The "Pursuit of Happiness"
We have often contemplated - as many people probably have - Thomas Jefferson's meaning in The Declaration of Independence when he wrote to the effect that humans were entitled to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
It goes pretty much without saying that if Jefferson wrote it, it must be true. It also goes without saying this is one of the most sacred documents ever written, not just for America, but for the world.
So, it must be true, even if we don't understand it. And it must be worshipped, even if we don't understand what we worship. The issue is important enough that Americans must continually go to court to fight over their interpretation of this masterful document, and to spend lots of money on lawyers who don't understand it either, but who do understand enough to know they are being paid to confuse judges who also don't understand this document.
For the longest time, we have contemplated this document, and in particular, this one little clause.
Everything else in the Declaration, if you've read it, is pretty self-explanatory as long as you're halfway literate. Even if you don't know your history that well, we all understand rules, and we also understand when certain people say they are going to break some rules to create new rules.
That's pretty much what the Declaration does, and for the most part, us Americans are pretty hip to that.
"Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"...
There are three principles here, and the first two are pretty self-explanatory. That third concept, the "pursuit of happiness" is pretty vague. Life, and liberty, as concepts, those are pretty straight-forward terms, in the sense that they are "finite" and can be defined in the dictionary as such.
Life and liberty are pretty finite terms, and it's real easy to define their polar opposites. In other words, those choices are as clear as black and white.
But what about "pursuit of happiness?"
Man, that's a bitch.
What should we focus on, in our efforts to tear apart a vague clause? Should we focus on "pursuit" which means to chase, or to follow, or should we focus on "happiness" - which gives us more choices of perception than the human mind can follow?
Perhaps that is what Jefferson had in mind, in the end, to dictate the parameters of possibility, and of Choice.
Why was Jefferson so vague, we want to know? He was "so tight" on everything he ever wrote. We could understand, centuries later, what he meant by this and that reference. It was so easy to understand why Jefferson wrote what he wrote, and to appreciate his ability to master language to command Humanity to behave itself.
Why, then, was Jefferson so vague as to write "the pursuit of happiness?"
This is the 20th century. Why didn't Jefferson write that we were free to be rich, powerful, and all-knowing? Isn't this what we all seem to want, today, with our media power, technological power, and psychological power?
Perhaps it is because Jefferson truly knew the dichotomy of human relationships. He probably knew quite a few people who were, indeed, rich, powerful, and all-knowing -- yet, not happy. Jefferson, perhaps, knew enough to know that one cannot have power over one's own life, and that is was ridiculous to try to marshal such power over individual actions.
We dare to say, given what we do know about Thomas Jefferson, if he thought it was in his power, he would have blessed every one of his friends with a marvelous power of the godhead, and would have made everyone he knew an "instant creator" of perfection. Certainly, he would have done this for himself, and his friends. If he had this power, his beautiful young wife would not have died young in childbirth, and he would have reigned upon the Capitol as a King with his beautiful bride Martha as Queen.
But, this phrase, "the pursuit of happiness" appeared at least two decades before Jefferson found himself in the position of spokesperson for this ridiculous, upstart nation called the United States.
We don't know how Jefferson defended this expression. We doubt he ever had to, politics being what they are. Jefferson was nothing if not political, albeit grudgingly. It's probably fair to say Jefferson was one of the laziest politicians to ever walk the Earth. Jefferson simply couldn't stand politics, but he was so darned good at it.
Jefferson was one of the few politicians in history to make a name for himself through his own disdain. He is the one who referred to life in the White House as "a splendid misery." He spent whatever free time he had in "the Red Room" which is where all the books were at the time, and read like crazy, with servants bringing in buffet snacks and finger foods for the President's delectation. He sometimes thought of himself as the best-paid, free-servant in the Nation.
Jefferson eventually retired to private life, and reconciled - in writing - to his old nemesis, best friend/worst enemy John Adams, who had shared the burden of being patriots during the Revolutionary War and executive leaders in the nation's Capitol after the war was over. Jefferson was a rather vicious, insidious under-cutter of any of John Adams' efforts as president while Jefferson was vice-president, yet Jefferson never seemed to lose any of the important platforms of thought or heritage that he shared with Adams from the outset of the Revolutionary War.
It was these two men, more than any other, who were more interested than any others in the exact wording of the Declaration of Independence. John Adams, an exacting, precise perfectionist, lauded Jefferson's works like no tomorrow.
It was John Adams, perhaps, who may have most lauded the phrase, "the pursuit of happiness." As a misunderstood Puritan, with the taint of New England elitism that was going through the Colonies at the time, Adams would have been best equipped to recognize that the disintegration going through the Colonies at that time may have been largely due to misperception, and ancient prejudices and grievances. Unfortunately, Adams' pride kept him from rebuffing this resentment.
Perhaps John Adams felt that Thomas Jefferson had "hit the nail on the head." The expression, "pursuit of happiness"... would actually apply to any soul of any religion, of any profession, and of any lifestyle. Perhaps Thomas Jefferson actually had someone like John Adams in mind, as someone he knew, of a totally different spiritual, political faith than his own, but whom he considered to be a worthy human being.
Which brings us to the 20th century, and even in America, souls are so very hard at work fighting souls of their own kind that they don't understand, simply because they are different.
Thomas Jefferson was somewhat of an esotericist, as was Ben Franklin, George Washington, and others. This is well-documented. These men were Christian, in the same sense we currently recognize, but were not exclusive to Christian doctrine and training. Given their positions in society, it would have been ridiculous for them to keep closed minds at all costs simply to preserve a heritage - or an image.
The great men of the Second Continental Congress which produced the Declaration of Independence have, as souls, have had to undergo a certain amount of transmogrification into deities, and this has not been a comfortable process. Even worse than being a deity against one's will is finding out one is a polar opposite or willing adversary to a new kind of demon -- something called "The Illuminati."
Hey, we're all gung-ho for the Illuminati; we just love knowing there's a smoke-filled back-room, and that everybody's accountable. We are all for placing blame on a handful of individuals who have power over Time and Space to make a handful of human beings responsible for all the Evils of the World. We just wish we could find the little bastards.
We already know that all it takes is a handful of responsible, powerful mages to screw up Magic on the entire planet, and that these are the souls we have been hunting for centuries.
Apparently, we're not the only ones who have been hunting for the Dark Souls. We typed in "1776+masons" on an Internet search the other night, and were astonished to find how many people we have revered through history are, according to some people, devil worshippers, Huns, and probably even non-registered voters.
Talk about some unhappy people.
Thank goodness for the Freedom of Information we now have, so we can go look up icons and find out how false they all are. I was sitting around looking up what I thought were great men in history, and I found out some of them liked to wear aprons in rituals. I couldn't find anything to prove they were actually in rituals, but since they liked to wear aprons, they must have been in rituals.
Gee, I just wish I understood the ritual, so I would know what countersign to use. It's hard to be mad at people when I can't remember what to be mad at them for. It must be because they're different, and something I don't understand...
"The pursuit of happiness"...
I don't understand the phrase. It must have had some deep esoteric significance. Perhaps it was a code-phrase with all those esotericists, those weirdo magicians who are always doing things the rest of us don't understand. I guess they think they're doing what is best for the rest of us, but I wish they wouldn't wear those aprons I can't understand.
Hey, wouldn't it be funny if there really was no "deeper meaning" to that phrase, "the pursuit of happiness?" Wouldn't it be even funnier if those guys actually said what they meant, and meant what they said?
And wouldn't it be funny if they were right?