Why be happy when you can be normal?

English: Emotions associated with happiness

This is the question Jeanette Winterson‘s mother  asks of  her after she  reveals that she is gay.

It’s a question that probably  a lot of  family members silently ask themselves when ever someone they love begins living a lifestyle that, in many ways, runs counter to the ‘normal‘ expectations held out for them.

After all, why would any parent want to see their child living  out a lifetime of prejudiced discrimination, all on account of something as easy to change as their sexuality?

When in comparison, a respected life  full of frustrated denial, would appear, on the surface, as being ‘oh so much better.’

Well if not  ‘oh so much better’ then at least a thousand degree’s closer to being normal…. right?

Wrong….. Wrong….. Wrong….. Wrong….. Wrong….. And…. Uh….. Once ……Again……..Wrong.

I’d say it’s  a pretty normal desire to want to live your life free of  prejudice and discrimination while going about the daily business of  following  your own personal hopes and dreams.

But if you’re not convinced by that, here are few other reasons why it’s wrong to equate normalcy with being happy.

Firstly, being normal isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

After all, the term ‘being normal’ in and of itself, requires that there also be an accompanying ‘abnormal’ somewhere out there.

So as far as coining a term for happiness goes, ‘being normal’ isn’t exactly a term that leads one on to assume limitless joy. Far from it.  Instead it leads one to automatically conjure up unpleasant images of it’s counterpart.

Secondly, being normal doesn’t necessarily prevent you from living a life free of frustrated denial.

Ever hear  the story about the mother who longed to be studying at university but instead found herself  looking after children 24 hours a day?

Now we may consider her  life normal but it’s a form of normal that’s  also a thousand miles away from being free of the frustration of having one’s hopes and personal needs denied.

And thirdly, really,  just what is it, that we consider to be normal these days anyway?

There are people out there  making their cats wear costumes and play piano’s while videoing it just so they can put it on the internet because they think it’s cute.

Now I ask you, is that normal?…………….( Well yes maybe once is OK).

I guess the point I am trying to make is, that apart from anything else, I don’t think  happiness is really an equation that requires normalcy to balance out it’s other side.

Or to put it another way, happiness and normalcy are not two sides of the one coin nor opposite ends of the same sea-saw.

Happiness is simply not an either or proposition.

It is not,

Gay/Different = Unhappy…… or ……..  Heterosexual/Normal =  Happy

We all know that there are plenty of happy Gay folks out there and just as many miserable straight ones too.

So what would happen…..,

If we decided to make being happy…..,

The norm…..,

Instead of  trying to equate being normal with happiness?

Put quite simply,

We could reverse the equation,

In such a way,

That doing anything that makes you,

As a person happy,

Could become the  predominant norm.

In which case any and all routes to happiness could be incorporated within the realms of normalcy ……..

Normal [living a life following the strict delineations of normalcy handed to you by others at all times] =  Happy…..

Or

Happy [living your life in any way that makes you happy] = Normal ……

Which equation would you rather be tied too?

 

Happiness Wants and needs….Why is the pursuit of happiness our goal?

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Happiness these days has become so thoroughly entombed in the notion of having all that you want, instead of all that you need, that even imagining a life without either a phone or the inter net is far closer to most people’s version of hell than it ever  would be their  version of happiness.

Which is odd really considering that on some parabolic level we all agree that money cannot buy happiness…..

Or is it that money cannot buy love?

Neither of which is true by the way.

If you are desperately poor and lacking in food, than money would indeed buy you a larger slice of the happiness pie than the one you are currently languishing on.

Remember it’s about having all that you need….. not all that you want.

And as for love….. well….. I guess that’s entirely dependent on your overall concept of love….

Though I have to say….. there aren’t too many lonely millionaires out there….

Whether or not you call paid companionship, in whatever form it takes, (trophy wives, toy boys, sex workers) love, is entirely up to you.

But regardless of the trivialities involved we all buy into the lie that the latest job, car, house, partner, gadget, clothes or holiday destination, will lead us ever closer toward our ultimate goal of happiness.

But why must happiness be our goal in the first place?

Could it be that we humans are now all such greedy creatures that like drug addicts we are all searching for the next big hit of happiness?

A feeling of complete well-being that  we’d once experienced organically only in the brief, and the mostly intrinsically earned, moments of time?

Is the endless pursuit of happiness now nothing more than the futile attempt to locate a drug dealer of the mind who simply does not exist?

A dealer who could in reality have never existed because happiness is and always has been a virtue of the soul and not a reward of the mind?

Could we have gotten the concept of happiness so completely confused, that all we are doing in our pursuit of it, is causing ourselves the unnecessary pain of expecting a transient experience to become an unrealistic and unsustainable constant?

Has the idea of happiness become an impossible yard stick?

A stick we use to measure ourselves, to judge our lives by and find them so constantly wanting,  that we now end up  beating ourselves over the head with it instead?

What do you think?

What would make you happy?

 

The continuing pursuit of happiness…. why should it be that happiness becomes such an issue?

Why should it be that happiness, or the lack there of, becomes such an overwhelming issue, for so many, that it needs to be pursued?

Tirelessly tracked down  until the source of its lack is accounted for, measured and named like a chemical element.

‘Ah yes Mr Jones, here’s the source of your lament, you are lacking in personal character, take two Personal Character Tablets and call me in the morning if your happiness doesn’t return to you immediately.

I repeat, happiness does not work that way.

If it did then pharmaceutical companies might actually be able to produce pills that really do increase the likelihood of long-term happiness instead of repeatedly taking  away any chance the human body ever had of creating it’s own self-sustaining level of dopamine .

Drugs don’t work that way, happiness doesn’t work that way and neither do people.

Can you imagine, just for one minute, what it would be like if we did all work that way?

Chances are the world would lapse into some sort of blissed out coma.

There would be no more economic rationalization to be endured  because we would no longer believe that  the golden three, money, success and economic achievement, hold the keys to happiness.

Without the need to chase money we’d all become more like spaced out drones than cut throat capitalist free market entrepreneurs.

The economy would collapse if everyone chose to tune in to happiness and then, once personally contented, happily dropped out of any and all market force based competition.

And let’s face it, capitalism needs your  unhappiness in order to function.

After all, if everyone stopped chasing the ‘dream’ of owning their own home or at the very least stopped purchasing the latest gadgets and decided that they were happy enough with the first I-Phone, then nothing more need ever be brought.

Perhaps the only sense in chasing happiness around like lost puppies are the cents to be had by big corporations, who consistently mange to convince us their products will increase our chances of attaining happiness?.

 

I Prefer The Convergence of Intangibles Over the Pursuit of Happiness

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I think sometimes, that if you have to work so hard at happiness,  as to pursue it, then surely it can’t be either a natural nor a perpetual state at all.

I’m not one for pursuing.

I’ve never been much of a chaser of things.

Though I’m not adverse to the concept of pursuing one’s imagination.

Or following a thought through to the limitless ends available to any given scenario.

Yet as much as I love ideas, I’ve never been easily convinced by another person’s truth simply because they say it is so.

I have always been the type to seek my own answers.

Prickly I know.

Though these days I am much more intrigued with figuring out the right questions to ask in the first place.

So I guess you could say that I’ve always  preferred the convergence of  intangibles over the conquering  of such things as wealth, success and ownership of a home.

Pretty much all of the things that are meant to afford one happiness are of relatively little consequence to me.

That being said, I barely understand this driving need that everyone seems to feel to ‘pursue’ happiness.

As if it were some quarry in need of hunting down.

Some living tangible thing that can be captured, perhaps even devoured and pinned to the wall like a trophy.

In my book you are either happy or you are not and neither happiness or the lack there off, should be seen as maintaining any set form of permanent residence in one’s life.

Happiness has its own natural ebb and flow.

And no amount of pursuing it will ever gain you whatever it is that you have been taught to feel is the cause of your unhappiness.

Happiness  just doesn’t work that way.

Life doesn’t work that way.

And more importantly, people don’t work that way.

Though for some infernal reason we choose to pursue the concept that we can create, even make manifest, our own happiness simply by believing ourselves able to do so.

Of course the fact that all of this focusing on our lack of happiness and the accompanying endless pursuit of the eradication of unhappiness leaves us depleted, vulnerable and often times more miserable than if we’d simply chosen to wrap our heads with vinegar and brown paper while waiting for the ebb and flow to continue, remains ignored.

I wonder why that is?