Happiness is fleeting and perhaps even a little overrated. We are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but the constitution makes no guarantees about corralling it. Happiness probably worked its way into the constitution by way of the classics. Aristotle talked about it as the highest of virtues. The founding fathers were big fans of the classics. Only, something was lost in translation. Aristotle actually talked about something called, “eudaimonea” and he was really talking about a state of mind, not a feeling, something we would refer to as “fulfillment” or “meaning.”
Fulfillment is more like it, at least as far as I’m concerned. A day filled with engaging activity may not always be a happy day but will probably be a satisfying one. Part of the reason that creativity is so important to me is that it helps brings meaning to life, a day when you made something can’t be a completely bad day. (Even if you made a mess).
Aristotle felt the ultimate satisfaction in life was work done for the good of all men and, in his philosophical world, the best work for all men was, wait for it… politics! (Insert own joke here). While politics might not have worked out as the most selfless pursuit, there are plenty of us who give selflessly for others. If we are lucky, we get paid to be creative, but some of us have to wait until we get home.
Creation is something you do first and foremost for you. As Aristotle idealized politics, I idealize creativity. If you create because you need to, because you have to; money and jobs may or my not happen. It doesn’t matter, you create because you need to release your creative beast. Creating is how we best return to our source, however you define it. When you create a stone patio, write a book or paint a painting, you have left the world better, you have given birth.
What could be more fulfilling?
Go make something!