Just two hundred meters away from the front gate of the company where I worked for ten years an engineer were shanties. In those shanties lived girls. Many of them were prostitutes. At night, the shanties beamed with lights. Agog with activities, you could find many male members of staff lounging in the arms of those girls, bottles of beer gracing the tables, cackles of laughter contending with loud music.
Why would a married man who had finished work for the day, decide to rest in the arms of a prostitute, instead of going home? Investigation showed me that many of them had burning homes, precipitated by thorny wives. In the arms of those scarlet ladies, mixed with the intoxicating effect of alcohol, they found happiness. I couldn’t fault their own disclosure as I wasn’t walking in their shoes. It was what they said it was.
At some point I’d stayed with my cousin in her one-bedroom apartment in Lagos. A lot of ladies in their late thirties and earlier forties lived in that mini estate. Whenever she got back from work, she spent a few hours with a few other ladies who lived in the other apartments. Most of the times, I joined in the discussions. A large chunk of those discussions centered on men. They’d dissect profiles, express their penchants, and tick off shenanigans they were unwilling to accommodate.
I could feel their loneliness. Unspoken, I could see their teary souls. I could sense the many questions their beings asked life. In all, they wanted to love and be loved. They wanted happiness.
The day I woke to the story that Anthony Bourdain, the famed CNN anchor who had been a connoisseur of cuisines and culture, had committed suicide, I was lost in contemplation. In 2018 (which is the year this book was written), documented suicides by celebrities around the world were a staggering thirty. These were men and women whose lives had become the mirrors through which millions around the world saw their own miraculous reflections. Investigations showed in many of the cases that despite the accolades by the media, presence of material wealth, and tons of admiration by friends, family, and fans, they weren’t happy.
What’s it about human existence that makes us want to spend time on this side of life in a state of joyous pleasure? Why is it that we seek a departure from pain and desire to live in a state of perpetual bliss? Is happiness relative? Why have many philosophers worked so hard to define in absolute terms what happiness truly is and means?
Those questions and many more pummel my mind. I’m sure it’s the same for millions of souls around the world.
One resounding question worth asking is, “Do you deserve to be happy?”
In eight chapters of this great work of art, the author makes an exhaustive attempt at establishing the fact that happiness is not just a part and parcel of human existence, but that humans are condemned to seek for happiness. By seeking to define it, x-raying the many perspectives shared in the past by philosophers, listing ways to seek happiness, the author embraces a daring challenge.
When I became a true Christian, I found certain concepts stewed in gray lines. Conversations around drinking alcohol, masturbation and pornography depended mainly on subjective postulations as they weren’t objectively analyzed in the Bible. While these conversations will continue to be heated on this side of eternity, the author courageously toed the line of factual presentations, opening the reader to a dialogue with self, obviously hoping to tilt choices overwhelmingly to the positive. That is brevity. I believe that Chapter Four will definitely be up for discussion in many homes and gatherings.
I love the style employed by the author – a mix of sophistry, academic dissertation and casualness of presentation. These give the book the flavours that thrill the heart of a researcher, placate the sensuality of ordinariness in a casual reader, and excite the palate of a historian. He unites these three by using diction that is easy to flow with.
The references the author listed in this work shows his penchant for research. He typifies a miner who dives into the bowels of the earth to extract raw materials of great benefit to mankind. That I find so laudable for he shows a largeness of heart that deserves a medal. Souls as his make humanity a heavenly abode.
By reading this book, he gives you a charge – you’re qualified to seek happiness. He even attempts a bolder challenge – uniting every reader into a collective consciousness that the happiness we seek is inside of us. It’s our duty to embrace it, live it and live harmoniously.
You can be happy, too!
Foreword by Emeka Nobis (www.emekanobis.com), Author, Thought Leader, TEDx speaker and Consultant, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, December, 2018.
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