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A DISCUSSION ON HAPPINESS (EXCERPT)
by Qian Zhongshu (1910 - 1998)
English translation: Miao Guang and William Chong

By discovering that happiness is determined by our minds, civilization has taken yet another step forward. This discovery is equally as important as discovering that the realization of what is right or wrong, good or evil, is determined by justice instead of violence. Ever since justice was discovered, not a single person has ever become completely yielding to force. From that moment on, fears are no longer as frightening, and the physical body is no longer as domineering.

The alchemy of our minds can transform physical suffering into a data for happiness. For this reason, there are people who celebrate a burnt down house, there are those who take joy in having only simple foods and drinks, and there are those who remain cheerful and at ease despite being confronted by boundless calamities and harms.

For these people, what else could threaten their lives? The joy of turning endurance into an enjoyment wins one the greatest victory of the mind against the material world.

── from Xiezai Rensheng Bianshang (Written on the Edges of Life)