The Happines Game



Happiness is a mind state for which I have limited experience. I have not encountered a lot of happy people. I’ve encountered a lot of fear. I’ve encountered the pained exaggerated smiles of marionettes on display but happiness is something I see more often in children and dogs than I do in other grownups. I have been happy but happiness is elusive and fleeting it cannot be held down or fabricated. I have never succeeded in purchasing happiness and I have certainly never imbibed a substance that has achieved that state in an authentic way. We are not meant to be happy all the time. Call me insane but I wouldn’t even want to be happy all the time. I believe we are able to experience happiness because of the contrast. Part of living, perhaps even the reason for living itself is experience, growth, evolution. Part of what is wrong with society is that we spend so much time trying to create happiness that we alienate ourselves from any genuine emotional experience.


I mean no offense whatsoever in saying this, as I myself suffer with mental illness, but I believe that many of our neuroses evolve from the unnatural way in which we now live. The work we do nowadays is often abstract. We create services and products that are essentially unnecessary and sometimes even harmful to life. Working from the land you know precisely what you’re doing and why each component in the process is essential. Dealing with the bureaucracy of a modern society could push anyone off the deep end. Life is no longer intuitive or instinctive, we live in constructed realities doing seemingly arbitrary things so that we can acquire a wealth of mind numbing, soul depleting items. Some of us, myself included, are simply unable to reconcile the way we are expected to live our lives with our heart’s directives.


Humans are social creatures but achieving a sense of connection is difficult when our link to nature is severed. Society hasn’t brought us closer I think it has done precisely the opposite I think it has made us afraid of each other. We are so busy assimilating veils and labels we have no concept of who or what lies beneath them.


For me one of the greatest epiphanies in my relations with others was to let go of my expectations. I don’t assume that someone is bad or good only that they are human. The moment I stopped looking at other people as a potential threat I started to see their struggles, fears, their hearts which explained the behaviors which I had found before completely incomprehensible and sometimes even disgusting. This is quite easy to do one on one but I am still unable to look at people in authority objectively and humans in a herd still frighten me. I am all for people working synergistically and harmoniously I find it quite beautiful in villages where they freely share their possessions and raise their children together as a family. My problem is with more modern lifestyles. Though we live practically piled on top of each other I feel little sense of community (sometimes I do). All I see is fear and in my mind fear is a precursor to hate and violence. There seems to be this intense fear of being taken advantage of and thus generosity has become associated with naivete and weakness. Sam has all these humanitarian projects in mind. He’s discussed these projects with his coworkers but they are unable to fathom work that does not provide monetary incentive. Sam and I will never be rich but I don’t think it is always the poor that live on their knees.


I have immense trouble with the concept of work as it is presently conceptualized. Slaving away mindlessly at the expense of the environment and other people for money. I want to work on an organic vegetable farm something where I feel good about the labor I am engaged in.


Though I was somewhat offended at the time, Sam postulated that I might be getting sick so much because I have spent so much time indoors lately. At the time I thought he was an unsympathetic bastard and I felt a little persecuted but I always consider what’s said to me as if it contained wisdom. I decided that he is probably right I have spent a lot of time indoors, online, inactive. Most of our illnesses come from poor circulation so I believe and I am thinking I need to toughen up. Old Swedish people go swimming when I perceive it as jacket wearing weather. There is a robustness there that we just don’t posses anymore and I don’t believe it is a case of self-destructive unreasonable stubbornness. Yes they are tough but they are not really bothered by the arctic temperature of the water quite the opposite looking at their contented smiles I am pretty sure they are actually enjoying themselves. It pains me to say this but I think I might actually be a wimp. While I don’t abhor the idea of spending all day in the forest (not at all it sounds amazing) there are other ways in which I have come to underestimate and insulate myself.


I have been looking at my Depression in the wrong way. I keep thinking that I have to become normal. That I have to join society but that may not be the case. Certainly I have to work with certain parts of society if I am to live in the city and in this time line but I don’t have to become someone else entirely. I have to A) Stop running from myself B) Let love in C) Move in accordance with the Tao D) Rejoin nature. I am an animal and I am fucking proud of it. No I don’t intend to move into the forest at least not yet but I don’t have to turn my back on the world just because I am against some of the constructs we’ve generated. I am naturally moral so while I may act oddly at times I am not a criminal. I don’t have to consciously remind myself not to kill or rape because that goes against my nature. Seriously we know how to treat each other already. I think society’s laws and guilt create crimes and villains. Are there overly opportunistic people out there? Of course and ironically those are the people we give all the power and money to, comes back to that fear thing. Which is probably why I can’t totally shake my mistrust of authorities.


I realize I am rambling but it seems to me that the key to happiness or at least contentment is in reconnecting, reaching out, and gratitude. It is not about creating safety nets, cocoons, or personas. I think gratitude comes in having to work for what you possess, in the earning and laboring stage. While you can achieve a sense of gratitude even if you are unable to work I do think it helps when you’ve had to fight a little.


As a parent sometimes I feel all I say is no and sometimes I don’t even understand why I have to say no because some things seem so damn obvious. One of the hardest things I am finding to get across is cause and effect. For some reason Isadora doesn’t see that her behavior results in certain outcomes. If she runs top speed into the wall, she blames the collision on the wall (never mind the wall is inanimate and can’t dodge). How many of us still do that? I realize I do it quite a lot. Cause and effect is really hard to grasp in an artificial world. Now I am not saying it was better in the past our experiences are largely based on perception. I am not saying give up all your possessions and run naked into the forest. I am not saying that all of our great technological advancements are bad either. We’ve done some amazing things, human ingenuity is truly impressive. I am not saying we need to live hand to mouth or in some dogged day to day ritual. Part of being human is to express and create even cavemen embraced that and I am pretty sure they had more than their share of challenges. What I am saying is that humans are confused and I think modern society is isolating at times. I am saying there are paradoxes., that nothing is good or bad, it just is plain and simple. I am basically saying we have the answers inside, we know who we are already, the universe is not a soul-raping monster, we are not monsters either. I guess I am saying live and be. Understand that you don’t and can’t control everything and that makes the ride a lot more fun. Life is happening now no matter what you are waiting for, it doesn’t begin after you get everything you want don’t confuse it with death.


8 responses

  1. So much thought in this, so many themes. I can definitely relate re work having spent over twenty years doing something which is essentially just to support other functions, and often obliquely at best. My peace with work has come from determining that whatever I do will be honorable,and where it is within my power, it will cause no harm and hopefully help others. That is how I find worth I something I see as intrinsically absurd , my job. 🙂

    • That is an excellent way of perceiving it Helen =) For me because my hobby is so abstract emotional and mental I need a more physical job to ground and balance me. A job that forces me to be present and in the world because I am so much in my head the rest of the day

  2. This post really speaks to me. I loved the way you said “I am naturally moral so while I may act oddly at times I am not a criminal.” I believe this is something society forgets in a lot of people these days, for any reason at all. For example, some of my coworkers get annoyed with the customers we help when they are computer-illiterate. Though sometimes, it even happens vice-versa when our customers think we are ignorant when we are having a hard time troubleshooting problems. It’s sad to say that there are times when we aren’t together as a community, and probably one of the most bitter parts about being an adult. There are so much more expectations, though in a way; it does help us learn how to grow as humans. Pain and suffering is beautiful, that’s for sure.

    • I think so to and that is pretty sad =( I think suffering is necessary too we need to be challenged to grow unfortunately I am have the frustration tolerance of a very small child which is something I need to work on

  3. You know the basic reason why we enjoy happiness when it happens s because it only happens that way. If you were eternally happy after a while you would stop appreciating it and probably because we are human want something else. you are so right in saying how happiness is achieved. We do have to connect with people, we do have to be grateful for what they do for us and say so from time to time. Life is a hard gig sometimes, but it works ok i think when we are in touch with those around us and the world we live in. Great post Yves.

      • Every time I think about happiness I am reminded of a Larson cartoon.
        There is a store with HAPPINESS written across the front. A man is leaving the store with a package under his arm.
        The caption under the cartoon reads I think: Carson could never understand why people didn’t think you could buy it.

        For some reason I have always found that funny. Maybe it’s the Irish in me.

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