer that pulls him/her from within the adventure back to the everyday world.  It is this love that presents the returning adventurer with his/her happiness and the flourishing of the family or community.

More thoughts in my next post.


Virtue: A Must Have for Happiness – Part 3

Continuing from my last post: those individuals that have the virtues of wisdom and courage to recognize and accept the adventure, the moderation to avoid temptations and proper training and preparation to withstand the forces to secure the boon during the adventure, must still possess the fourth virtue of justice.

As Campbell teaches, the individual existing within the adventure is usually reluctant to leave the adventure: the main reason is the risk that his/her quest or the boon captured may not be understood by society, and all the effort of the adventure was in vain.

To overcome this reluctance to cross back to the everyday world with the boon intact, the virtue of justice is needed.  This virtue is not so much a concern for the rights of others but a genuine concern for the welfare of the community.  It is this concern that drives the individual, with the boon intact, to the threshold of the return to the everyday world.

We all know of people that have left the everyday world for the adventure to never return back to the everyday world.  They have not been defeated or tempted with power or wealth so that they are driven back to the everyday world.  If that were the case, they would be recognized.  They are those who never found the fourth virtue of justice – a concern for the welfare of others – remaining afraid of the return back to the everyday world.  They simply lived the life of the adventure, again never finding happiness.

Virtue: A Must Have for Happiness – Part 2

So, the first two virtues of wisdom and courage are needed to recognize and accept the call to adventure.  Once the call is accepted, then the individual is transported into the adventure.

The one goal of the adventure is to capture the boon or gift for society that was the reason for the quest in the first place.  As Campbell teaches, the virtue of moderation or temperance is needed to combat the many temptations that will be encountered in the quest for the boon.

I don’t think that the virtue of moderation is needed before accepting the call to adventure, but it doesn’t hurt.  Also, without moderation, the individual will most likely not endure the adventure and will return back to the everyday world with the knowledge that the adventure is lost, as is any chance for happiness.  How many times have we heard of those who inherit large sums of money, or a family business, or even win the lottery, only to squander the newly-aquired wealth.  Soon, the individual is left with nothing and no chance of ever returning to wonders of the adventure.

Also, Campbell teaches that adventurer may not have had enough exposure to risks, and is not strong enough to withstand the forces that must be battled to capture the boon.  This failure is not due to a lack of moderation but a lack of proper training and preparation.  In this case, the individual also returns to the everyday world but with the understanding that in the future a new adventure may come along.  The individual still has the wisdom and courage to recognize and accept the new call, and hopefully the moderation to avoid temptations, but may need to engage in additional exposure activities to gain the proper training for future battles.

Of course, there are those who do have the proper training and preparation but lack the virtues.  In this case, these individuals will never recognize or have the courage to enter into the adventure; they will be denied happiness in the future.