To be happy is the fundamental desire of every human being — it is the defining norm for yearning too. When we do not, for instance, value happiness with our existence, it is not possible to experience delight from within and also without. As philosopher Immanuel Kant implied, a consciousness that does not express bliss is a problem imposed upon us by our own finite nature — because, we have our wants and such wants regard the matter of our desires as something that is relative to our subjective feelings of pleasure, or pain. This is yet again the determining factor that corresponds to what we desire in order to be gratified by our condition. In philosophical terms, the preceding allegory is the material principle of purpose — this, as Kant again underlined, could only be empirically known by its subject. Yet, it is not difficult to deem it as something far from being a legal entity — because, for any law to being objective, it must encompass identical codes of resolve of the will in every case, more so for all rational beings. You may contextualise the whole thing as being a part, or perception, of happiness. This again relates to the groundwork of practical relation to objects and desires — although it is pure generalisation for subjective principles that do not determine anything specific. Most philosophers affirm that every individual’s own special feeling of pleasure, joy, pain, angst, anxiety, or trepidation, decides the level of their happiness. This is, of course, subject to variation — because what happiness is for one individual may not necessarily be the same thing for the other. This is analogous to everyone’s wants, or needs, too — it corresponds to feelings, thoughts, changes, or situations that are not contingent on rational, or practical, principles. Needless to say, they ought to be different for different subjects — no matter whether they share the same mindful frequency, or likes and dislikes. One cannot, therefore, encode such contrasts and complexities into a law, or guiding principle. This would apply, no less, to other beliefs — right from love and self-esteem to self-centredness. They mirror the seamless synthesis of life, or the universal precepts of skill, towards achieving one’s purpose, even if one argues that they are just theoretical principles, not practical essentialities. And, why not? For a budding batsman, there is no need to know how a cricket bat is made. Their primary focus is to play the game in the best manner possible. Understanding the process of what goes into the making of the willow obviously emerges much later. This holds good for any of us that uses the computer, laptop, or other electronic gadgets: there is no need to know the engineering aspect of things. This is simply because grasping the determining principle of their effective use is good enough, aside from the feeling of pleasure and accomplishment. The principle of happiness holds a parallel to such exemplars — it has more to do with furnishing axioms, not clinical research. It has got nothing to do with being competent with the physiology, or universal edict, of happiness, if there’s one. This is primarily because our life is a pervasive, undulating “veer” of happiness and difficulty. As philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer exemplified, “Life swings like a pendulum backward and forward between pain and boredom.” What does this connote? That when you manage your life as well as you can by avoiding meaningless anguish for you and others, not being envious by comparing with others, and not going against your nature, you’d be self-sufficient. Happiness belongs to individuals who are sufficient unto themselves. (The writer is a wellness physician, independent researcher and author)

Rajgopal Nidamboor