Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Happiness For Dummies

Have you ever tried to resist an anesthetic? Let’s say it’s that wonderful moment in the five-year cycle in which you’re due for a colonoscopy. Your administered propofol. It’s like being hit by a 2x4 minus the pain. One moment you’re here and the next you’re out. Hypnotism is another matter. One way to avoid falling under the spell is simply to look somewhere else. What about happiness? Apart from opioids which literally deal with physical pain, is there a happy trance into which one can be placed, that doesn’t involve mood changing drugs--which create those highs that need to be “refreshed." Does happiness derive from developing a Panglossian view of the world? In other words, is it illusory? Pangloss famously mimics Leibnitz when he says “all’s for the best in the best of all possible worlds”—the sharp irony deriving from the fact that Candide was written in the shadow of the famous Lisbon earthquake of 1755 which leveled the city. Many people don’t cotton to entertainment which is dark say like Bergman’s Through A Glass Darkly. What is it they want out of art? The Power of Positive Thinking is piece of schlock psychology written by a snake oil salesman named Norman Vincent Peale. Still if you're a depressive there will undoubtedly be pressure from significant others to cheer up and put a skip in your step. Don’t cave in! If you hold to the dispiriting notion there’s no meaning in everything and that your death is no more significant than that of an ant (which is the truth), then stick to your guns and cry out to the impassive stars, "what does it all mean?"

read "Dr. Pangloss" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "Stubborn Kind of Fellow" by Marvin Gaye

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