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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Maybe happiness is just a warm memory

A Facebook page I am on posted this story, listing 40 great quotes from famous folks about happiness:

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/06/40-life-changing-quotes-on-happiness/

...and asked us to pick our favorite, and this is what I wrote:

I reached overload with about the 3rd one. I stayed with it for awhile though, long enough to realize there are as many in that list that I disagree with as I agree with.

I received great perspective on happiness in one of my first jobs out of Earlham, working with what we were then allowed to call mentally retarded adults. I lived in a home - a Community Living Arrangement - with 3 adult men of varing low levels of intelligence, who had been moved out of an institution called Pennhurst that was closed down by a judge. And all 3 of them taught me far more, I'm certain, than vice versa, even though I was paid for it to be the other way around.

This one fellow, Mark, built like a fire hydrant, was about 23 years old, had Downs Syndrome, and an IQ of about 50 maybe? He was, to this day, 35+ years later, the single happiest person I've ever met in my life. The only time, ONLY time, he didn't have a smile on his face was when someone scolded him for doing something he "knew" he wasn't supposed to do. Dude even smiled in his sleep.

So I read many of those quotations from Mark's perspective and thus a number of them failed me.

And I've often wondered what the value of intelligence is in relation to happiness. Sounds like one of those riddles:

Money doesn't buy it, and intelligence doesn't enhance it. What is it?

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