Publication Date: October 12th 2017
Publisher: James Byer
Read Date: March 12th 2018
Genre: Non-Fiction / Self-help
Everything in life has a positive and a negative. The premise of this book is that pleasure negates happiness. It is meant to make you think about the sole desire of pleasure as our problem and not our solution, and to define the differences between pleasure and happiness as two distinct opposite states of mind. When a desire for pleasure is the goal, those decisions can result in stress, anxiety, despair (SAD) and a fear of loss. For all pleasures last but a short time because of hedonic adaptation and are required to be reinforced at a later time over and over as a closed loop system. This requires us to give pleasure to others in order to receive pleasure in return, either by mutually pleasurable benefits of a social barter system or paying someone to give us what we desire. Happiness, on the other hand, is our mind’s higher thinking that first must override our instinctive motivations for pleasure to be realized in our lives at all. The cause of happiness is peace, calm, tranquility, bliss and harmony, but the results are the same as the cause. This is our absence of desire from our higher thinking, wisdom, and enlightenment without any stress, anxiety or despair at all.
As you can figure out from the title and blurb, this book is written in axioms by author’s experience in his life, telling about difference between happiness and desire and emotions and thinking that makes life either easy or complicated. Through simple and meaningful axioms author gave clear understanding on how higher thinking with conscience and consciousness in solitude, away from society’s control and pleasure, by understanding one’s self and to be more specific in control of our own mind, lead us towards happiness and away from S.A.D.- stress, anxiety, despair.
Book started with author explaining purpose of writing the book and what he intend to tell readers through this book. In the beginning of the book the reasoning and explanation on why human is more driven and controlled by pleasure rather than understanding its own mind and going towards happiness, was remarkable.
I like the comparison of mind with coin telling how mind works in two way like two side of coins one controlling emotion and so desire which is the cause of S.A.D., while the other side is a higher thinking that leads to happiness. I also liked author’s point on human’s lack of understanding what true happiness is.
I loved the thought about controlling emotions and so our reaction driven by emotions. I can see the reason behind it and I know how many things I regretted on doing on a whim, just being in control of emotions. A chapter I loved and I might stick it on wall was Alone, its tagline was also wow- ‘Alone: to be all-one’.
Few points were told again and again in as different way as possible throughout the book that basically gave the understanding of what is desire and what is happiness∼
∼Desire; fear of pain; control by emotions; society’s pleasure and its control over our mind and emotion; instinctive reaction; lack of conscience and consciousness; not understanding the cause and running after effects or making effects a goal and not cause; desire by job, money, and people – all these are the cause of S.A.D.
∼Higher thinking; control over mind; emotions and reaction; reducing desire and fear of pain; understanding mind and ourselves; simplicity; alone living in nature away from cities and accepting and enjoying our own company; not running after fun and excitement; finding the true cause and true meaning of happiness; wisdom; enlightenment – all these are cause of happiness that is peace, calm, tranquility, bliss and harmony.
∼Fight for happiness and flee from desire and emotions. Happiness is permanent while desire and pleasure is temporary.
Few sentences telling these points were repeated in book, maybe because author wanted to emphasize on those sentences giving them more importance so that it get its imprint in reader’s mind. There are 3300 axioms, readers can’t possibly remember all of them but on repeating few most important ones, readers can surely remember them, which was good and positive thing behind making it repetitive.
Intension of the book and its effect were thought-provoking. Each axioms made me stop reading and think over it. This is kind of book that you can read it randomly as all axioms are short, just one or two lines and each different from the other. Because of that you can read it quickly and you don’t have to continue if you need a break. Open any page and read and go for another book or read in your free time when you’re looking for something different.
Remember, this book is not meant to read in one go (that I did and I realized it was mistake, if you do you’ll feel monotonous and also it will slow your reading). It’s not for everyone.
I liked the way author concluded the book at the end. It was very interesting to read author’s thoughts through it.
I have noted many axioms in my diary that were mindbogglingly awesome. I’m listing here few that I really loved-
“For every loss we have our gains. We must lose our innocence to have our wisdom, we must lose our desire to have our happiness; we must lose our life to have had life.”
“What is good and what is good for us is the difference between desire and thinking.”
“Nobody wants to see us be happy because that doesn’t give them any pleasure. Pleasure is with others and happiness is by ourselves.”
“We should not allow society to govern our thinking because that’s not free thinking.”
“We seek the respect of others, but lack the self-respect of ourselves.”
“How can we ever expect to want to be alone with ourselves if we don’t know, like, or respect ourselves?”
Few axioms were repetitive either the same sentence or written in slight different way. This was both positive (as I said above) and negative. It can be tiresome even if you’re reading book chapter wise. Some sentences were little complex and weird that made me read them again and again but that’s just me I guess or maybe because I was reading it in one go.
Overall, it was meaningful, insightful, thought-provoking axioms that will make you realize what a true happiness is.
*** Note: I received review copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to author for giving me a chance to read this book. ***
What do you think about the book and my review? Have you read this book already? Share your thoughts in comment-box below.