Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of
one’s values. If a man values productive work, his happiness is the measure of
his success in the service of his life. But if a man values destruction, like a
sadist—or self-torture, like a masochist—or life beyond the grave, like a
mystic—or mindless “kicks,” like the driver of a hotrod car—his alleged
happiness is the measure of his success in the service of his own destruction.
It must be added that the emotional state of all those irrationalists cannot be
properly designated as happiness or even as pleasure: it is merely a moment’s
relief from their chronic state of terror.
Neither life nor happiness can be achieved by the pursuit of irrational whims.
Just as man is free to attempt to survive by any random means, as a parasite, a
moocher or a looter, but not free to succeed at it beyond the range of the
moment—so he is free to seek his happiness in any irrational fraud, any whim,
any delusion, any mindless escape from reality, but not free to succeed at it
beyond the range of the moment nor to escape the consequences.