The Duty to Be Happy | Joy Civics 101

November 30, 2017

Listen to episode 218 of the Inspirational Living podcast: The Duty to Be Happy | Joy Civics 101. Edited and adapted from the book Happiness by Hugh Black, published in 1911.

Podcast Excerpt: If it can be said, with any truth, that we have a right to be happy, this right can also be stated as a duty — a duty to others, as well as ourselves. The mere exercise and cultivation of any faculty is a source of pleasure, and such cultivation is surely also a duty, unless it conflicts with some still higher duty.

There is a common notion among many people that duty is precisely what we do not like. If we are in any doubt, they say that the safe rule is to find out what will be pleasant, and then do the opposite! It is true that duty often asks for sacrifice and demands the hard thing rather than the easy one, but to make pain a test of duty is to turn the world topsy-turvy.

Too much sickly sentiment has passed for wisdom and religion over years, as if life was only a Vale of Tears, and man was made to mourn, and the world was but a scene of woe. In such a universe it would be a duty to be unhappy, even if by a freak of fortune it were possible to avoid the regular lot.

Disease and sorrow do exist, but health is the normal, and joy is the natural, and it is a privilege to live. Problems abound, but the strong and healthy view is that they exist to be bravely faced, and (if possible) solved.

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