Feb 4th, 2003, 10:42 AM
A new definition of happiness
The words come to me now, but the principle predates them.
I've come to realize that living a good life, and being happy isn't the goal I've come to desire. Because of this, I now put to words what I've resolved from a long period of introspection. Because this is a very informal draft, it's format might not be the best I can do, and at times it might come full circle or repeat itself. I apologize in advance for this. Same goes for any strange English I might resort to, for I am not as erudite in this language as what I'm going to attempt to describe might require. I also warn that this is probably going to be long, although I am not certain how long exactly at this point. I'm said to be boring-to-tears wordy. Also, what I'm going to say might sound completely obvious to you. I can't help it if I'm discovering what you've left behind long ago, so bear with me. If you're looking for an opportunity to scorn or make jokes, I cannot stop you from doing so, but I am not actively trying to present such opportunity. In other words, this is what little I consider actually important in life, and I present it to you in hope you'll treat it with a degree of respect, even in the context of I-mockery.
I don't know where to begin.
For some time now, I've come to think the definition of 'happiness' to be lacking. The short glimpses of euphoria I've experienced at times in my life, I've always felt to not be deserving to be called a reason to exist. To strive for those brief emotional interludes seemed like too much trouble for too less of a profit. It became apparent that my continued existence needed a much more essential goal. I've tried to pursue something that could be described as 'love' and I've tried to find an end in serving Reason. Both, while presenting some interesting insights - I could not lie to myself - were not what my... inner sense of direction? I'm not certain... my driving ambition, anima, soul, whatever one calls it, yearned. This instinct, while not strictly orthological -in fact, I think many Hardcore materialists would laugh at me for resorting to souls- I cannot disregard. It may be another social construction or resort to 'faith', but I rest safe in the knowledge that it doesn't seem so, mainly because it doesn't seem to comply with what society wants me to be, so it's influence lies elsewhere. That's currently good enough for me.
Then I considered the joy of creation. Artistic creation has always been very important to me, and I've thought it to be a source of happiness. However, after inspection, I found that happiness to not be exactly that; Meaning that after a long, frustrating session of say, musical composition, I was many times left tired, spent, not at all accomplished. Not happy. But there was this feeling inside me, that substantiated my existence. That feeling, while not actually putting me in the well-known state of momentary drug-like euphoria of an unexpected kiss or a moment of emotional connection in a very awkward way, dignified my existence, like a stern tutor, berating and praising at the same time. It is a difficult thing to explain. I can only hope you've felt it. This feeling, which lacks a name to the best of my knowledge I've found to be my goal in life. But not as a junkie, creating things to get his fix of pleasant punishment, but rather so as to know that I am here, I exist and do.
There's a semiotic value into taking nothing and making into a recognizable something. There's an unmistakable dignity - I risk the ethical judgment - in that process that can not be liked to say, going out with your friends to party. Both feel good, but not in the same way. This, a more substantial happiness at this moment remains my goal, and I strive to serve it with all the talents my biological make-up and social upbringing have imbued in me. The awareness of one's own self in the something that he separates from himself is much more than just a reward to yearn. It is the reason to be. One can be bordering at the verge of depravity, or he could be inhumanly detached, but still serve this end. It is I can say, the a priori definition of being self-aware . When you create something, you are essentially creating another pair of eyes that stare right back inside you, and for the first time, you glimpse fragments of what could be your true self. Your technical skill and your maturity might help or hinder the eyesight of those eyes, but one immediately knows the truth in the process. We've been used to live in such mediocrity that when something so substantial occurs, the difference is of such startling proportions, one knows he's stumbled on to something that could be true.
Remember how some songs, or works of art, after a long time (or for others immediately), seem to merge with your person to such a degree it no longer matters who originally made them? You are making them your own. I believe this is because we instinctively(?) realize the truthfulness of the purpose of that piece of art, and it cuts to our soul through the haze of terrible uncertainty that is life. I think Inspiration is this effect. When you recognize something that stems from this.. this process of belief, and you gather the resolve to set out on the same path. Many people listen to music with their only criteria being the melodic value, the 'catchyness' of a melody, and it's not in me to judge them as simple, but there seems to be something deeper in the process than that. Something on a whole different level. Maybe there's some cognition between what the complexity of your true self, ambition, drive, is and the kind of art one relates to. It's a dangerous assumption to make for many reasons, but possibly true. In any case, I'm in the position to say and believe that Creation is much more that feelings expressed. Art is not means to and end, it is an end in itself Not the only end, but a very important one.
In the forms that I think I see now, world is a canvas so to speak. I've come to realize that many of my political and ethical beliefs do not seem to be able to coexist with this creation-based point of view. This is an issue I cannot resolve at this time, although I'm trying. It still seems important to me to be able to serve my end in creation, and still keep my morality. If that's my pavlovian programming, or something more substantial I cannot tell at this time time, but I hope for the latter. This doesn't say much, though.
That's it, more or less. I'm not exactly certain why I want to discuss this.