Why be happy when you could be interesting?
appiness is a quality we want to see in those around us, with everyone all smiles in a row as if they were in an
infomercial selling, no doubt, “happiness”. Such a vision is often good for our sentimental hearts—especially your sentimental heart, dear
reader, who is no doubt prepared to defend it from any assailant. It is pleasant to be witness to a natural child-like gayety in those around us,
which, but for a moment, isn’t always dependent on the constant syphoning of happiness from anyone other than themselves.
The rest of the story needs no running commentary. Happiness is our largest commodity; and every corporation, every brand, every service exists to
fulfill their marketing promises so as to make our lives a little easier, a little happier, supplying our demand for happiness, further enabling our
servility to satiation and the apathy it all entails, that we willingly open our wallet and give whatever little coin we have to find it.
But, thankfully for us, not everyone on God’s blue and brown earth directs their core purpose into a base desire for comfort and convenience as
those who quest for happiness do. Out there, beyond the mediocrity, beyond the spirit of the lazy age, there are some who possess a more
discriminating taste, who while they no less find themselves happy every now and again, never place happiness at the forefront of their goals, seeking
less common, less mediocre and less plebeian forms of entertainment to bide their time.
In the more “civilized” cultures, the ideal of achieving happiness has become an insipid truism, which works well on a populous who finds no need
to inquire any further than what they’re told. For the present, the notion of happiness is a paradoxically homogenous ideal, as if a dusty old
marketing committee took every laugh, smile, and pleasurable feeling they could find, regardless of where they came from, and blended them up into a
sort of foamy, smooth, and light substance of which there is little deviation, only to present it to a mob of underpaid product testers as they just
were about to leave for lunch. “Here,” they are wont to say, “ is happiness”—devouring it as pigs to a trough.
How colorful, how soft, how eternal “happiness” seems to be as they sell it in every commercial. But anyone with an elementary education might
understand that the term “happy” is an advective, which, if we can still remember our grammar, is a word used to describe or otherwise modify a
noun. In the case of this particular adjective’s usage, “happy” almost cheerfully describes or otherwise rhetorically modifies physical beings
that appear to us in a certain way. For some reason, this description, as opposed to any other description, became something of a virtue in the hearts
of extremely pious individuals, and has come to see this state of being as not a being in a state, but as some sort of divine spiritual reward
available to everyone, albeit with a somewhat hefty price-tag.
Because of a limited vocabulary, and since we find difficulty articulating the world into our words, it has become linguistically convenient to add
the suffix “ness” to this and other adjectives of the same sort, for the sole purpose of building out of the bricks of our subjective solipsism an
“essence” of the thing we perceive, in order so that we can project them onto others. By shoehorning what little we can perceive of the being into
our idealism, we, in a sense, make some sense of it. This subtle linguistic trick crystallizes a mere description of a thing into a thing itself,
magically making the appearance of something into no longer an appearance, but something other than an appearance, a full-fledged abstract noun formed
out of a subjective interpretation of a concrete thing—namely, a “quality” or “state”—two terms that have always seemed to sneak under the
philosophical radar unassumingly.
Many qualities and states of the same make and cast, i.e. consciousness, healthiness, awareness, greatness, redness and so on (note the over-abundant
use of the suffix “ness”—their “ness-ness” we might call it), were obviously once words describing things. But as they stand in our paltry
minds now, they are spoken about as if they had a substantive nature, and worse, are even postulated to exist beyond the noun they were once used to
describe. It’s beautiful! But dear reader—and I know you are an inquisitive reader who is interested in paradoxes—it is no wonder that when we
attempt to articulate these supposedly existent somethings, that nothing at all ever ends up being described at all. Never has a quality existed apart
from that which displays it, but nonetheless, people still search longingly for the quality of happiness, imagining it to be something attainable,
when in reality, no such something besides that which displayed the quality in the first place exists to be attained.
It seems quite apparent to me happiness is not a thing to seek, find, sell, nor strive for, as it is not a thing at all, and people might stop
pretending to dole it out when they really have nothing better to offer. It is, even with its idealists dress, the descriptive word we all know and
love, lacking all “nounal-ness” (if I am allowed to coin a word), despite whatever suffix we add to it. This can be confirmed with simple
intuition. Any noun can be described by an adjective, but can happiness be happy? Can consciousness be conscious? Can redness be red? …and other
Beyond the over-simplifying of happiness, it is further purported that everyone—yes, even us seemingly incapable of it—wants this ideal so deeply
that we knowingly or unknowingly go after it. But as we can witness simply by opening our eyes and ears (sometimes even closing them), the
all-too-common idea that everyone wants happiness is so much piffle and poppycock. People do not even know what happiness is, let alone that they want
it. Of course, this is due to the undeniable fact that every “happiness” is different, because, quite simply, every being displaying happiness is
different, no two of them occupying the same place at the same time, equipped with different bodies, different hormones, different experiences,
memories and tastes. And no spiritual alchemist can simply bottle happiness and sell it through some mean and crude formula as many propose to be able
to do. Happiness for one is not happiness for another—any masochist will tell you this. Further, an entire breed of people forgo happiness
altogether for more refined aims, for instance the struggling artist or the tortured novelist. We have even witnessed self-immolation, with all
chances of happiness disappearing as soon as that match is lit.
Besides, what happens when everyone attains this homogenous happiness? Pure unadulterated boredom, that’s what—the loss of more refined tastes to
a more ordinary, middle-of-the-road type of rabble rousing, that seeks to pave us all down into something smooth and similar and same—“greatest
happiness for the greatest number”. We can see through the fruits of pop-culture that this might not be in our best interests.
edit on 16-8-2014 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)