Pubali Bardhan

The Dalai Lama says that it is every person's right to seek happiness. But what if seeking this happiness involves harming others in the process? How can this be justified? And how do we distinguish that sort of happiness from the real deal?

To answer questions about The Art of Happiness, please sign up.
Mary Gargent I don't think anyone can be truly happy if it is at the cost of someone else's unhappiness.
John Marsh The true Happiness described here comes from within and is intrinsic to oneself. It is not external or gained at the expense of others and is not win-lose. It does not come out of a bottle, from physical goods or at anyones's expense. It is subltle, light, simple, unique and its footprint is nil. Good question.
Ljiljana Šupraha Every time we need to hurt someone on the way of our "happiness", it just means that we are not happy. This is the worst expression of our personal unhappiness. Each time I consciously or unconsciously hurt someone, I know that something is wrong in me and with me....
K Lane You need to really analyse what "happiness" actually is - there can be no joy in anything that has it's roots in harmfulness - and "happiness" has little to do with material things......but much to do with gentle kindness that is shared with others.
Vineet Kapoor
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Celz Lin Believe me you wouldn’t be happy if you do that. Hate is what makes you unhappy. Your mind and the negative memories are what makes you unhappy. If you are a Christian pray and let God do the rest. If you are Buddhist or Hindu there’s the belief in Karma. The thing is people that harm or hurt others are unhappy and will stay unhappy for the rest of their lives if they don’t change. The bad things they do will constantly haunt them.
Forked Radish Don't worry about those who derive happiness from harming others as they're in the minority... Probably only 49% or so of the general population. My recipe for happiness is to seek suffering. Since nearly everyone who seeks happiness only finds suffering. So, ironically, by seeking suffering you'll probably quadruple your chances of finding happiness... Maybe, to something like 0.04% or 4 in 10,000. Not so shabby!
Aurélien Thomas It's not justified.

Harming others means that, either you have no knowledge of the harmful consequences of your action (which goes against one of our most biologically rooted trait: empathy) or you are just being cruel out of carelessness or selfishness. Either way, you are not being compassionate; and compassion is the key to happiness. How do you feel when harming others? Guilt. Remorse. Regret. Everything but peace of mind that is, happiness. In fact, even if you feel nothing, your selfishness will be enough for others to mistrust you - and what a sad and lonely fate will await you then!

The real deal is to have peace of mind; free of negative emotions like anger, frustration, resent, hatred... Only gentleness can achieve that; certainly not the pursuit of goals (themselves rooted in unsatisfied desires) that may blind you to such an extent that you are loosing your empathy.

Saokondanna Khamhseng if you are seeking happiness by harming others, it doesn't mean mean that you really love happiness, coz if you truly love happiness, whatever actions you take for your happiness you always consider to yourself.
Image for The Art of Happiness
Rate this book
Clear rating

About Goodreads Q&A

Ask and answer questions about books!

You can pose questions to the Goodreads community with Reader Q&A, or ask your favorite author a question with Ask the Author.

See Featured Authors Answering Questions

Learn more