It is common in our day, as it has been in many other periods of the world’s history to suppose that those among us who are wise have seen through all the enthusiasms of earlier times and have become aware that there is nothing left to live for. The men who hold this view are genuinely unhappy, but they are proud of their unhappiness, which they attribute to the nature of the universe and consider to the only rational attitude for an enlightened man. Their pride on their unhappiness makes people suspicious of its genuineness: they think that man who enjoys being miserable is not miserable.
This view is too simple; undoubtedly, there is some slight compensation in the feeling of superiority and insight, which these sufferers have, but it is not sufficient to make up for the loss of simple pleasure. I do not myself think that there is any superiority rationality in being unhappy. The wise man will be as happy as circumstances permit and if he finds the contemplation of the universe painful beyond a point, he will contemplate something instead. I am persuaded that those who quite sincerely attribute their sorrows to their views about the universe are putting the cart before the horse: the truth is that they are unhappy for some reasons of which they are not aware.
(i) Suggest a suitable title for the passage.
(ii) What is common with the wise today to suppose?
(iii) What is the result of pride on unhappiness?
(iv) How can a wise man be happy?
(v) Explain the meanings of the following words:
(a) Enthusiasms (b) Contemplation
(vi) Make a summary of the passage.
The Wise and Their Unhappiness”
It is common with the side today to suppose that there is nothing left to live for.
As a result, it makes the people doubtful of its realness.
A sensible man can be happy if he arbitrates beyond a point.
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- Enthusiasm: extreme passion to get any specific thing, Contemplation: meditation
- The wise men of today who have seen through the happy times of earlier ages declare that now there is nothing left to live for. Their pride of their sadness makes people suspicious of its realness and they start thinking that one who enjoys being unhappy is not miserable. There is at least superiority of wisdom on being unhappy; but if a wise man finds any pain in the contemplation of the universe, he will not do so. Those who attribute their sorrows to their view are unhappy for some reasons of which they are ignorant.