Happiness vs Joy

Have you ever pondered the difference of certain words often used interchangeably? Or, what that difference, or obfuscation of difference, might mean?

There seems little doubt the art of subtlety is being systematically erased from human consciousness.

One coy glance to move a man, or your entire derrière in the air?

If this is a natural phenomenon resulting from the rise of systems thinking, or a top-down control mechanism, or desensitization gone amok, or devolution, or democratization, I can only speculate. And stay open to suggestions.

But I do find it to be a personal goal and an evolutionary imperative that we don’t let subtlety die in the nebulous gray zone.

I kind of relate it to the difference between American cheese and aged chèvre. And the difference between emotions, feelings and sensations.

Our culture has become increasingly sensationalized. It’s become a gamers’ world of goal-oriented stimulus that must be fed on a constant basis.

Fleeting hits of happiness have all but replaced the finer nuances of lasting joy. Considering absurd comments like Hilary Clinton’s ‘Americans have a happiness deficit’ I can’t help but consider the context conspiratorially. She is not blind, or dumb. So she must be bullshitting on the commands of her handlers.

Do a quick search on ‘Americans and Happiness’ and it’s clear this relationship is not only Big Business, but Big Science, as well as Big Politics.

“Further complicating matters has been the bias critics have shown when examining happiness. Sociologists have viewed happiness through the lens of society, psychologists the mind, physicians the body, preachers one’s faith, politicians the government, and so on. This has made the field a jumble or hodgepodge of viewpoints, more so I believe than most other subjects. As well, all sorts of experts have attempted to control or take ownership of happiness in America in some way, this too contributing to the scattered nature of the subject. Businesspeople, government officials, and religious leaders have seen themselves as arbiters of happiness and have assumed responsibility for delivering it to Americans in order to solidify their own power. Likewise, politicians from each persuasion have often claimed to be the greater instrument of happiness than their competitors, making it appear that the emotion can be bestowed rather than earned.” The (American) Pursuit of Happiness | Psychology Today

Is happiness an emotion? Indeed, it is not. Joy is an emotion. Happiness is a mood. A sensation. Have any of the mainstream consensus trance defenders bothered to notice that?

Joy is bound to life itself, its opposite is pain. Together they create a kind of ‘trauma bond’ that keeps us engaged and inquiring incessantly into others and the world around us. It comes from the well-spring of the eternal natural world. Or, God, if you prefer.

Happiness is a day at the games or a fine concert or great sex. I’m not knocking it! I’m just saying, there’s far more to life than that, and if you can’t taste the difference between American cheese and aged chèvre, then perhaps you should not be speculating on the condition or the ills of the American culture.

Author: KenshoHomestead

Creatively working toward self-sufficiency on the land.

22 thoughts on “Happiness vs Joy”

  1. How synchronistic to come upon this quote so relevant to this post in the book, ‘The Spell of the Sensuous’ by David Abram, recommended by a reader.

    “The consequent impoverishment of language, the loss of a common discourse tuned to the qualitative nuances of living experience, was leading, Husserl felt, to a clear crisis in European civilization. Oblivious to the quality-laden life-world upon which they themselves depend for their own meaning and existence, the Western sciences, and the technologies that accompany them, were beginning to blindly overrun the experiential world—even, in their errancy, threatening to obliterate the world-of-life entirely.” (41)


  2. I always thought the words were interchangeable. Either word can only come from the inside, not from outside stimuli. It’s the reason why addictions are so prevalent. Everyone is looking for a quick fix/hit because dealing with “life” is a job unto itself. Of course, modern Western life can be tough. Easterners seem to have a better way of handling it. It’s all about perspective.


      1. Different mindset. I have an American friend that has been living in Japan for 30+ years. Even he is strong in his opinion of the East/West differences. Alan Watts was, too. I’ve studied an old Okinawan karate style & lots of yoga. The Eastern philosophy of life is very different from Western philosophy…


          1. Because they don’t approach life as something to be conquered. Westerners are “brute force” life livers. Ever listened to any of Alan Watts lectures, particularly the later ones? He covers the contrasts between the two very effectively.

            This also gets into why certain people in power (Western mindset) absolutely love Asians. So many have slobbered all over themselves about China’s Zero Covid policy. Notice how the WEF & Davos crowd are of Western mindset (ruling by brute force), yet adore the Chinese. Yes, China has a dictator. They have had several. China did not always have dictators. That, in & of itself, is a Western thing…the influence (that & other things I would have great difficulty in explaining, further). Anyway, Eastern mindset doesn’t attempt to whip reality into what it wants. It works with it. It is more accepting. That is why, initially, all the Chinese would line up for hours to wait to be tested for convid. Most Americans could not understand why they didn’t just fight back or riot. Eventually, the Chinese had enough and there were enough of them to put a stop to it. And, keep in mind…Japan never would have bombed us had we (our government) not screwed them to the wall over oil.

            The culture of acceptance in Eastern philosophy is a contrast to Western philosophy, of the aforementioned brute force, and deceit…deceiving oneself and deceiving each other. Western culture even managed to screw up yoga. They turned it into selfies of handstands, totally ignoring the inherent philosophy of love & acceptance. I know I have babbled on about Chris Thomas but, he accurately pointed out that the evolution of humanity, worldwide, is being hampered by Western mindsets.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. So doesn’t it seem to you that some of this is coming from a lack of refinement in our very language and that the controllers know to use the wrong words, or to mesh definitions into a flexible gray zone that is malleable to use to their own ends—ie, confusing and misusing words like joy and happiness?


            2. Precisely why I remarked about them being the same…meaning, online dictionaries refer to both, simultaneously.

              The controllers are also the ones that create new “words” and provide them for us in their media. Or…they remove words for us and tell us we can’t use them anymore. All deceit…all holding back evolution.

              Have you ever heard of Christian Sundberg?

              Liked by 1 person

            3. I just don’t get the sense the Eastern philosophy has it all figured out and it’s the Western that screwed it up. Look at the Eastern cultures now—just as screwed up. Are you thinking this is the fault of Western influence? So much of the surveillance tech is coming from there, having already been accepted by their masses with seemingly little pushback. It seems to me an unquestioning acceptance of Authority is plaguing each culture equally.


            4. “Are you thinking this is the fault of Western influence?”

              Yes. How many countries has the UK invaded? How many countries has Spain invaded? How many countries has the US invaded? The Dutch? The Germans? France? Sweden? Norway? What Eastern country invaded the West? The Persians invaded Greece but, that was before Christ. Don’t even get me started on the Romans. There was an Indo-Greek kingdom, before Christ and covering the birth of Christ, that was a blending of Greece, parts of India, Pakistan & Afghanistan.

              What western country has China invaded? Taiwan? Taiwan had their own indigenous people before the Han Chinese moved in, aided by the Dutch. Hong Kong? Hong Kong was owned by Britain for, what, 99 years? What western country has Japan invaded (they only bombed our island and knew a mainland invasion would be disastrous)? What western country has Russia invaded? If you are thinking Germany, all they did was defend their territory, much like what they are doing now with the march of NATO. Germany invaded Russia in 1941 (look up Operation Barbarossa/look up Generalplan Ost). The Russians aligned with Britain, later, to push back on the Nazi machine. What western country has India invaded? How about Korea? Vietnam? What western country has Tibet invaded? The Ottoman Empire couldn’t even get into the West. They got into the Eastern slavic part of Europe, Asia (western part) & North Africa. Speaking of Africa, setting aside the Egyptian Empire (before Christ), what African nation has invaded a western country?

              Don’t even get me started on how the west destroys its own. Besides the jab genocide, dig into the Irish slave trade.

              Liked by 1 person

            5. Well you know how I feel about war and empire and colonization and terrorism! So, I’m definitely not trying to give the West some kind of free pass, not at all. History is disgusting and people have behaved abominably. I just think the East is littered with such history as well, including enslaving neighbors and their own people. And the Soviets did invade many countries that were considered Western by their own people—the Czechs most definitely, all of Central Europe really, these were never considered Eastern nations. And the way the borders have been remade constantly, long before WWI, a nation’s own people can’t even keep track. Africa is/was full of war lords, long before we got there. Just because they didn’t have the technology or desire to invade outside their own continent, can we say this because they are peaceful people? And look at the class divide in places like Tibet, Thailand, Vietnam, etc.—no better off than we are, a caste system that creates legal slavery and then pretends that’s not what it is. Long before the West got there. Ruling oligarchs and disempowered, perpetually fleeced peasants. I feel the world is pretty much in the same boat and the finger pointing is pretty pointless. China and the West are in bed together now, and have been for many decades, same with all the major powers. The propaganda we get about those relations are all smoke and mirrors. “All that rises must converge.” The oligarchs collude, all of them, as equals, from every empire, against the peons.


            6. I’ll have to make some disagreements. Czechia/Slovakia (Czechoslovakia) was invaded by four Warsaw pact countries, not just the Soviets (Poland, Bulgaria & Hungary…they were trying to keep CZ communist). While there may be a Western Europe, Central Europe & an Eastern Europe (identification for mapping), there is a distinct slavic split in culture and language. Borders may change but, family units keep track. I’ve had enough conversations with some Macedonians and Serbians. They do not consider themselves as Europeans.

              African war lords are not much different than warring Native Americans. All tribes…are tribal. The NAs got slaughtered by European invaders. Africans got slaughtered by the Dutch or Bill Gates’ vaccines (or, you could point to the smallpox blankets that took out many NAs).

              Caste systems go all the way back to biblical times. Jesus the Christ, his parents and his wife, Magdalene, were in a very strict Jewish sect. And, pecking orders are not limited to humans. There are “caste systems” in the animal kingdom (I could start to babble on, again, about Chris Thomas and his information on human life…and why we are here but, I won’t. There is also a reason why I asked you if you’d heard of Christian Sundberg, above).

              Industrialization (a Western thing) has gone a long way in tipping the balance in favor of the “brute force” I mentioned, above. And, yes…China is in bed with the West, economically (we are still in a staring contest over Taiwan). Japan got sucked in, earlier. A few days ago, I saw a video (I can’t remember, where) of a guy, born in Russia, family in Russian but, raised in the US. He listed a curious statistic…20% of Russian homes don’t have indoor toilets.

              I still stand by my original statement.

              Good conversation!


            7. So what does Slavs invading and occupying other Slavic countries have to do with the West destroying the world? I lived 3 years in Czech Republic, that’s where I was in the Peace Corps and I never met anyone who thought their Soviet occupation was our fault. China also had an industrial revolution.

              And while it is an interesting conversation, I’m not seeing the connection to the art of subtlety, the difference between joy and happiness, and how that affects culture, which was the point of the post!


            8. My point was, the Slavs do not see themselves as “western”, despite being attached to Europe…the ones I talked to.

              China’s industrial revolution was brought on by the west.

              My first comment covered the two words. The words are very similar and linked together as references to each other in most dictionaries. You see them differently. I don’t. I get your point about subtley, though, which ties into my point about the West and “brute force.” Much is lost.

              Then, you asked me why I think Easterners have a better way of handling things…

              I’ve been involved in Eastern philosophy since my middle 20s. It altered my perspective.

              At that point, the conversation diverted. Sorry if I got long winded. I will behave in the future.


            9. I don’t mind your long-windedness! You are free to post your thoughts and links here anytime and I do appreciate them! I was just getting confused with all the tangents. I just listened to 25 minutes of Christian’s interview on the channel:Buddha At The Gaspump and I’m happy to report he used the word ‘joy’ correctly in a sentence!


            10. Well, I suppose ‘Slavs’ covers a lot of folks and they do not have a unified singular culture, so it’s hard to generalize. It was not what I heard living in Czech Republic or traveling through Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, or Belarus. I was already writing and publishing articles by that time and interviewed loads of average folks. They did not identify with Russia, they did not speak Russian even though it was required in schools (most of them refused to learn on principle), and they fully resented the occupation and wholeheartedly celebrated when it ended.

              Most Easterners are not into philosophy, just as most Westerners aren’t either. That’s going to be a rather select group of educated and seeking types in both cases. My time in Thailand, where I lived for a year, demonstrated to me that average folks there cared about the same things as average folks here. They dealt with materialism, disease, addiction, and were not particularly more religious or spiritual than those in the West. Certainly you can say that this is also the fault of the West, but then, no Western country has ever occupied Thailand, so where were they conditioned to model themselves after us?

              All dynasties East and West have used brute force to conquer others. We did not invent war or terrorism or the caste system where an elite lord over the peasants, which happens almost everywhere in the world, since long before seeing any Westerners.

              While I think it’s marvelous you were personally altered by studying Eastern philosophy, it is still philosophy—that is, part of the spiritual path—perhaps if you’d studied Hermetic philosophy or Western mysticism you might’ve also have your perspective altered, considering that is also a subject rarely studied by average folks?


            11. Yeah. I was also told that the Russians weren’t looked upon, favorably.

              “Most” is a relative term and, regarding Thailand (Siam), the Portuguese were there in the 1500s and the Dutch, in the 1600s. It’s only been since, what, the late 90s that Portugal turned loose of Macau.

              It would be very difficult for me to explain where much of the conquering comes from (the elite over the peasants…it is not a natural occurrence). Suffice to say, that kind of bad behavior first showed up with Alexander the Great (with the crazy, backwards counting because of Christ…356-323 BC). Sure, there were tribal skirmishes all over the planet but, Alexander is the first example of the worst of blood-thirstiness. The Roman Empire followed (then the Anglo-Saxons into Britain). The Egyptians were not conquerors. It was a stable civilization for, roughly, 3,000+ years. They had a military but, the cities didn’t have any walls or defensive positions. They were eventually conquered by Alexander (whom was Greek, which, technically, makes him “western.”) Much of Egypt’s history are guesses. All Egyptologists genuinely believe that the Egyptians built the pyramids as burial chambers. They have no clue as to the truth…and if they did, they would deny it. I know I am on another tangent but, the west has been more bloodthirsty in the long term and a large portion of the east has suffered for it.

              Hermetecism? Hermes Trismegistus? A blending of Hermes & Thoth? Greek & Egyptian gods? I had to look that up. Texts written in Greek, translated into Arabic & Latin, extensively revised and expanded… Quoting Wiki: “Some of them were also originally written in Arabic, though in many cases their status as an original work or translation remains unclear.” Another quote: “They are chiefly focused on the relationship between human beings, the cosmos and God. Many of them are also moral exhortations calling for a way of life (the “way of Hermes”) leading to spiritual rebirth, and eventually to divinization in the form of a heavenly ascent.” So, no one really knows who wrote all the texts. There is a mention of the “Emerald Tablet” which is curious to me because it strikes me as alluding to the Tables of Testimony (what is in the Ark of the Covenant). Heavenly ascent is a clear referral to Christ, which he didn’t actually “ascend” anywhere. Regarding the “relationship between human beings, the cosmos and god…”, that isn’t hard to figure out (I really detest the word “god”).

              Ok. Western mysticism/esotericism…this is a pot of soup. Hermeticism, Gnosticism, Neopythagoreanism, Neoplatonism, pagan ideas, Kabbalah, Christian theosophy, Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry…. I can tell you right now I wouldn’t touch Theosophy, the Kabbalah, Rosicrucianism or Freemasonry with a ten foot pole. I KNOW too much about that stuff…and where it came from.


            12. Khan was something, wasn’t he? He united the Mongol tribes and conquered nearly as much as the British Empire. He was in the 1200s, whereas Alexander was before Christ. Did he wield the same energies that Alexander, the Romans (The Vatican), Anglo-Saxons, possibly the Rockefellers, the Queen Mum & G.H.W. Bush used (where the reptilian thing that Icke has been babbling about came from)? I am not sure. I will pose that question to my global group & get back to you.

              Liked by 1 person

            13. Nope, never heard of Christian Sundberg. Caste systems in the animal kingdom? Ok, now I’m lost. Natural hierarchies in the wild are a far cry from man’s artificial hierarchies.


            14. It’s not a direct comparison. You mentioned evil caste systems as a point that the East was no better than the West. Animal pecking orders are very similar. The bodies we inhabit haven’t always been this “refined.” Early humans were very “animalistic.” The Bigfoots everyone sees all over the planet are an early body type we tested. “They” decided not to participate in the human plan and evolved on their own.

              Look Christian up on YouTube. Humor me if you have some time to listen. Just sayin…


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