The Noblest Art

The noblest art is that of making others happy – P.T. Barnam 

I have been told that I take life very seriously. I believe that this is something my close friends admire in me, and I believe it to be a very important virtue that I want others to emulate.

I believe that there are subtle differences in the types of happiness we find – entertainment, laughter, joy, security, relief from a previous suffering. These are all powerful in different ways. I often find myself asking questions about what comes along with each happiness.

When we are entertained by the blood and gore of horror films, what does that say about how much we value life? If we are entertained by viewing murder so much, why not just do it ourselves? What are we promoting by allowing that to be our entertainment? Or Laughter, what are we laughing at? Is it one of many jokes in popular stand up acts that play on cultural stigmas, like women can’t drive, or overweight people can’t control themselves around food? What are we reinforcing by allowing ourselves to find humor in that? Is the absence of suffering alone enough to call happiness? Are we able to be truly sustainably happy if our lives are not secure financially or our futures are scary and unknowable? 

I’ve very much latched on to one idea of my friend’s about the word joy. He said,

joy happens in moments of happiness which come at no expense.

I picture the pure joy of running through a grassy field on a windy day. I imagine looking into the face of someone I love for the first time in the morning, and realizing with wonder that they are there with me in my life. When we can bring an appreciation of these things to others, that is a noble art.

So I think that I would rephrase this sentiment. 

The noblest art is that of bringing others joy.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. sussy says:


    Liked by 1 person

  2. sussy says:

    I appreciate you for speaking up about this

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Vanessa Finnegan says:

      Thank you!


  3. “Are we able to be truly sustainably happy if our lives are not secure financially or our futures are scary and unknowable? ”

    Oh dear everything you say here strikes a chord with me. I do not know the answers to any of your questions but I firmly believe you are right to ask them. I equally see that helping others to be happy is a big part of the equation.

    I am 62 and most people would deem me to be financially secure; and yet it has never felt that way. The truth is that our futures are indeed unknowable and will, I suspect, remain so. Unless we discover that after all the universe is strictly deterministic.

    I believe that part of happiness is accepting uncertainty and not giving a tinkers curse about it. I am almost there after countless years of trying. At the end nothing matters much and certainly not “us”. Death is no issue although the process is often somewhat less than pleasant. Perhaps the greatest achievement in life would be to die without regrets. To know that you have done your best. To know that you have not been cruel or thoughtless (or not too often).

    Anyway, nice thoughts. I think you are right.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Vanessa Finnegan says:

    Precisely, there is a beauty in uncertainty but it requires a certain outlook to find, or rather, to stop looking past. Happiness is a very culturally defined term. Everyone experiences joy, even in the most dire of circumstances the body and mind find moments of feeling glad to be alive.


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