i’m probably the last person you’d call a hippy. “make love not war” is inferior to Rule 15: Crush your Enemy Totally. i believe ladies ought to shave their legs. deodorant is nectar from the gods. there only is one God!
but some of my beliefs do fit the hippy paradigm. among them is Collective Consciousness. just as industries progress one trend at a time, society too transforms and recites ideas which quickly become synonymous with factual statements.
at the risk of sounding deaf, daft, or dense, i reckon that “happiness” is the current global priority of our collective consciousness. and since happiness is slippery, watching its pursuit play out on the world stage is chaotic.
the loudest voices
the youth leads the culture because they have the loudest voices. in entertainment and increasingly in policy, entrepreneurship, and politics.
sure, “they’re only a small group, mostly powerless and dumb.” yet here the dictatorship of the intolerant minority applies. it doesn’t matter if we live in a democracy, the majority idea does not win. only the loudest.
supposing you were born at least 2 days ago, you’re familiar with this argument:
A: “it’s not a liveable wage.”(two normies fighting)
B: “it’s not supposed to be.”
the exchange is akin to “guns should be illegal” pointed at the 100 million gun (+ ammo) owners’ “no.” totally fruitless.
but somehow in recent times we’ve seen minimum wages increase dramatically. just not in the way we’d expect, by formal decree. instead dozens of huge companies have increased their wage schedules voluntarily, without government intervention. huh?
it’s as if the above-average deluge of walk outs, boycotts, and strikes — aka PR nightmares — are starting to win the minimum wage war. which leads to my hypothesis on our collective consciousness.
stemming from the universal misconception that money equals happiness, the demand for more money is a leading indicator of demand for more happiness.
at surface this sounds fine. it feels like a Human Right, another of my hippy beliefs. but there’s a problem. the claim that a wage is owed begets the claim that happiness itself is owed.
taken to its logical conclusion, this means happiness is external. and that is the root of our current chaos.
what happiness is not
happiness is not traveling, experiencing new things, eating a slice of artisan pizza, or tripping on mushrooms at an Airbnb with 8 friends who you lied about to avoid extra guest charges.
age will cure some of these misconceptions, but for the impatient: happiness is not pleasure. if this offends, you’re welcome. now you know why you’re unhappy.
happiness is not any sort of external force. and that’s good news. because although no one can give you happiness, likewise no one can take it away.
beware the shortcut
i said in a meeting recently, “if you want to get warm, don’t stare at the sun.” nobody understood my comment, which is fine as i prefer not being invited to meetings.
expanded, our instinct for specific solutions has the capacity to produce a diminishing, negative impact. and vice versa: abstract solutions may produce compounding, positive outcomes.
so i repeat myself: if you want a big house, don’t learn construction!
what happiness is
admitting that happiness
!= pleasure begets another daunting notion — that happiness inherently must last longer than 30 seconds.
since getting what we want (promotion, marriage, child) occurs in an instant, and life is 2.5 billion instants (1 second * 80 years), happiness cannot be an outcome. rather it is a [consistent] byproduct of a series of outcomes.
we foster happiness between the lines of making good decisions, curating the right people in our circle, living in the best environment for our temperament, and having a purpose.
the reader is welcome to dub happiness itself as a feeling, sensation, conviction, vibe, whatever. how you label a state of being is not what concerns me.
what concerns me is the misdirection of our youth, my peers, and everyone else being sold the Big Lie that happiness has a price tag, a pronoun, some flavor of government, or a destination.
happiness, thank God, is not an option reserved for the rich and famous. happiness is a choice.
While you don’t explicitly state as much, I would caution anyone from thinking any of this is new. In any relatively modern generation there were beatniks and squares, hippies/yippies and normies, etc etc etc. The “disaffected” screaming from the rooftops for (insert external solution here) and those who focused on what they could control. I’d venture to guess this goes back as far as one can imagine, especially in the last couple thousand years when classes arose. That is, when everyone was running around scouring for food every waking minute lest they be eat by a wildebeest, I suspect those academic conversations didn’t even come to mind, considering the unaffordable lifestyle luxuries they indeed were. (It also probably helped that the language to speak such conversations being guttural snorting and pointing would limit their application.)
Indeed, I believe it was Lincoln who said we are about as happy as we make our minds up to be. Or maybe it was Bob Dylan. Or Stalin. Who fucking knows. But its true. Really its about conflict: are your goals in comportment with The Way Things Are™? If not, you’re gonna get friction. The Way Things Are™ is simply what works. If it doesn’t work, its not The Way Things Are™. You can want it to be differently all you way, but if its not working, its not The Way Things Are™. My favorite documentary is a film called Surfwise, about a miserable Stanford educated doctor who quit everything, moved to Israel to learn to surf, married a Mexican woman and had 9 kids in a camper van he drove around the country looking for the next wave. A few of his kids ended up all sorts of fucked up for the enterprise, and for that I fault him. Dereliction of duty. But as a personal happiness pursuit, he got it. The right environment and a purpose, indeed– and, importantly, doing the things conducive to make those things happen. Shouting at the moon rarely accomplishes anything, which is why the great caterwauling masses never seem to get anywhere.
I wish you lots of happiness Ryan even tho like you said it largely depends on you!
Hmmm.. reading this caused me to wonder if it was automatically created in a ChatGPT style app. Range of ideas and concepts (some of which I agree with) but left with a “soooooo….??” at the end of it all.
Call me old fashioned. I like a start, a middle and an end. Not sure I got it here.
Guess it’s back to the wine for me then!
i have never, and will never, use an AI writing app. but i appreciate you thinking i have the sum of all knowledge!