I first read about the concept of the happy animal in a cage while reading Live on the Margin. It goes something like:
How can you tell if you are really happy? Even if you’re in a place you don’t like and you’re stuck doing something you don’t enjoy, you tend to make the best out of the worst. You eventually convince yourself that where you are and what you do is not so bad overall. You’re happy. You’re in a cage, because you’re unable or unwilling to change that situation, but you’re happy. Just like a happy animal in a cage.
The pursuit of happiness seems to be the ultimate goal of life. An animal in a cage can be very happy. But would it be even happier outside the cage? Maybe. It depends. But if you know what’s outside the cage, only then you have ground to make a fair comparison. If all you know is a cage… then a cage is the happiest place to be!
p.s. Last full day in St. Augustine, Florida tomorrow. Saturday we head south-west for a few hours. Haven’t decided exactly where yet.