• Here are a few notes in response to Robert's article. He maps out the territory by distinguishing transitory pleasure at one extreme and eternal bliss at the other and then talks about the kind of incremental happiness that most of us are concerned with much of the time. He then says that "we are happier when we are more integrated" because then we do not have internal conflict. This idea stimulated me to think that this is also perhaps why we do not always seek happiness. Sometimes inner conflict and the things that evoke it may be more alluring than the kind of contentment that one experiences when never challenged. Happiness could become a form of stagnation.

    He then goes on to talk about the illusory promise of desire-fulfilment and the delusory nature of the quest for happiness in total so that "the pursuit of happiness is doomed".

    In place of the pursuit of happiness he advocates integration: "The more integrated you become, the more likely you are to start moving beyond the narrow limitations of your previous obsessions." I think that this statement is actually tautologous, isn't it? More interestingly, he suggests that "the pursuit of integration can also make ethics a genuine part of our experience" so that "Happiness is just not an end in itself, but rather a potential side-effect of integration and accompanying moral development" and, he adds, "it is in adversity that integration is more likely to advance."

    The article is well worth reading and thinking about. I would put the matter a bit differently. The drive toward integration seems to me to one half of a yin-yang pair that together drive personal growth. We can be too integrated, just as we can be too disintegrated and i think that the danger of "absolutising" integration is probably as deceptive as that of absolutising happiness.

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