The Science of Happiness (1910) PDF book by Henry Smith William

The Science of Happiness (1910) 

The Science of Happiness

The problem of happiness is the problem of problems. The problem of problems did I say? Nay, I understate the case the only problem is the problem of happiness. For savage and for civilised man alike; for hod-carrier and for psychologist; for the little child prattling at its mother's knee and for the old man tottering to the grave; for blooming maiden and for ancient beldame; for beast and bird and reptile even; for each and every living thing in all the broad expanse of land and sea and sky, the ever-present, ever insistent, the inexorable problem of happiness is the dominant motive of every act. Back of every conscious movement lies the loadstone of a desire. 

Back of every instinctive motion of the lowliest organism, every reflex twitch of a muscle of beast or of man, is a chain of organic impulses lead- ing no less surely, though it is by the tortuous route of heredity, to a primaeval desire. And in the last analysis all desires, whatever their seeming diversity of character, may be reduced to one: Stated broadly, there is no desire but the desire for happiness. Sometimes the association of motive with the result is direct and evident; sometimes it is remote and obscure, but always it is present and always operative. 

The wolf pursuing its quarry; the child grasping eagerly after a toy; the youth pressing his ardent suit as a lover;  the man pursuing the ideal of his ambition these are obviously seekers of pleasure. But no less truly, if less directly and therefore less obviously, seekers of pleasure are the mother sacrificing herself for her child, the patriot risking his life for his country, the devotee voluntarily suffering martyrdom.

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