Forms of Happiness


by Olavo de Carvalho

Translated by Fabio L. Leite

There are two forms of happiness: one is selfish, narcissistic; the other is altruistic, proper to the adult.

There is a beautiful phrase that says: ‘To be sincere is to die a little’. Every time that you are sincere, that you speak the truth, another illusion die in you. And you will only bear the deaths of your illusions if you get another source of satisfaction, on another level, which is the satisfaction of the love for your neighbor, of love for God. Only in this way will you regain the universality of the happiness you have access to on the level of individual egoism. This is the root of human life. Man was made for it.

So, I get annoyed with grown-ups who seek adolescent satisfaction, licking their own ego, saying, ‘I want this!’, ‘I need it!’. You do not need anything! What you need is service, engagement, responsibility,to love your neighbor to learn to live. When I see a guy saying he needs some clothes, some food, a little boy, a girlfriend, a car, all this just so he does not get sad, I think it’s disgusting!

You have to seek the attainment of the supreme value that makes human life worth, regardless of whether it uplifts you or if you die. At this point, sacrifice is the only meaning of human life. Sacrifice is a holy, sacred work.

Sacrifice goes in this direction, the direction of letting go of the world of selfish illusion, the world of self-protection that is good only for children, and finding satisfaction in something that transcends your person, which may be the benefit of mankind or even of a family. The man who sacrifices himself for his family is already an evolved human being.

For an individual to live a life of self-satisfaction it is necessary that someone protects him from his childish fantasies. The test is this: remove the subject from within that protected universe, and leave him alone in a certain situation, and you will see that he is less than a baby. Human beings have to be prepared to know that we, individually, can not be anything. We are someone only in relation to the value to which we devote ourselves, for which we would risk our lives. Curiously, the denial of individuality is an essential condition for its valorization. The individual who dies for a universal good embodies this universal. This alone can be the foundation of ethics or morality, the rest is small talk. You are worth what you are. The extent of how much you love is how much you sacrifice yourself. If what you love is an imported car or a dose of cocaine, then you’re these things are all you are worth. ”

(From the booklet “Edmund Husserl against psychologism”)




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