Right to Pursue Happiness

Watch me paint this dolphin in 2 minutes (time lapse)

What is the pursuit of happiness? Does it mean simply “feeling” happy, or actively living happily? A dolphin in the wild is playful and enjoys following boats, showing off for human audiences. I loved meeting this delightful dolphin named “Fungie” when I was living in Ireland. Unless captured, a dolphin answers to no authority and is free to pursue happiness. Apparently Fungie liked hanging out with his human fans. It seemed like he was looking and smiling directly at me, and stole my heart!

But there is something horribly wrong when a human being feels less free than a wild dolphin. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” seems like a good declaration for independence, for sovereignty over our bodies and our lives, and for the promise of freedom to follow our purpose, talents, vocations, lifestyles and dreams.

When governments and their “activist” proxies cancel some people but not others, when laws apply to some people but not others, when some of us are “essential” and others are not, when some of us can breathe free while others cannot, when some of us can travel, but others cannot, when some of us can work or go to school without restriction, while others cannot, are we free to pursue happiness? Have we declared our independence? Instead of looking wistfully at us from behind a glass aquarium wall in captivity, perhaps a wild dolphin observes us looking at him wistfully… wishing we too were on the other side of captivity.

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