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If contentment comes to people who believe the world is exactly as it should be, then people who have internalized the dogma of traditional religions should be the most contented people on Earth. And yet, it seems they are not. The Catholic church loads its believers with guilt for the very reason that they then need the church to absolve them of their guilt, so they can lead comfortable lives. Once everyone does what is necessary to be perfected in this way, then the world is as it should be and everyone will be content. Or there is the alternate Christian belief, the Protestant work ethic, which claims that worldly success is proof that they are God’s favored ones and therefore they must exert themselves to their uttermost to change what is before them to fit their conception. The atheists just toss the whole problem out, baby, bath water and all the gods too, but these people don’t seem any more content with the world for having done so. The Unitarians pretty much give up on the whole thing and just say respect people’s beliefs no matter how ridiculous they appear or how much trouble they bring to their holders.

Everyone feels they are right and that their religious group is superior to all the others, but none of them is conspicuously more contented with their lives than the others. There is a feeble correlation of happiness with education and income and that with liberal religious beliefs, but it is mostly an after effect of having more money. That comes with having more education which comes from having more mental ability and people who think more are compelled to observe others’ thoughts which they might not agree with. Smarter, educated, hard-working people get more stuff, if that’s what they want, than dumb, uneducated and lazy people. Because those smarter people feel they have surpassed others they feel happy about themselves, but that isn’t contentment. That feeling is limited to their personal accomplishments, whereas contentment is more generalized and covers the entire universe. A contented person is comfortable with the entire universe being just as it is, and this is not a static entity that is included in the concept, but a dynamic one. Thus, come what may, a truly contented person will go with it, participate in the happenings fully and thrive to the limits of their ability relative to their surroundings.

Contentment provides the emotions needed to live fully.

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