I’m left uncomfortable with the fork: happiness as a mammalian, biological drive, or meaning as a human, mythological aim. Neither elicit from me a “yes, that’s what I want in life!”
“Happiness seems to be more about now — presents needs, present satisfaction.”
Where do you think presence, not present-something, but presence itself, falls on the venn diagram between meaning & happiness? My current personal mythology uses wisdom (no-self) and compassion (interdependence) as aspirational guideposts, and I imagine the path towards them exists only in the present, but not this happiness-biological-present.
I love Galen Strawson’s writing on this jam between narrative/mythological identity & presence. For example:
“I’m bewildered. I’m completely uninterested in the answer to the question…‘What have I made of my life?’ I’m living it…what I care about, insofar as I care about myself and my life, is how I am now. The way I am now is profoundly shaped by my past, but it is the present shaping consequences of the past that matter, not the past as such.”
Like you say, as humans, we probably can’t do without myth — it might be too hardwired into our brains at this point. But that’s what makes meditation such a fascinating experience for me — pockets of time to cut through whatever mythology is guiding my consciousness, and feel a visceral sense of ‘happiness’ in an upside-down kind of way, totally unlike the hardwired biological happiness.
Taking that sensation off the meditation cushion, and maintaining it throughout as much of the day as possible, seems to afford life that wonder-full, kind quality I’d like to build my mythology around (if meditation deconstructs mythology, it certainly doesn’t remain that way, I think we’ve no choice but to rebuild something in its place).
Thanks for the provocative read