Monday, December 1, 2008

Synthetic Happiness

I know it's not really everyone's bag, but:

There is one inspiring bit from this video that I'd like to highlight, and that is the ability of the human being to create its
own happiness. I have often wondered how people in the lowest circumstances manage to maintain a sunny
disposition, and it is clearly as Gilbert explains; we as humans change our perceptions to have a preference for what
we have to live with, but when the choice is open, or the possibility for change is open, then it becomes more
difficult to maintain complacency with the current life.
But it suggests something somewhat strange...That happiness is detrimental to progress. It reminds me of a Martha
Graham quote, though it applies more directly to the artist;
""No artist is pleased . . . there is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a strange, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps up marching and makes us more alive than the others." 
When are content, there is no reason to change or progress.  We are happy with who and what we are, so there is no need for improvement.  When I have the option to improve, I cannot be content with my current status as either a musician or human being.
Hopefully though, contentment is not the only happiness we can find on this planet.  Maybe there is happiness in motion; a happiness not built from the where we are, but where we are going.  Maybe I can be happy that I am constantly improving, that my mind is soaking up new things and person improving in all the ways it can.
I guess you could call it a "derivative happiness", in that we can be happy with the slope of our progress.  (oh God.... I just geeked out so hard there.)
Because, now that I think about it, I could never be happy being exactly where I am.  Truthfully, it's not bad, but I could never live in this body and this mind without wanting to improve them.
And yes, decisions may be the antithesis of happiness, but I never had a choice but to thirst for something greater.

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