Lewis: The Source of Happiness

There is a genuine happiness and a false happiness. Some people seem to make it their goal in life to be happy, but when that is your goal, you miss it entirely because it’s based on self-centeredness. You run around trying to get happy or find someone or something that will make you happy, but it’s all artificial. Happiness, in itself, is not the be-all and end-all of life. Your expectations make all the difference. In an essay, “Answers to Questions on Christianity,” C. S. Lewis discusses this:

If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.

Imagine a set of people all living in the same building. Half of them think it is a hotel, the other half think it is a prison. Those who think it a hotel might regard it as quite intolerable, and those who thought it was a prison might decide that it was really surprisingly comfortable. So that what seems the ugly doctrine is one that comforts and strengthens you in the end.

The people who try to hold an optimistic view of this world would become pessimists: the people who hold a pretty stern view of it become optimistic.

This doesn’t mean there isn’t true happiness, though. One just needs to find the source. Lewis explains in his classic Mere Christianity:

God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other.

That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.

We are restless and unhappy until we find our peace in Him. Therein lies a happiness that won’t be found anywhere else.

C. S. Lewis & Happiness