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Deriving Happiness

This SMBC is amazing.

It is an interesting way of looking at life and the trade-off of taking on responsibilities in your life.

Especially since the standard recipe for happiness seems to be currently:

  • Embrace your sexuality during your 20s
  • In your 30s, panic, settle down with whomever, buy a house and have some kids.

Both seem like optimizations to the extreme, rephrased:

  • "Put off a permanent relationship for as long as you can"
  • "Pile on a number of responsibilites as fast as you can"

I don't think either is a successful receipe for happiness either.

Not that they lack value, mind you.

Discovering who you are, who you like and not living life in a state of conflict over your true sexuality is a wonderful and liberating message of our generation.

But it is still in many ways a backlash against the more repressed and conservative sexual ideas of the last century which largely included demonizing non-standard sexual orientations and identity.

That said, the core idea, of Love, and of finding another person who you can begin the delicate dance of gaining mutual trust and respect with, that is a valuable thing with or without the gendered and religious trappings that is often heaped upon it.

Then the latter, the societal prescription balm of happiness: wedding, home, children. It carries with it an implicit promise of fufillment and joy.

But it is not a recipe for joy necessarily, it is instructions for security. Relationship security, the security of a permanent residence, the prospect of sowing children to care for you later.

Not that these things cause you unhappiness, but they carry with them responsibilities that complicate your life and limit your actions.

Sharing your life with someone requires many compromises, often requiring profound alterations to your actions and ways of looking at things.

Homes carry with them all manner of time draining responsibilities and costs.

Children, modern parenting requires nothing less than a 110% time commitment (although to be fair, I have no idea who specifically is prescribing this manner of parenting)

It isn't the responsibilities themselves, it is the eventual exhaustion of free time and the subsequent dimming of casual exertion of free will.

Like playing chess through a continuous string of "check" force moves, certainly you have a little lee-way in your choice of response, but for the most part external actions are forcing your hand into continual action.

However, I don't think the perscription in happiness lies with infinite free time. These responsibilites that you take on also imbue your life with a mass of meaning, in a way that deciding where to eat out and what movie to see lacked.

Like most things, the truth seems to suggest a moderation of both.

Another famous equation is Force = Mass * Acceleration. In this case Mass seems equivalent to the responsibilities you have donned through your life choices. Acceleration is your ability to still move about freely under the load you have taken on.

A mass-less particle moving at near infinite speed and a moon-sized mass incapable of movement both have the same resultant force.

Whereas a mile wide asteroid traveling at Mach 30 can devastate worlds orders of magnitude larger than itself. Which, given the terrorism of late seems like an entirely imperfect metaphor for happiness...


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Meta Information:

Title: Deriving Happiness
Date posted: 17 Nov '15 - 01:28
Filed under: General
Word Count: 547 words
Good Karma: 51 (vote)
Bad Karma: 42 (vote)
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