Chasing the Ultimate Meaning of Life & Happiness

       Do we really know where we are going to in life? The following lines of the song of Diana Ross entitled “Do You Know Where You’re Going To” are loaded with philosophical and sociological meanings that can challenge us to find the ultimate meaning and happiness of our life:

     “Do you know where you’re going to,

Do you like the things that life is showing you,

Where are you going to,’

Do you know?…”

Happiness Depends on Our Ultimate Life Goal

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Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We only live once in this world. As rational beings, we are creators of meaning. What makes our life meaningful would depend on our ultimate goal. The primary goal we envision for our life is what basically guides us in our daily living. Its achievement can ultimately make us happy. The quality of our happiness would fundamentally depend on this life goal. If our supreme purpose is to seek wealth, then our happiness would consist of gaining profit in our investments, increasing savings, achieving dominance in the market, creating new breakthroughs in business innovation, etc. If our ultimate purpose is to chase pleasure in food, sex, alcohol, or other forms of addictions, then our happiness will be enjoying and prolonging pleasure in our bodily senses. If our basic aim is to love God by serving others, then happiness would be spiritual consolation and the joy of serving God’s poor and underprivileged. If our aim is to change society according to our ideology or political beliefs, by fighting oppressive social structures and regimes, then our primary happiness would consist of personal joy of seeing that some of our reforms are realized in society. In short, our ultimate life goal can define the quality of our happiness.

Our view and enjoyment of happiness, however, can change through time. We are historical beings. Our ultimate life goal change as we continually search for the true meaning and value of life. That is why we hear conversion stories of people who have found their true meaning of life and change their original life goals.  St. Augustine of Hippo, for instance, was a true sinner and womanizer before his conversion to Catholicism. But after he found Christ in the Gospels as the true meaning of his life, his personal life radically changed, from being a pleasure seeker to being an avid servant of Christ and a great theologian of the Catholic Church. In his famous book, The Confessions, St. Augustine declared the basic orientation of his life: “My heart is restless until it rests in you, O Lord!”

Happiness as Cultural

People from various walks of life can have different goals and philosophies in life. Thus, one may inquire: Which ultimate goals in life are “superior” or more sublime than others?  Is serving God or humanity a superior goal and object of happiness in life than seeking pleasure, chasing wealth, fighting for social reforms or some other noble or religious purposes?

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Photo: “Sunset” by the author

Well, the unintended consequence of becoming human is to be born in a particular set of parents and community and to grow up in a particular culture. We neither choose where we must be born nor control how we should be brought up as a human being in society by our parents or guardians during our formative years i.e., from infanthood to early adolescence, which is said to be crucial for our personality formation. Social scientists believe that each culture is as good as the other. Thus, there is no “inferior” culture and cultural conception of what constitutes a meaningful life. Culture plays an important role in constituting one’s ultimate goal in life. If one is brought in a capitalist culture which puts more value on material prosperity rather than spiritual pursuit, he or she would more likely see the ultimate goal of his or her life in terms of material pursuit rather than in terms of service and growth in holiness. If one is born in a primitive society and culture where following tradition and communal goals supersedes personal ambitions, then the individual life goals would more likely reflect the collective goals. If one is born in a criminal sub-culture where people in the neighborhood are members of criminal syndicates and often talk of deviant techniques and criminal exploits, then expect the members of this neighborhood to pursue criminal careers and see prosperity through crime as the ultimate purpose in life. Unless there is external intervention or socialization on non-criminal or religious pursuits, individuals within this subculture could never be converted to other forms of lifestyle and non-criminal worldviews. Thus, it is crucial for individuals to think outside the box and explore other worldviews through education to go beyond the limitations of one’s sub-culture in understanding the ultimate purpose of life. Some people change their worldviews and goals in life by mere reading of books. St. Ignatius of Loyola, for example, was converted from a hedonist soldier to a spiritual mystic and founder of the Society of Jesus, the largest religious orders of priests and brothers in the Catholic Church, by accidentally reading the book of the saints while recuperating from a serious wound in a castle in Spain and asking himself: If the saints can do great things for Christ, why can’t I?

 

 

7 Top Traits Women Want in Men

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1. With Sense of Humor

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A sense of humor makes men attractive to women. Being able to laugh at the stresses of this world is a must, according to 77 percent of the women in one study. Men get bonus points if they can make women laugh. Humor tells a woman that you can laugh at the many difficulties that life throws at you.

Moreover, some studies showed that women typically choose better-looking guys for flings, not long-term relationships. Men with strong sense of humor may not necessarily be attractive. They also showed that women love men who make them smile and laugh, especially during times of stress and problems.

2. Intelligent

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A worldly, interesting man is a man 55 percent of women like to show off. Men who are problem solvers make women feel secure, and men who are always improving are never boring.

3. Confident

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A man who feels secure in his own skin makes the woman he’s with feel secure, according to 41 percent of women in one research study. By showing men can handle unfamiliar people or situations, they tell women in their life that they need not fear, either.

4. With High Earning Potential

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One in five women surveyed in one study said a man’s success in his career contributes to his sexiness. If you’ve demonstrated talent, goal achievement, and follow-through, you give women confidence that you will be a good provider.

5. With Great Ambition

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Men with great ambition in life is attractive to women. The ambition of achieving higher social status and social class in society can impress women who want their men to be successful. “Not ambition in the sense that you knock other people down to build yourself up, but in the fact that you will work hard to get what you want and help others to do the same thing” (Jordan).

6. Passionate About Life

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Women love men who are passionate in whatever they do in life. They also love men who live in the moment and enjoy life every day. It’s not about the destination, but about the journey in life that women expect from their male partners.

7. Brave

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Women are attracted to brave men who can face difficult situations with confidence.  Being brave, alert in emergency situations, is very attractive to women and indicates that they can protect them from all types of danger.

8. Famous

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If men are famous, then by definition a lot of people know them. If a lot of people know them, they are therefore important. Being important is very attractive to women. Popularity and achievement are attractive for female partners. Women want their men to be achievers, innovative, and leaders in their chosen fields.

Being famous men implies more social connection, prestige, and honor for their women. Popularity is an indicator of social status, one of the main sources of power in society, together with social class.

GIF Credits: Giphy.com

References

Calo, C. (n.d.). the 100 Top Things that Attract Women to Men.Way Too Social. Retrieved from https://www.waytoosocial.com/top-100-things-that-attract-women-to-men/.

Jones, L. (17 April 2018). Top 20 Traits Women Want in a Man. Men’shealth. Retrieved from https://www.menshealth.com/sex-women/a19535604/top-20-traits-she-wants/.

Jordan, S. (n.d.). 7 Qualities Women Find Attractive in Men. Lifehack. Retrieved from https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/7-qualities-women-find-attractive-men.html.

Best Strategies in Courting Women

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Introduction

Two things to remember before courting a woman. First, dating is different from courtship, although they are related. Dating can lead to courtship. Second, it is important to court one woman at a time. Finally, courtship is not a game but a preparation for marriage for the Catholic Church.

1. Dating is different from courting

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Maybe one thinks that dating and courting are the same thing, but actually, they’re very different. Dating is more casual, and he or she does not necessarily looking for someone serious. Rather it’s just testing the waters and having fun, completely understandable.

Courting is based on the idea of eventual marriage. Okay, if one is just had a shiver up your spine reading the word, “marry,” I get it, it’s big step. But courtship is really meant for those who are seriously looking for someone (Ivanovic).

2. You can only court one girl at a time

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One can’t be courting three girls at one time. It will not work. If one girl would know that your courting other girls, the guy would lose all his chances. So it’s important to just focus one’s attention on the one girl he is courting. If she’s not compatible then the guy must end the courtship and start courting someone else. If he courting a bunch of girls at once, his not really genuinely trying to get to know each one as well….” (Ivanovic).

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4 Top Strategies in Courting Women

1. Know the woman you’re courting: Do your homework. Do some background check before making your first move.

 

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This is the most important part in courting. Before taking a move, you should know your woman very well in order for you to get some idea on how to get on with her. The important things that you should know about her include her family, religion, friends, and personal background (Suminguit 12 Dec 2012).

2. Always pay attention to details when you’re  dealing with her.  Women love rose petals sprinkled on beds.  From little surprises to the opening of car doors, it’s the little things that women desire when they are being courted (Lovesujiery).

 

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3. Court when you’re thinking of marriage.

Don’t play games with the woman you’re courting. Courtship is a preparation for marriage. Close your eyes and think about it. Can you see this woman being your wife? If so, then why not give it a try and court her. You should really only be courting someone when you’re considering the idea of marrying them (Ivanovic).

4. Persistence pays in courtship: Sustained and persistent efforts in wooing a woman can make her fall in love in the long run.

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“Most women will fall in love to a guy that excels more efforts than those who are not. Efforts counts more than anything that you can imagine. They are weakness of women, the power of men. No matter how hard it will be, just don’t give up. Instead, excel more efforts.

Meet with her friends, or maybe her family. Visit her at home or go to a place she often visits. Love what she loves. Buy her flowers and chocolates without thinking that it is very crazy. Don’t you know that they love crazy stuff? It is just too cool for them.” (Suminguit 12 Dec 2012).

Catholic Church’s Teaching on Courtship

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Courtship is always a preparation for the Church. It’s a period of discovery whether 2 mature people are compatible for a lifelong commitment in the sacrament of matrimony. The longer the period of courtship, the better is the discovery period for the couple. Usually, it takes 2 or more years to know who the person one wishes to marry. Courtship can be a short period with a definitive end.  It ends either in an engagement or in the dissolution of the relationship (https://tradcatfem.com).

For the Church, building a chaste, holy marriage begins before one is married and the only legitimate reason for company-keeping is courtship, which is a preparation for marriage. Before embarking on a traditional Catholic courtship, both the man and the woman must ensure that they are both prepared, spiritually, financially, and mentally for marriage.

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Catholic marriage will take place only after the period of spiritual, mental and financial preparation has been completed by engaged couples  (https://tradcatfem.com).

 

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Photo Source: youtube.com

 

Photo Credit (except with attribution): Pixabay.com

References

Ivanovic, N. (n.d.). “How to Court a Woman: 15 Ways to Do It Like a Classy Gentleman”. LovePanky. Retrieved from https://www.lovepanky.com/men/attracting-and-dating-women/how-to-court-a-woman.

Lovesujiery (n.d.) “8 Ways women Want to be Courted by Men”. Babble. Retrieved from https://www.babble.com/relationships/8-ways-women-want-to-be-courted-by-men/.

Suminguit, R.J. (7 Dec 2012). “How to Court Your Girl in 5 Simple Steps”. BrighterYou:  Advice for Love. Retrieved from https://brighteryou.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/how-to-court-your-girl-in-5-simple-steps/.

________ (n.d.) “Stages of a Traditional Catholic Courtship”. Traditional Catholic Femininity. Retrieved from https://tradcatfem.com/2017/07/27/stages-of-traditional-catholic-courtship/.

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Your Top Guide on Falling in Love

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Choosing the right partner is closely connected with one’s cultural taste and socialization in life. Every individual has his/her own “wish list” of traits they hope to find from their suitors, boyfriends, girlfriends, spouses or lovers. In sociology, every person undergoes a socialization process or social upbringing in order to become a productive human being in a particular society.

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A person’s “wish List” of an ideal romantic partner is influenced by his/her socialization to romantic love, particularly by his/her exposure to love, from childhood up to the moment s/he starts to fall in love. A person who is socially isolated and rarely exposed to romanticism, for instance, would be less interested in romance than one who is addicted to romantic film, novel, music and other romantic materials. And since the process of social learning is a lifelong process, this wish list is also evolving as the person matures with age and moves up in social stature.

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Young people, for instance, usually have a wish list of an ideal boyfriend and girlfriend, which is more focused on looks or physical traits, while older adults are more focused on financial stability, compatibility, commitment, and social standing of the partner. Without some sort of a strong spiritual and cultural belief or tradition that binds the love relationship, people can fall out of love with their partners and file a divorce because of some changes of their wish list through time. According to Benjamin Disraeli, the “first magic of love is our ignorance that it can ever end.” A young man who married his sexy sweetheart may fall out of love during midlife when he observed that his wife has become obese or physically unattractive due to work or motherhood and may look for another partner who is younger and more attractive than his wife.

Despite the change of one’s wish list due to changes in age and life situations, it is also possible that a person still maintains some desirable psychological traits of an ideal romantic partner in life. Some research studies show that a person’s positive or negative experience with their parents or family life can determine his or her ideal qualities of an ideal partner. Thus, a girl who is close to her own nurturing father may be looking for a partner or father figure who also possesses this type of personality trait. As Charles A. Stoddard would put it: “We love in others what we lack ourselves, and would be everything but what we are.”

On Physical Traits

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Romantic love often begins with physicality. People are embodied beings and communicate with the world through their bodies. In cultures where marriages are arranged, physicality is not a major problem in the selection of partners. But in urban and advanced societies with strong emphasis on romantic love and falling in love before marriage, physical looks play an important role in the selection of partners. Research has shown that it only takes between 90 seconds and 4 minutes for a person to fall in love at first sight or fancy someone. And what usually attracts the person during this moment is not what the other says, but what his or her presence projects through body language (55%) and the tone and speed of the voice (38%). The content of what the person says is only 7%.

There has to be some sort of physical basis before two strangers fall in love. People have some minimum standards of beauty which he or she learned through social learning. This is usually attuned to his or her cultural upbringing and taste. Thus, “loving one’s own” is a common pattern in falling in love. People with similar culture, race, ethnicity, social class, religion, geographical location, and social categories usually more disposed to fall in love with each than those with more dissimilarities and cultural incompatibilities. Cultural similarities reduce a lot of social barriers that make the love relationship easier to maintain. A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that men who live in cultures where food and money are scarce tend to find heavier women more attractive than thinner ones. These men may see the extra pounds as a status symbol; a buxom figure signals having the means to purchase plenty of food.

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People with similar cultural background share similar standards of beauty and are, therefore, more likely to fall in love than complete cultural strangers. Of course, with the advent of digital technology and the Internet, people’s standards of physical beauty may become hybrid or mixed, especially to those who are heavy users of the multi-cultural world wide web. Cultural diffusion through the Internet can change people’s standards of beauty and love and can make them accepting of foreign standards of falling in love.

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It’s probable that a person “falls in love for the first time” because of the physical presence of the other as resembling somebody, whether real or imagined, whom he or she idolizes or had a crush, whether a celebrity, a friend, former classmate or officemate or anybody he or she had been attracted to. The person’s wish list of an ideal romantic partner immediately become active during the first encounter and “falls in love” with somebody he or she has not been known acquainted with. Although popularly considered as “love at first sight”, experts and moralists do not generally consider this as love but infatuation and only a first step towards true love. Using biological theory, Helen Fisher of Rutgers University also considers “love at first sight” as only the first of the 3 stages of love: lust, attraction and attachment. For her, the first stage of love is only lust. This is the amazing moment when two people are driven by the sex hormones of testosterone and estrogen. In the second stage, the couple is truly love-struck and can think of little else. And in the third and attachment stage, the couple is bonded together long enough to have and raise children.

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6 Weirdest Love Stories and Marriages Ever Told

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The Bible and the Church teach that marriage is sacred and a union between a man and a woman. Ephesians 5:25 says:

“For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.” Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” … He who loves his wife loves himself.”

Despite this Biblical teaching, people with different cultural orientations prefer to marry their bride and groom according to their personal taste and cultural preference. The following are among the weirdest love stories and marriages ever told:

1. A Lady who Fell in Love with a Wall and Married it

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“Eija-Ritta was only 7 when she saw the Berlin Wall for the first time on television and she felt head-over-heels when she saw the wall. Eija developed a fetish for inanimate objects and married the concrete structure in 1979. Her surname also means Berlin Wall in German and when the structure was brought down in 1989 she was in tears and said ,”What they did was awful. They mutilated my husband.”

“In an interview in The Telegraph she admitted that she felt some attraction for The Great Wall of China, but in 2008 her affection was beginning to shift towards a nearby garden fence” (Campobasso, 2018).

Eija-Ritta was later diagnosed with a condition called Objectum-Sexuality. Though she remained virgin as a human, she insists she has a full, loving relationship with the wall for having married the structure for more than 29 years now” (Giri).

2. A Man who Wedded a Video Game Character

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“In 2009 a Japanese otaku (a rabid fan of Japanese manga, anime and video games) found the love of his life in a handheld DS game. The man, known only by his gamer tag ‘SAL9000’ later went on to arrange an extravagant wedding ceremony with his pixelated wife-to-be, Nene Anegasaki from the Japanese dating simulation game Love Plus. Following their their honeymoon in Guam, SAL9000 admitted that he was somewhat nervous about introducing Nene to his family. Though SAL9000 may be the first to publicly announce his love for a video game character, he’s not the only one as others have also found their relationships with dating simulators as becoming increasingly real and serious” (Campobasso).

3. A Man who Married and Kissed His Dead Girlfriend

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“Chadil Deffy and Sarinya Kamsook had plans to get married soon after Deffy completed his studies. But his life was devastated after he learned the news of Sarinya’s death in an accident even before the two finalized a date to tie the knot. But death could not beat his love. Deffy married his deceased girlfriend in a combination funeral and wedding ceremony where he placed a ring on Sarinya’s hand, his girlfriend of 10 years and kissed her in a ceremony in Thailand’s Surin province” (Giri).

4. A Woman Who Married Her Own Self

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The “39-year old Liu Ye reportedly chose to marry a life-size photograph of himself, wearing a red bridal gown, in the village square in Guanzhou, China at a ceremony in front of bewildered wedding guests and onlookers in 2007. Ye said that what led him to his decision to marry himself was a general “dissatisfaction with reality” and being “a little bit narcissistic”. Despite the bride being a photograph of the groom dressed in drag, the wedding is said to have otherwise followed standard Chinese customs and traditions” (Campobasso, 2018).

5. A Man who Married a Pineapple

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“Around 44 years ago Ulli Hopper, also known as the German popstar ‘Ramma Damma’ traveled to Gretna Green, a village on the Scottish border, in a Jaguar covered in AstroTurf. While he was there he claims to have taken his love for plants to the next level by proposing to a pineapple that he had bought from a fruit vendor for around £8.

Hopper told Metro Magazine that he named the pineapple ‘Tippi’ and that the two were married to each other by a craftsman wearing a kilt before traveling back home to Munich. According to Hopper it was a “fun away wedding”.

Despite the unconventional relationship between a human and a tropical fruit, the two lovers engaged in wholesome activities, like going to the cinemas. Hopper said that Tippi particularly enjoyed movies featuring earthquakes and when she got scared she sat in Hopper’s lap. They also enjoyed going to restaurants where Tippi the Pineapple enjoyed a glass of water over dinner” (Campobasso, 2018).

6. A Woman Who Married a Cobra

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in India, a 30-year old woman fell in love with and married a cobra in a traditional Hindu wedding in 2006 before 2,000 guests. According to the bride’s mother, the woman had previously been very sick and was only cured after offering milk to the snake.

GIF Credits: Giphy.com

References

Campobasso, P. (7 March 2018). The World’s Most Bizarre Relationships and Love Stories (with Non-Humans). Retrieved from https://pairedlife.com/misc/The-Worlds-Strangest-Relationships-and-Love-Stories-with-Non-Humans.

Giri, G. (n.d.). “10 Crazy Real Life Love Stories To Warm Your Heart”. Lifehack. Retrieved from https://www.lifehack.org/355978/10-crazy-real-life-love-stories-warm-your-heart.

Wales, G. (21 April 2011). “30 Weirdest Love Stories”. Gamesradar. Retrieved from https://www.gamesradar.com/30-weirdest-love-stories/.

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