The Incessant Pursuit of Happiness

by Michael Colantoni

Why are we seeking happiness? Why this incessant pursuit to be happy, to be joyous, to be something? Why is there this search, this immense effort made to find? If we can understand that and go into it fully, perhaps we shall know what happiness is without seeking it. Because, after all, happiness is a byproduct, of secondary importance. It is not an end in itself; it has no meaning if it is an end in itself. What does it mean to be happy? The man who takes a drink is happy. The man who drops a bomb over a great number of people feels elated and says he is happy or that God is with him. Momentary sensations, which disappear, give that sense of being happy. Surely, there is some other quality that is essential for happiness. For happiness is not an end, any more than virtue. Virtue is not an end in itself; it gives freedom, and in that freedom there is discovery. Therefore virtue is essential. Whereas, an unvirtuous person is slavish, is disorderly, is all over the place, lost, confused. But to treat virtue as an end in itself or happiness as an end in itself has very little meaning. So happiness is not an end.
– Krishnamurti, The Collected Works vol V, pp 328-329