Optimism Not Included

The Last 5000 Years

Happiness propaganda is everywhere. Turn on any TV and you are blasted with advertisements offering you bottomless bliss in easy payment installments. Our government promises happiness through legal decrees. Churches offer their version of eternal bliss. Dating services have the formula for “happily ever after.” Even jobs offer happy hours. But what exactly is happiness? For many people it is an elusive experience, slippery at best. Right when you think you have achieved it, it slips out of view.

Happiness may come off as some poorly understood phenomenon, but I assure you it is easier to decipher than you might think. To understand the inner workings of happiness, simply do away with the notion that happiness is synonymous with human achievements, reassign it to the realm of politics . . . and bingo!

Rarely do people associate happiness with politics. But perhaps they should. The two are intimately connected. And typically, where there is politics there is corruption.

Did you know?

  1. U.S. citizens weren’t originally granted the right to pursue happiness. That came later. The Declaration of Independence originally gave Americans the inalienable right to have property. But government officials decided that property should not be an immutable right, and should be taxed as a way to finance a society.
  2. Dictators like Stalin and Hitler used the concept of happiness to advance their evil agendas. Stalin called himself the “Gardener of Happiness,” and Hitler’s youth campaigns promoted “security, comradeship, and happiness.”
  3. The ubiquitous yellow happy face was invented, not to spread happiness over the land, but to get more work out of Middle America. In 1964, a company takeover by State Mutual Life Assurance of Worcester, Massachusetts, brought with it discord and low morale among employees. A “friendship campaign” was instituted to get employees to smile whenever they answered the phone, paid a claim, or typed a report. Graphic designer Harvey Ball was hired to come up with a visual symbol for the campaign. From his creative hand emerged the yellow smiley face. And the rest is marketing history.

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Why Our Relationships Are Failling 50% of the Time

It is a hard pill to swallow when you have put in the effort with someone you thought was Mr. or Ms. Right, only to find out that person isn’t the one.

Having sex early on in the dating ritual may have something to do with why Prince Charmings turn into cold-blooded toads and beautiful princesses transform into evil witches.

In our culture of romance and dating, we place too much emphasis on SEX: when to do it, how often to do it, where to do it, what to wear when we do it . . . But there is more to a relationship than sex. Sadly, however, many young adults are experts at giving blow jobs or getting their partner to reach orgasm in five minutes or less, but lousy at keeping their relationships viable.

How did we get here?

Sex education teaches sexually maturing adolescents to focus on the gritty stuff surrounding relationships: unwanted pregnancies, teenage parenting, STDs, and, of course, reaching orgasm. But relationships are so much more than unwanted fetuses and bacterial infections. Tabloids follow with their explicit dialogue geared at keeping readers “comin’ back for more.” And we cannot forget about the relationship expert we call Hollywood. It sends the message that if our lovers are not doing a good job for us sexually, we have two choices: dump the person at the next anticlimactic sexual encounter or get someone on the side to wow our socks off.

We have become a sex-worshipping culture, so much so that infidelity is listed as the number one cause of divorce. American people would rather break their families apart than deal with a cheating spouse.

Research shows that sex, on a good night, lasts about 10 minutes (my apologies to all the record breakers out there). If a couple has sex every day, that is a total of 60.83 hours a year devoted to reaching orgasm. That leaves 84 percent of the relationship unaccounted for. Who is teaching sexually maturing adults what to do the other 84 percent of the time they are with their sweethearts? Who is teaching young people what relationships are really supposed to do for them?

If you get into relationships just for the fun of it, then immediately stop reading this article and proceed to the nearest sex shop. But if you are of the group that wants something more from your relationship, it is time to reevaluate your attitude toward dating and sex.

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