There’s this John Lennon quote (misquoted probably) about how his goal in life was to be happy. Some of my friends, although unknown of The Beatles, also reply the same when I ask them. I understand that the ultimate goal of most of the humans would be to be happy. But sorry, it’s bullshit.
Firstly, what is happiness? How do you know you are happy? When people say ‘I’m happy’, I have an irresistible desire to punch them in the face. Happiness is a final state, not something that can be achieved by twenty-somethings cofounding a startup.
There is this school of thought which associates madness to happiness. To these retarded creatures, do you feel ‘happy’ posting crazy pics on Instagram? Sure spontaneity is joyous but is that permanent? Some optimists also have this quixotic dream of having a house in the hills or on the beach later in life. Please enlighten how that makes you happy, I’ll invest in Himachal right away. I am saying this despite being one of the most ardent fans of nature. And there is also a large chunk of people associating happiness with inactivity, or in modern times, ‘chill’.
I think we have been following the wrong ideal. The discourse in our generation has been mostly about romanticising happiness and degrading pleasure/joy. Pleasure is associated with everything primal, and happiness, with everything spiritual. I was always baffled what to answer when someone asked if I were happy. Umm, all the people I love are safe and I am in a good health, I should be happy. But happiness is a permanent state. And I am in a transient relationship with life, at least in these formative years. I do feel joyous though. When I resumed cooking after coming to Europe, I felt joy. When I travel and see new places, I feel joy. When I get a terrific insight or hit an ace, I feel joy. It is these and more moments of joy that I am striving for. And it pains me that these are dismissed as ephemerals.
No one can be permanently happy (except by spiritual enlightenment may be). People who love their jobs also love only a part of it, and the other part they endure, painfully or otherwise. It’s probably better to give up the much famed Pursuit of Happiness and instead look for the joys.
P.S. This article helped me in articulating my thoughts better.