Sunday, April 18, 2004

The quest

"I shall not speak, I shall think about nothing:
But endless love will mount in my soul;
And I shall travel far, very far, like a gipsy,
Through the countryside - as happy as if I were with a woman."


Arthur Rimbaud, "Sensation" (you can read the whole poem here)


"as happy as if I were with a woman"... if we think happiness (capital H? probably) is a state characterirazed by the total absence of sorrow, the so called happy moments are moments in wich we forget about everybody else in the planet that is not as lucky as we are - because of injustice, hunger, frustration, etc. - and concentrate only in the pleasing things around us. Happiness understood like that goes hand in hand with egoism, since happiness is incompatible with other people suffering.

However we can define happiness as a complete understanding and acceptation of what we are and the kind of life that we are living. That is why most people say that they are more or less happy. But that is only because we are narrowing the concept of happiness, we are talking about being happy with one's life, in the same way that we could be talking about being happy with one's new computer or suit; in this case, in this closed system, it is just a matter of functionality.

Thus, there are two different concepts: Happiness (capital H this time for the sake of distinction) and being happy with someone/something. From above I refuse to try to achieve Happiness, since it implies forgetting the unhappy ones. But being happy with one's life... is it not worth commiting to? is it not (should it be not) the final goal of all our actions? Come to think of it, it seems like some sort of slavery: we are condemned to try to be happy with ourselves. That is precisely what consumism exploits: the advertisements try to convince us that to be happy we need to have the new X or drink Y. We have to be smarter than that.

It seems to me that only through reflection, determination and a strong will/commitment to be better persons and to accept what we cannot change we can be on the right track to be happy with ourselves.

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