My latest research expedition has been taking me around information focused on the self and happiness. I started with two excellent sources on this topic who are French: Michael Dambrun, psychology professor at University Clermont Auvergne, and Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk.
Our world teeming with diversity alive in all nations, states, cities, towns, hamlets, in the obscurity of some mountainous regions, in green forests and jungles, by beaches with crystalline waters under a magnificent sun – this is our world of vastly different ways of living large, of unique manners for inhabiting spaces and places.
Some of us are extraordinarily fortunate; living comfortably within our more-than-adequate abodes; with food aplenty; engaged contentedly in work and leisure; our families, friends, acquaintances, and learning and teaching opportunities bringing joy to our hearts and minds.
What’s Your Place? Such a simple question. . . If you look deep enough into it, discoveries about yourself erupt, surprisingly. What’s Your Place is much more than a question about one’s physical, geographic location. It can also transport you to mushing around in deep philosophical questions concerning your authentic self, along with questions about the what, why, how and when of your lifelong pursuits.
Everyone has the right to pursue whatever theology they desire, and we must be tolerant of the large and widespread diversity of beliefs that exist worldwide. However, and this is an important however, you do not have the right to impose your beliefs on others, and you certainly cannot assert that your beliefs have more validity or truth to them than anyone else’s beliefs. And then, of course, there’s one additionally important caveat to what I am about to get into here: Your beliefs and their relevant actions cannot harm anyone in any way.
On “Meaning in Life and Why It Matters” and a Call for Comments.
There are certain books so tedious and difficult to fully comprehend that I surprise even myself when I actually read them in their entirety. One such book I recently completed fits that billing: “Meaning in Life and Why It Matters,” by Susan R. Wolf, a well-established philosophy professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who formerly taught at Harvard University, the University of Maryland, and Johns Hopkins University.
Recently I came across a profound statement from a veteran psychotherapist and talented author, Irvin D. Yalom. In the preface of “Love’s Executioner,” published in 2000, he wrote how “four givens are particularly relevant to psychotherapy: the inevitability of death for each of us and for those we love; the freedom to make our lives as we will; our ultimate aloneness; and, finally, the absence of any obvious meaning or sense to life. However grim these givens may seem, they contain the seeds of wisdom and redemption.”