The curse of too much happiness

February.5. 2018

Happiness is way overrated. What we think of as happiness is really an illusion.

Because as soon as you think you’ve found happiness, it’s gone and all you have is a need to find more happiness.

To understand how this works, think of our existence as basically being in one of three states at any one time.

Let’s call the first state ‘normal.’

Everyone knows what normal is.

It’s a state where nothing much is happening. And life just plods along in its boring mundane way. It’s a state where everything seems right and yet something is vaguely missing.

And so people in this state hunger for a little more excitement, for a little ‘happiness.’

Next, on one side of ‘normal,’ is a state which we might call the ‘negative’ state.

This is the state commonly experienced as unhappiness, sadness, misery, despair, or whatever you want to call it.

In this state, things are out of sync, out of alignment.

In its mildest form, you feel as if something is not right and in its most extreme manifestation, it’s a state of complete dysfunction, where nothing is right.

Then on the other side of ‘normal’ is the ‘positive’ state of mind.

This is what you might call the ‘happy’ state.

You feel uplifted, blissful and even euphoric.

And the main reason you feel this way is because you’ve not in the normal or negative states.

But this state is fleeting.

It exists only because of the existence of the other two states. Take away the ‘normal’ and ‘negative’ states and this ‘happy’ state has no meaning.

Why?

Because when you take away the other two states, the ‘happy’ state becomes the new ‘normal.’

And when it becomes the new ‘normal,’ it’s no longer a happy state anymore. It’s just the same boring mundane state of ‘normal.’

That’s why happiness is an illusion.

Because once you think you’ve found it, it loses its meaning, becomes a new ‘normal’ and then you’ll have to find yourself another new ‘happy’ state.

And therein lies the problem.

Especially in this great country where the ‘pursuit of happiness’ is enshrined as one of the basic tenets of our great civilization.

Judging from the endless pursuits to find happiness (or what some might call the latest thrills or highs), it looks like we’ve failed miserably.

But this perfectly underscores the point.

The pursuit of happiness is an exercise in futility.

The more you pursue it, the more elusive it becomes. And when you think you’ve found it, you realize you’re just looking at some fool’s gold.

And gold (real gold, not fool’s gold) is indeed a good metaphor for happiness.

Gold is precious because it’s rare.

If we find ourselves surrounded by gold one day, we’d quickly find that it’s lost its value and shine. (A mythical guy called Midas can attest to that fact.)

So what’s the point here?

There’s no such thing as happiness. In fact the more you have of it, the less you treasure it and the less it feels like happiness.

So too much happiness is a curse (like too much gold, as old Midas will also attest to.)

Instead of trying to find that magical place where all we have is ‘happiness,’ we should just enjoy it when it occurs and be thankful that it’s so rare.

Because a state of boundless ‘happiness’ is a frightening place to be.

It’s like living in a place where the sun is shining 365 days a year.

If you live in a place where you don’t get a lot of sunshine, that might sound like paradise to you, but for those who live in sunny climes, (like some places in Texas), rain is a precious commodity.

And people actually pray for rain.

So be thankful that the sun is not shining on you endlessly.

And that you’re not living in a state of perpetual ‘happiness.’ That would be a living hell.

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