Friday, April 07, 2006

Doing the right thing versus doing what makes you happy

So this friend of mine since college, this brilliant programmer who writes books for the dot.NET platform, etc, he's feeling guilty. He found a dream job, and took it, and now he is moving his family across country and he's having trouble reconsiling the joy he feels at finally getting to do what he wants to do, and the guilt of pursuing doing what makes him happy. Poor man.

I responded to him as follows:
Sybarite: Do what makes you happy, and it will be good.
Dotnet: I've lived a life where satisfying myself had negative connotations, made me feel dirty and guilty, and was something to be avoided. Its hard doing something so big that I want SO much.
Sybarite: I hear you on that.
Dotnet: But I'm enjoying the new "make me happy' thing.
Sybarite: I'm so happy for you!
Dotnet: I'm happy for me too, but its hard. Every time I buy something for myself, or do something purely for the sake of making me happy - a childhood of catholic "thou must be poor and love it" guilt comes flowing over me
Suybarite: Guilt is self-flagellation. And my opnion is that that Church has it all wrong. Self-denial in this life in the hopes that you will be rewarded in the next life is bunk. Its a remnant of the feudal era, in which reconsiling the poor to their lot was essential for maintaining control of the masses.
Sybarite: We are given this life, these abilities, these senses, and in my belief, it is an insult to God not live life fully, not to become everything you can, and not to enjoy the world through the body and senses we have been given. Pleasure and Happiness are the ultimate good. They are the fruit and goal of living, and striving for happinees and enjoying life is the only worship you can direct toward 'God' that truly means anything... Because you are appreciating what God made by using what God gave you.
Sybarite: So there!
Dotnet: I couldn't agree with you more.
Sybarite: Breathe. It will work out.
Dotnet: I know it will
Sybarite: Then stop getting in your own way. Just step aside and let it flow...
Dotnet: I just don't like giving control of my happiness to outside factors
Dotnet: You'll have to show me some of your erotic relaxation techniques to show me how ;)
Sybarite: I recommend frequent masturbation. Veeeery relaxing.

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