Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Grass Is Only Spray-painted Greener

  So, I've long had a theory that the guy who forever messed up the human race's chances of being happy was the caveman who first thought, "Hmm, maybe life can be easier than this." Because, if you think about it, the cavemen had a pretty decent life. Eat, drink, sleep, breed, survive. When you are trying to survive, you can't afford to think about how your life can be better. Of course, the guy who first did screwed over everyone else, because now their existence was bittersweet, paling in comparison to whatever it was that they had imagined as better. This is why I define true happiness as, "The absence of a vision of a better life or of desire for said vision." Seldom do people not have desire for a better life if they can imagine one, so this usually reduces to, "The absence of a vision of a better life." 
  This can be demonstrated in real life. We've all heard about societies in mountains, secluded from everyone else, cut off from contact with the rest of the world, in despicable poverty and inconceivable distress, but completely happy because they cannot conceive of the idea that life could be better than this. I can also turn to literature: Macbeth, one of Shakespeare's most famous tragedies, provides a perfect example of this definition of happiness. At the outset of the play, Macbeth has just single-handedly beat down a rebellion and won a war, and he comes back to his hometown and exults in the praise of King Duncan. He seems happy... until, that is, the three witches plant the idea of being king in Macbeth's mind. From then on, the rest of the play is just documentation of his emotional entropy, his slow disintegration and descent into paranoia, insanity, and death. 
  Of course, this idea isn't new. This is what Buddhism says; if one has no desire for anything, one can be perfectly happy. I've come to the conclusion, however, that it's impossible for humans to not desire something that seems like it will make one happier; this is why the act of wanting to be happy will never lead to happiness. This is why ignorance is bliss; if someone thinks that their life is the best it can be, despite the fact that it can never be so, then they will be happy. The grass, indeed, is never greener; it only seems like it is from far away enough. So, if you want your children to be happy, send them into the mountains to fend for themselves before they are old to enough to have any conception of any other type of lifestyle. It's the only way to happiness.

Caveman with big club

- Adarsh Nednur

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  1. No. You're missing something, there is more to this. I can't put my finger on it because I have not yet ventured that far yet, but I feel it in my bones. Take it farther, immerse yourself in this--if you're brave, that is >:D

  2. To Julia: Thank you. : D
    To Indigo: The one problem I can see with this post's argument is that it might indeed be possible to have a conception of a "better" life and not desire it if you learn how to define your life by new criteria and therefore consider it best. For example, someone in despicable poverty might know of people who are rich, but not want their life because they value their loving family most and know that money would distance their family. Perhaps that's what's bothering you? If so, I can concede that.
    - Adarsh