5/31/2007

She Asked "Are You Happy?"

I don't think anyone has asked me that question since I was barely more than a toddler and back then I didn't comprehend the question. She said that the things I write and the way I carry myself say to her that I am, at my deepest, very sad. I don't know about that but she is right insomuch as I am certainly not happy but what she didn't seem to understand is that unhappiness is sometimes by design.

Happy is what you get when you have nothing to struggle over. Happy is the way one can only be with one's eyes closed. Happiness is ignorance, feeling safe in a world that offers no safety. People's lives wither in the pursuit of happiness. Happy people have nothing to fight for, nothing to strive towards, no seed of discontent to drive them forward. All the greatest people have been, at their deepest, incomplete. Alexander the Great, Socrates, Napoleon, Mark Twain, Ayn Rand, Martin Luther King Jr., Van Gogh, Nietzsche, Marconi, Einstein, Marx, the Wright Brothers, Neil Armstrong, Lance Armstrong, Muhammad Ali, Emile Durkheim, Orson Welles, Susan B. Anthony, Christopher Columbus, Thomas Aquinas, all had an axe to grind. There is something innately pathological about greatness. None of the people behind the engine of history have been, at their core, happy. Indeed, they may not have been capable of the emotion. It may not have been part of their being and this is part of why they fought and strove and risked and made a part of the world over in their image.

I am not so much of an egomaniac as to suggest that I am on the level of any of these people but I do know that I am not fodder and that I will never be content to be part of the vulgar mass. In the words of Bob Fosse "My friends know that to me happiness is when I am merely miserable and not suicidal." Happiness is settling. Happiness is blindness, powerlessness, hopelessness. Happiness is mediocrity. Happiness is surrender.

No, I'm not happy and I don't ever want to be.

2 comments:

Peety said...

Pffffff n- Happiness only last for brief moments as SADNESS and ANGER are waiting around the corner..

*hugs* Wishing you a wonderful Sunday!!

xoxo

Peony said...

She asked if you were happy, not if you were content. Happy is characterized by the feeling of good fortune; of having or demonstrating pleasure or satisfaction. Content is not desiring more than what one has now or being resigned to circumstances. She knows you will never be content, it's not in your nature. You are a seeker. But she wishes you happiness, the understanding of pleasure and satisfaction. To quote Edith Wharton: "In spite of illness, in spite even of the archenemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways."

She may not have asked, but she wondered every single day.