The Happiness of Constant Striving

Philosophers of happiness have often said that humanity’s eternally recurring and seemingly insatiable desires are a crushing burden and a debilitating problem. To live with an unsatisfied desire, the argument goes, makes one unhappy. Therefore, if one is to be content, expunging desires is of the utmost importance. This dubious notion is the foundation of entire self-denying spiritual practices. Advocates of self-denial invoke the myth of Sisyphus, the king in ancient Greece who offended Zeus. As punishment, he was condemned to push a huge boulder to the top of a hill. However, the simple (but sweaty) game was rigged. Whenever the boulder neared the top of the hill, it rolled back down to the bottom. Some prefer the less strenuous, but equally frustrating Danaidean example. In Greek legend, the Danaides were daughters of the Egyptian prince, Danaus. After they had murdered their husbands, they were condemned in Hades to fill water jars with holes in the bottom.

The Danaides by John William Waterhouse, 1903

Success may not be necessary to attain happiness. For many, the striving itself becomes a fulfilling and satisfying way of life. (Image: public domain.)

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Guides to Understanding Creativity

If you are at all serious about being a writer, you need to know something about what it means to be a creative person. Few successful writers reach the heights without at least a rudimentary philosophical take on what they are doing. Luckily, creativity has spawned an entire writing genre with many fine books on the topic.

The Dynamics of Creation Cover

Anthony Storr is unsurpassed when it comes to writing about creative people and the mysteries of the creative process.

My Favourite Creativity Author

When it comes to books about creativity, my favourite author has to be Anthony Storr. No one does a better job of choosing the revealing anecdotes from creators’ lives. Being a psychiatrist himself, he is unsurpassed when discussing the motivation and attitudes behind the activities of creative individuals. He skilfully weaves anecdote and psychology into a lively, fascinating, and enlightening view of what creative people are like. His strong emphasis on creativity’s rewards is inspiring. All of Storr’s books are jargon-free and a pleasure to read. Here are three of his titles with a comment or two about each one.

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