“As happy as a Frenchman with self removing trousers” Blackadder.
I have skipped my writing story/journey forward to France instead of Rome. A beautiful country and I was in Provence, France the day the French won the World Cup.
I had travelled from Rome to Marseille and then headed north ending up near a town called Brignoles, with the aim of heading to my friends BnB, Maison Lambot, which is 20 minutes further north of Brignoles. He had me sit at the office of Tourism, on a warm night, while he hustled to find a friend sober enough to drive. If that had not worked, I would have hitchhiked to the town. The office of tourism in Brignoles points directly at a large fountain and boy was there some happiness being expressed. People were jumping for joy over the victory of the World Cup Final. Kids jumping in the fountains, parents swimming and splashing. Then cars driving around the fountain, horns whaling, and you guys sitting outside the car window or holding on for dear life to the car roof. A spectacular spectacle to see. (Unless your English and got dumped out of the Cup just before the French won it.)
Some thought provoking stuff for this week’s blog, which ties in with a few philosophers that I’ve studied during my time in Siracusa. From Plato, we get the idea of “the good,” which if completed under his guidance and instruction, you will apparently become happy. I will also take into account, Epicurus.
Epicurus was a Greek philosopher who actually studied the idea of Happiness and even tried to make a method, which could create it. He was born 341bc in Samos, which was part of Ancient Greece. By 307bc, Epicurus had bought his first house and converted it into a community house. He invited friends to come to stay with him, they each had their own quarters and shared spaces. They worked for themselves and lived a simple life. Epicurus was said to have lived on cheese, olives and bread, whilst only owning two cloaks. The aim was to study and live in happiness.
It is an interesting thing to bring in for the idea of what is happiness or at least how do you gain it and I suppose that the two are linked. The travels I’ve had, the people I’ve met, the people who visited, the friends I’ve made, and the things that I’ve seen have definitely been a happy experience for me. The things that stood out, were the good food, the weather, the people and writing this blog. The blog was a way of doing some self-reflection as well as working for myself.
It is interesting as well when looking at Plato’s suggestions of:
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” Plato
Then taking into account Epicurus’ view of life. To create a happy existence you needed 3 things.
*To work less and for yourself.
*To live a calm life, which allows you to be calm, which can be created by reflecting on your work, life and reading, then writing stuff down.
This is a very simple summarization. Of Epicurean thought. There were many other aspects to this way of life. Yet, this travel has ticked many of the boxes. I’ve been reducing work, started a blog, made friends, some have stayed with me during my adventure, it’s been in a calm environment and this blog has been a reflection and there has been a lot of reading!
I think a bigger thing for those that are reading this is to take stock of what makes you happy.
Is it friendships?
Money? Do you have to sacrifice more of you to have more money?
Things I’ve added:
Eradicating the world of mosquitoes?
I can say that all of those things have put a smile on my face. Maybe there is something else, and maybe this list just doesn’t work for you, maybe even reflecting on all of this or reading it doesn’t work and give you happiness. I think that’s in part why I brought up the France game, the amount of joy that the game brought was incredible. There could be so many things that could bring you joy. My intention is not to say what it is, only to state what I’ve found to have worked and to possibly get you to ask yourself, “What works for you?”
Epicurus liked some of these ideas so much, (I don’t think France winning a World Cup would have been included.) He bought a house, called the “Garden” and then ticked the boxes of having friends, working for themselves and being surrounded by books and learning. These proved to be so popular the idea spread, reaching all across the Mediterranean, from Spain to Palestine. At one point, 400,000 people joined the communes, and although they exist no more, the buildings do, they were converted into monasteries by the Christian Church. One thing it does show is that it was popular.
It is an interesting thought, living with all of your friends, maybe their families, all under one roof, it would certainly be adventurous, something I found from my recent adventures in France as well as in the past living with Friends.
Although, especially after Uni, living with friends was not always easy and times were not always happy. Arguing over cleaning, washing up or why it’s taken a week to remove a chicken carcass from the floor in front of your friend’s bedroom door can have a significant impact on friendship and happiness. One thing I can say at present is this path I’ve been on has given me quite a bit of happiness and I hope it’s put a few smiles on all of you who have read it.