Being happy is easy. Easy until you start believing that happiness is tied to a relationship, a job, your income, a product you buy, fame, a status, or any of a number of things that you don't currently have in your possession. Being happy is easy, as long as you understand everything you need to be happy exist in you already. You just have to stop looking out and start looking in to find it.
Across the centuries the moral systems from medival chivalry to Bruce Springsteen love anthems have worked the same basic way. They take immediate selfish interests and enmesh them within transcendent, spiritual meanings. Love becomes a holy cause, an act of self-sacrifice and selfless commitment.But texting and the utilitarian mind-set are naturally corrosive toward poetry and imagination. A coat of ironic detachment is required for anyone who hopes to withstand the brutal feedback of the marketplace. In today's world, the choice of a Prius can be a more sanctified act than the choice of an erotic partner.This does not mean that young people today are worse or shallower than young people in the past. It does mean they get less help. People once lived within a pattern of being, which educated the emotions, guided the temporary toward the permanent and linked everyday urges to higher things. The accumulated wisdom of the community steered couples as they tried to earn each other's commitment.Today there are fewer norms that guide that way. Today's technology seems to threaten the sort of recurring and stable reciprocity that is the building block of trust.
How they are all about, these gentlemenIn chamberlains' apparel, stocked and laced,Like night around their order's star and gemAnd growing ever darker, stony-faced,And these, their ladies, fragile, wan, but proppedHigh by their bodice, one hand loosely dropped,Small like its collar, on the toy King-Charles:How they surround each one of these who stoppedTo read and contemplate the objects d'art,Of which some pieces still are theirs, not ours.Whit exquisite decorum they allow usA life of whose dimensions we seem sureAnd which they cannot grasp. They were aliveTo bloom, that is be fair; we, to mature,That is to be of darkness and to strive.