HAPPINESS
by David Eide .

I don't know what produces happiness. I have known periods of happiness. I know that sense, that happy state of being. I know the opposite of it as well. That usually takes over when the ego is scheming and wants something it doesn't yet possess.

Experience, Knowledge, Expression. That was all I wanted in life. To do, to know, to be.

I did not wholly embrace the time. I thought much of it was dumb, narcissist or in-love-with-itself. In other words without the ways and means of sustaining it except through phony politics. The people, rather than becoming a civilized community broke down into barbaric tribes and then the culture settled there, in its bowels without the ability to shit it out. This meant, to me, death to liberal democracy because barbaric tribes do exactly what they are doing today; plundering what they did not build or create, taking it until it is gone and then plundering again. I only, in the long run, feel loyalty to those who build and create things.

The culture goes down when it loses the future, when it loses a sense of progress, when it plays victim to "things" or "powers."

To understand the depths of one's alienation and then bridging that gap through study, knowledge and making a real effort to do so; that is the way of the liberal, democratic person. To cross-over and understand the dynamics, understand the structure from which it came from to encourage more and more understanding until the self is free of all conflict, all alienation, all hatred. An ideal place without question.

This little formula can get you in trouble in parts of this culture.

I have embraced much however, much and much, beyond much. I have existed in muchland.

* * * * * * * *

A good writer will embrace what the populace has driven out of itself such as belief in the future, responsible relationships, honesty, creative values, among other things.

We deal with impressions. When we turn them into perceptions we're on the road to something. From perceptions come the incredible array of connections we've learned. Even at that point we are hardly there. We need to travel up and down those connections and deepen them even while questioning them.

The poet or the philosopher never has the final answer. Sometimes all they do is take up the certainty of their own age and open it to questions once more.

It often depends on the situation. I feel this age has about devoured itself. The Long Shit is well under way. A wise writer, living in an age of gluttonous feasts in a variety of modes, will step back and look at them and experience the performance of each and then write from the highest mindfulness he is capable of.

He knows where the mass mind and mass heart is. It is ancient and, like the masses of old, not easily moved by anything but miracle. If there is no miracle, no tricks, no promises made then the heart of the mass-type is unmoved. I don't know whether that is a true characterization of Americans but I've seen this at every step.

They are immersed in public myths, they are surrounded by the public myths, the media tries to articulate the public myths and then, just as assuredly as they come, they go. They go because the imperative for them has left. They go because the masses live surrounded by a fabricated present. He doesn't know anything else just as the old peasant didn't have a clue all life passes in the way it does; not as a religious dream but as a physical reality.

After I fully immersed myself in the society that was available to me I no longer had the great want to depict it. I had the want to go have a meaningful life, path or no path.

And that is where the shit hit the fan as far as the novel was concerned. I couldn't see the novel as anything other than depiction of that sort. And by the time I had processed it all, the novel career appeared impossible. It did not produce happiness.

* * * * * * * *

I had an historical imagination and could see clearly that modern history started with the Civil War, four or five generations removed from myself. So those generations, different in their way, are blended together in significant ways. Science, Technology, Capital, and Big Democracy start to dominate around mid-19th century. In other words Big Groups and Masses started to dictate what the politics were and many of the social values. The word democracy got awfully dull in the process because it could mean anything or nothing. Democracy depends on the individual not the individual dominated by Masses and Giagantism.

Undeveloped people then hid themselves in the Big Groups.

Even the building and creating of things got out of control of the individual since large sums of money and specialist knowledge were required to do anything on a meaningful scale.

The person was able to develop a wonderful life style I suppose. Free of everything but the requirements of a job it, helped initiate a flourishing consumer culture.

Many depictions took place between 1861 and 2007.

Conflict galore. This does not produce happiness in any form.

* * * * * * * *

Some difficulties the good people of today are having: shifting from zero-sum to win-win. Adapting new values to a surplus economy rather than one of scarcity. Avoiding the gigantic con games played today on and off line. These will all produce unhappiness of a modern sort.

Of late I've been having a hell of a time processing the "Internet years." I know I have to leap up to the next stage and that decisions have to be made. Wisdom rather than fame. Knowledge rather than fortune. These are difficult decisions are they not? Especially when one is speaking up into the Giant Wizard of Oz blowing smoke through his rear.

At this point I am simplifying things into "business of life" and "literary." Sunoasis.com contains the business of life, including money-making, business, and doing things that work for people. It include the political as well since politics is best done as a practical activity rather than an ideological one. I think of some of the practical things I've done and, of course, came from a practical background with my dad being an engineer and pilot and knowing how to fix things, as well as building his own house. Whereas "literary" I believe to be "philosophical," visionary, artful, meaningful in the sense of enlargement because the possibility and opportunity exists for it. After all, eternity and space and time and nature and Earth make our little politics seem absurd. But I also know that great visions and speculations take a long time before they make their way to the practical, if they ever do.

These are separated because life is impossible if they are not separated.

It makes me think of all the conflicts I took on or was exposed to over the decades. The gender conflicts were hard because a man is intimate with women. The race conflict was not hard because it was self-evidently a moral fight on behalf of a group of people who had been unfairly partioned off etc. Class was a difficult question because, again, family is intimately involved in a variety of classes. I came from the middle to upper middle professional class but I knew all the others. I don't think either of my parents were really comfortable in the class they ended up in. These conflicts do not produce happiness.

I lived among the poor in Berkeley and I worked with many working and middle class people all during my writing life. There was wealth in my family off in some eccentric margin. So the resentments, the jealousies, the put-downs, the expectations that are all a part of class conflict zoomed through me, sometimes in very painful ways.

The writer, more than any other, wants to be free. That will produce that wonderful glow of happiness. And when I look back there were magnificent moments of freedom.

I had the ability to rationalize what had been chaos. This was important. But it did not produce happiness.

The meaningful life is not necessarily the egotistical life.

The ego is an insatiable beast that can run in its own ruts for thousands of years. Egotism is not a path to happiness.

One of the happiest conflicts to overcome is simply this: "They" judge you one way, as a reflection of themselves but "you" are quite different, you are quite a separate entity that they haven't even imagined as yet. If you give "them" some authority to make judgments then you have surrendered to the mediocre. Don't make this mistake! Keep to the code.

Happiness is very difficult without meaning and some reasonable relation to the world around you. Even so, there is always the asymetric surprise to leap in front of you on a day of perfect peace.

2008


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