Action and the "pursuit of Happiness" ~ Hennah Arendt
What most interests us here is not the truthfulness of a person but the truth of a story, and the story tells us that there exists such intense happiness in acting that the actor like a gambler, will accept that all the odds are stacked against him. This I admit, is difficult to believe; what convinced me that I had heard a truth was that the story remained me instantly of a strange passage in the last letters exchanged between Jefferson and John Adams, when, at the end of their long lives and in a reflective mood, they left the need to explain themselves to each other. One of the subjects they frequently discussed was death, to which they both looked forward with “more willingness than reluctance,” with complete equanimity, in a spirit equally removed from anxiety and from taedium vitae. (a state of extreme ennui; weariness of life.) and when in this atmosphere of stillness and quiet the question of life in a hereafter was raised, Jefferson -- who perhaps had never shared John Adam’s convinction that belief is a future state with rewards and punishment was indispensable for civilized Communities -- concluded one of his letters as follows, “May we meet again, in Congress, with our antient Colleagues,and receive with them the seal of approbation, ‘Well done, good and faithful servants’ “