HOW DARE WE CALL OURSELVES HAPPY?

FMC 2006 004

          “And they lived happily ever after.” – this sentence most irritating haunted me for a good portion of my early life, and even today carries a feeling of hopelessness. ‘First of all’, said the young me, ‘if they really did live happy and long lives together, then I want to hear all about it! Why stop the narrative in the most interesting moment? There would be so much to learn from people who know how to make their happiness last. Second, no, they did not live happy forever! There must have been many sad or even tragic events in their futures,’ which is exactly why the author had chosen to cut it short with this shapely, critically-acclaimed lie of a sentence.

          Even if I had it all – all the material possessions I ever wanted, a happy and healthy family, a great education, knowledge or understanding of our universe, I would not dare to call myself happy for one simple reason – it would make me feel awfully ashamed. In the current state of affairs, one person’s happiness is determined by another’s misery. How could I ever live happily knowing that there are millions of people starving, being killed, raped or mugged because of my ever increasing “needs”. I do not need five cars, two fridges and seven bathrooms, but there are people who need food, water or a place to call home. You will now think: ‘But this is the way it is and we are trying our best to change that, by sending help to poor parts of the planet.”  or “You can’t change nature/the world!”  I agree that it is currently the natural way things are, but you cannot possibly call it normal. There is nothing normal about people shooting each other on the streets nor is a stolen princess, religion, oil, territory or influence a reasonable motive to take away a life. The only rational purpose of killing another human being would be to protect yourself from them in the case they threaten to cause harm. This fact is, of course, being used by our military and political leaders, who put innocent people on a battlefields, where they suddenly find themselves surrounded by people threatening to kill them. We are also very far from doing our best in order to bring positive change to our civilization. Sending food, providing medical care and establishing educational institutions to the Third World only covers up the stench of death. We need to address the very roots of their misery, which as I believe would in many cases bring us straight back to our doorstep.

All happiness is a chance encounter and at every moment presents itself to you like a beggar by the roadside. – André Gide

          We cannot be free of misery in all its entirety for as long as we are subject to pain and death. There is no “happily ever after” but instead a series of “happilies every now and then” followed by long periods of indifference, sadness, grief and suffering. Instead of striving for the currently unreachable ideals, we should be working our brains out to achieve a state in which there are more “happilies“, where they last longer, and above all, where there is less pain and death.

          I dare not call myself happy. I would be ashamed of being a hypocrite.

Daily Prompt: Happily Ever After  – dailypost.wordpress.com

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13 thoughts on “HOW DARE WE CALL OURSELVES HAPPY?

  1. Pingback: To Be Happily Ever After You Must Be Happily Ever Before. | The Jittery Goat

  2. I like your point of view and that of André Gide. I don’t think that normality has anything to do with what is ethically correct however, I view normal as being a bit like a scientific law – it is simply something that has been observed to happen at predictable intervals over a given period of time within certain limits of perception. I also don’t think that you would be a hypocrite if you declare yourself happy, after all, it would only be for a moment.

  3. Pingback: Getting A Happy Ending – A Daily Prompt Post | Edward Hotspur

  4. Thought provoking post, Demosthenes. Could you elaborate on this: “We need to address the very roots of their misery, which as I believe would in many cases bring us straight back to our doorstep.” I am interested in seeing where it might go, and where is our doorstep? Do you have a country, or a group of countries in mind?

    • I surely will elaborate on that in a post whenever i find the time to put more than 10 words together, but for now I will only provoke more thoughts. You are probably unaware of the fact that many developed countries like USA or France buy land in order to produce food for their citizens from other countries where food has become a luxury. In other words, there is not enough food being produced to feed the wasteful developed economies, so what they do is become richer at the cost of the poorest.

  5. I will admit you are an intelligent well- spoken individual and I am way out of my legal, I suppose, but what good is it to live Miserably ever after? If you are in a position to help ( and most of us could do more) then help. Is it possibly to change the whole world? I really don’t know.
    I will not sit miserably on my high-horse and refuse to be happy when there is a chance of happiness to be had. If I can make someone else happy all that much better. I will also feel misery when that is appropriate. I think what you are saying is that you can’t live in a perpetual state of happiness and that I would agree with. Who can?
    I enjoyed your post as it gives the old noggin’ something to think about.

    • Thank you!

      There is absolutely no point in living miserably forever after just as there is no point in pretending to be an endless spring of joy. I do not reject any of the positive emotions and lock myself in a little dark room called Putrefaction, I do, however, think that over-excitement or exaggerated displays of one’s fortune are of very little use. So are, as the matter of fact, displays of misery. We all have both the good and the bad in our lives and it seems like we have done a damn good job at surviving until tonight, so why don’t we just stop for a minute, observe, and make reasonable conclusions. Making others happy is a very enjoyable activity, but we must remember how important is what we do in order to achieve that. If you make a person feel better by telling them a bunch of lies and then make them believe that what you are saying is true, then I do not care how ecstatic they feel – what you did was wrong.

      Of course you don’t know if it’s possible to change the world. Nobody does! But that is the wrong question. The right one would be HOW to change it.

      • Going to be honest with you, not sure how take your response. I will take it in the best light. I never condone lying and I do think you should try and change things you can. The question was rhetorical, thought that was understood, sorry I was not more clear. Can a question be wrong? Cannot the question can I change the world lead you to ask HOW can I change the world?

    • Oh, please take me in the worst light possible! That creates discussion and progress! :)

      See, the problem of rhetorical questions is that they are.. uhm.. rhetorical! They either do not require an answer (how very useless of the question – make it a statement then!) or the answer is presumed to be well-known (how silly yet again, what if the person you are talking to does not have a clue or, for this matter, the “accepted answer” is wrong) Going further, yes, a question may be wrong, but that depends on what you mean by “wrong”. I used it, and now I see I should have made it more clear, in terms of its usefulness. Of course your question MAY lead to the one proposed by myself, but does it really? If you ask random people: “Is it possible to change the entire world?” I can assure you the answers you will most probably hear would range between: “Not in a hundred years!”, “What a silly question! Of course not.” and “Pffft.” But if you ask: “HOW would you change the world to make it a better place?” you might just get the odd “Oh, I dunno…” and that’s good! They’ve just admitted they aren’t certain and, presumably, willing to make their brain twist and crack to get some ideas running.

      • I am not much of a debater it seems. Not sure I like being called silly and I withdraw my questions. I am kinda silly, but I prefer to be silly on my silly blog and not when I’m not trying to be silly, which is probably silly. I do promise that from now on I will take things in the worst possible light, get into arguments that I’ll lose, and then go off to read blogs where I actually make sense or nonsense ,whatever the case may be. Progress maybe slow, but I am sure of finding people who will tell me lies and make me happy. I am not at all certain about anymore brain twisting, as mine can only take so much.My ideas have just run out the door..so, gotta go and try to catch them.

    • Oh dear! I am sorry I made you feel silly! I never, ever meant to! It was not you, who invented the idea of rhetorical questions, nor are you the only one to use them. I’ve used them way too many times myself! Silliness is, however, what people like and no one should be blamed for doing what everyone else is doing – using what is given to us to make ourselves feel good! Yet I am afraid you have stumbled upon The Allies of Reason | The Notions You Love To Ignore “Where you read what you do not like to read.”

      You have made tons of sense on this blog, as I am sure you make everywhere else, and in fact you have been pretty inspiring too! Just drafting a post on questions, rights and wrongs as my eyes shut down and my brain refuses to function. But if yours can take just a wee bit more twisting you are very welcome to come back, armed with an anti-alliesofreason shield. :)
      G’night!

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