The key to happiness lies in difficulty. In John Ciardi's essay, "Is Everybody Happy?" Ciardi proclaims that the long and trying road that runs toward what you want to become, is also the road to happiness. In his essay, Ciardi brings forth his ideas on western and eastern ideas of happiness, his idea of the two most extreme examples, and how happiness can never be more than partial. Ciardi believes that happiness is " neither in having nor in being, but in becoming.".
He with the most toys gets to heaven first. This in a sense is Ciardi's stance on the western idea of happiness. He states that because of the constitution, we as Americans are born with the right to pursue happiness, and as a society we have taken this as the idea that we need to buy our way into it. "We seem to be dedicated to the idea of buying our way to happiness. We shall all have made it to Heaven when we possess enough." Ciardi points out that this is a result of American commercialism. The media uses advertising to show us all that we need to have and look like to be happy. Obviously we must buy these things in order to be this way. .
On the other side of the spectrum we have the holy man - the eastern idea of happiness. He, who wants nothing, therefore needs and lacks nothing. Ciardi is quick to point out however that this man's happiness in no different, it too is just an illusion. The illusion being the fact that we cannot be happy simply by having or being, we must strive to become something. However, even when we have achieved what we set out to become, we will still not quite be totally happy because there will always be one more thing that we want. "Happiness is never more than partial. There are no pure states of mankind." .
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