Life is Beautiful - but whose life?
Dr Abe V Rotor
Can money buy true happiness which is the foundation of a beautiful life?
Janus image the way we live our lives
This is the question. If this were true, then the happiest people on earth are the millionaires, nay billionaires, because they can buy almost everything for themselves. Travel, high rise buildings, palatial homes, flashy cars, state-of-the art fashion, pleasure beyond Epicurean limit, personalized services, name it and you too, can have it, if you belong to this singular world of the wealthy.
The fact is, they are perhaps among the most unhappy people on earth based on the standard of real happiness – peace of mind. He who does not enjoy a continuing peace of mind is always fighting the biggest enemy of one’s life – himself. His revolting conscience. No one can truly claim happiness who is bothered by his own conscience. Night and day, hour after hour, while trying to get sleep, struggling to relax frayed nerves, wrestling between good and evil thoughts, desiring in amassing more wealth, zealously guarding his wealth from other greedy people, keeping up with the Joneses, - and in his Narcissistic view ignores the marginalized, the less fortunate, whom ones wealth could help alleviate their plight with compassion, love and care - or just simply, concern that gives a sense of belonging and importance .
If this is so, then “Life is beautiful” is an equation: excessive living of a few deprives others, the great majority, of decent living.
When a teacher was asked what she feels earning but a measly fraction of millionaire’s daily income, she simply quipped with a radiant smile. “I have wealth enough. I am happy to think that the lessons I teach children will be their investment.” This is the essence of vocation. Living a beautiful life is selflessness, in contrast with “buying happiness with money.”
LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL (La Vita et ella) - the Movie, shows life as a comedy alone has no true meaning, unless it finds meaning to the point of extreme sacrifice - death if necessary, but for a cause.
A gentle Jewish-Italian waiter, Guido Orefice (Roberto Benigni), meets Dora (Nicoletta Braschi), a pretty schoolteacher, and wins her over with his charm and humor. Eventually they marry and have a son, Giosue (Giorgio Cantarini). Their happiness is abruptly halted, however, when Guido and Giosue are separated from Dora and taken to a concentration camp. Determined to shelter his son from the horrors of his surroundings, Guido convinces Giosue that their time in the camp is merely a game.
Simple folks on the other hand find happiness in one-thousand-and-one ways. A housewife dutifully attending to her chores, fisher folks coming back at dawn with good or fair catch, farmers building haystacks from bountiful harvest, craftsmen displaying their art, the young promenading in moonlit, a whole community settling down for the night in peace and quiet, and rousing at daybreak in rustic rhythm of country life. Indeed, all these make a BEAUTIFUL LIFE shared collectively.
Wouldn’t living the beautiful life passive, devoid to challenge and adventure? If this were so, then the world would simply settle down, yawning, complacent, yet abiding.
Dayaw festival, Philippines
Wonder if there weren’t the kind of Archimedes who discovered buoyancy in a bathtub and running down the street “:Eureka! Eureka!” Would there be anything else more exciting than putting a huge universe into an equation E=mc2. Look at the electrified face of the genius Einstein. Darwin could have dropped his controversial theory on evolution in lieu insults that he was a descendant of a monkey. There is a movie, A BEAUTIFUL LIFE about the unsettling life of a “mad” scientist even by his colleagues in the academe. At the end he triumphed with his ideas that shook contemporary economics and for this he was award the Nobel Prize.
Family bonding is number one source of collective happiness
What kind of life do artists have? Imagine Abelardo putting down his pen after composing “Mutya ng Pasig,” and listening it from a diva for the first time. Santiago writing the finale of “Anak Dalita,” Amorsolo resting under a mango tree after putting the final touches of his on-the-spot painting of Planting Rice. Life must be indeed beautiful to these pioneers, and what it makes it really so is because they changed the world.
LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL indeed in many ways. It’s all up for us to live that life.~