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b) As a rule, people are neither great nor bad in extreme. They are relatively friendly and helpful – if you treat them fairly – and they lead decent though imperfect lives. Having said this, they have minds of their own, which may not be in keeping with yours. A man may fall in love with a woman who doesn't care a whit about him, and vice versa. A job seeker may hope for employment at some outfit, where in his opinion he belongs, and have his application turned down by an employer who sees things in a different light. These two examples count among an infinity of possible ones that testify to same truth: Other people's wishes and yours often differ and you must then (out of respect) compromise or abstain from doing as you please.
c) On a positive note, there is some degree of harmony between nature's purpose and that of humans. As harsh as our life is on earth, we can subsist or even thrive. Yet, this harmony does not alter fact that both purposes are distinct, always in danger of being opposite. Just think about amount of resourcefulness and adaptability we must show to indeed thrive. At best harmony is labored and confined within narrow limits. Think also about number of times nature's purpose and that of humans clash, as demonstrated by all manner of nuisances, illnesses, and disasters. In short, relationship we have with nature is like relationship some people have with wild animals they have tamed. These animals are pleasant pets provided their needs are catered for. Still, they can turn against their owners for no apparent reason, except that they are fundamentally wild.
As I pointed out earlier, wisdom starts with a willingness to tackle harsh reality of life head-on. It is reverse of ignorance, and hence is exclusive of illusory bliss that accompanies this ignorance. If happiness is possible through wisdom, it is achieved with full knowledge and acceptance of harsh reality in question. By acceptance I do not mean a passive resignation toward status quo in all its harshness. I mean a brave readiness to turn our situation – possibly bad in a number of respects – to good account. And this includes bettering what we are able to better, while making do with everything else.
Easier said than done, of course. But then happiness is not about what is easy; it is about what is good and right and can only be accomplished through a great deal of meritorious effort. To make or not to make this effort is question, which sums up human freedom. And surely nobody in their right mind would forever take easy option that leads to unworthiness and unhappiness!
Laurent Grenier’s career as a full-time writer and philosopher spans over twenty years. He has released various articles in art and philosophical magazines. He has also written some philosophical essays, a collection of memories and thoughts, and a compendium of physiology and nutrition, still unpublished. “A Reason for Living” constitutes his best work to date.
Official web site: http://laurentgrenier.com/ARFL.html