The concept of happiness is a difficult one to define. There is no single idea of happiness that rings true for everybody. Its term is multifaceted in both its application and its construction. It’s a malleable word, amorphous in structure, without solid roots.
And yet, un-funnily enough, we all just want to be happy; almost in spite of not having the slightest clue as to what happiness really is.
I mean; the pursuit of happiness drives us. It’s even woven into some of our fucking constitutions: “Each man is free in his pursuit to happiness.”
And so say all of us!
We want to nurture happy families, so we can go off and play with our happy friends, make happy babies, work to earn money so that we can buy things that make us happy.
Happy, happy, happy.
For a term that’s so damned ambiguous, it causes a helluva lot of ruckus in our civil spheres. It is what drives the civil human. It is what we seek. It is the eye of our desire, and without it, the heart of our despair.
It is the cheese that keeps we human ones trapped in the mouse wheel.
But if we don’t even understand what it is that truly makes us happy, what the fuck are we actually pursuing?
Most of us, many of us… at least some of us, have a fairly strong grasp over what it is that makes us, the individuals that we are, happy. Common answers are (from all the research I did): Going on a holiday. Spending time with loved ones. Laughing with friends. Drinking fine champagne. Drinking and dining at a fancy pants bar. Drinking and dining at a dive bar. Exercising. Keeping fit. Buying shoes. Buying bags. Buying “stuff.” Developing cover boy or girl bodies. *Insert your preference*
But I think some of us, many of us… probably most of us, have got this whole “this is what makes me happy” gig completely wrong.
Perhaps I’m just too simple a fella, living in too complicated a world, but to me, what is most inclined to bring about this abstruse thing we loosely refer to as happiness, is the stuff that’s related to, not our civil, socially contrived forms, but our inner animal.
To me, happiness is directly correlated with satisfying our most basic instincts:
Good sleep. Good food. Good sex. And last, but perhaps most importantly – Love (or, for the more practical of you – camaraderie).
Think about it, my dear reader friends. Think about the times in your life when you’ve felt most “happy.”
I bet you’ll find that you probably weren’t doing anything particularly fancy. You probably weren’t spending lots of money on fancy clothes, or alone, swimming in your piles of money. You were probably with a bunch of closely-knit friends, eating nice (healthy) food, laughing, joking, and loving, after a brilliant night’s sleep, and, perhaps, just before a brilliant night’s romp-a-pomp.
To me, happiness doesn’t need to be complicated. It’s we who complicate it. All that it demands is a presence of mind (or rather, an absence of mind… but that’s a whole different discussion), people whom you love and care about, and buxom foods.
The issue I have with what I’ll for the sake of convenience call “quick fix happiness” is that it leaves us in want.
Sure, fundamentally, happiness is little more than a chemical reaction, transpiring, coursing and soaring through our bodies. There are millions of ways to acquire this quick fix. It’s essentially what our heavily consumerist, modern, civil culture is built around.
But this “quick fix happiness” isn’t sustainable. It’s like an itch – the more you scratch it, the more sonorous its call. The more you dig at it, the deeper its hole. In this way, happiness is almost an addiction. Something to relieve. Something to feed. Something that is perpetually in need.
Some might say: “yeah, well that’s life, buster. We need something to do with our time, don’t we? Why not live in pursuit of that next endorphin rush? Of that next hit? Searching, yearning, burning for that blissful chemical release.”
And sure, perhaps that works for some people. But for people like me, who don’t get much pleasure from accomplishments, or acquisitions, or material gain, there’s a better solution. A simpler solution. A more rewarding solution.
The solution: To live more natural, animalistic lives.
To filter out the hubbub and clutter shrouding the laughing, and the joking, and the friendship, and the exercising, and all of the other primitive-like rituals that we sometimes take for granted: The aforementioned, raw, natural stuff that’s often drowned out in the modern man’s wave of white noise.
Obviously, this calls for a far vaster discussion, and I’ve barely scratched the surface. But if you were to also titillate the cockles of curiosity buried deep in my cold, black, weird heart, what would you, dear readers, have to say on the matter?