half my life i thought that growing up to be an academic, an intellectual, and a philosopher would give me a satisfaction i had always wanted. some kind of self-actualisation that i had not come into realising just yet, and could not at the time fully understand.
and now? now i realise that none of that is true. it is near impossible to be any of those things, and i certainly am none. and happiness? happiness is a fleeting emotion. one that only exists to counteract the presence of sadness. in fact, we could reduce the definition of such a thing to the absence of negative emotions, sadness included. i do not propose to promote the emo movements, and much less to start an existential war here, but some long-standing events have made me realise that happiness is not something you plan for. in an ideal world, i imagine one could live on the borderline of neutrality for all his or her life - and be none the wiser. but pragmatism dictates that we fluctuate between happy and sad states, and a subjective analysis of magnitudes might reveal that they cancel each other out, on an individual degree, to leave us such that any heightened emotion (of happiness or the opposite) is counteracted by it's polar emotion. and again, this is hopefully true for even the most dire or extravagant persons, from the queen of england, to the orphaned aids children in a third world country.
but how do we harness happiness, then? do we pursue a persistent (and often arbitrary) dream, such as my personal one of academia? do we escape into fantasy and worlds of fiction - in books and movies and video games and make belief? do we find solace in religion or inner peace or charity or abstinence? do we find it in others, in relationships, in love, in lust or in adoration?
who is to know - clearly not i, for 'i am nothing, not even an academic'*
p/s: the asterisked quote is from the book i have been a long time-coming reading and finally finished, dostoyevsky's 'the brother's karamazov'. such a heavy book, i cannot remember the beginning now that the end has finally passed into rear-view.
p/p/s: this post includes and is will spill into (at least emotionally) another - one of you, mon soliel.