View from Galena Summit in the Sawtooth Mountains





last changed 5may2011


Artificial Happiness
Artificial Happiness

Congratulations on finding my web site, heh, heh. If you want to send me some email, you can figure out an address based on the site name. If you can't, you probably don't have anything to say that I want to hear.

What is Artifical Happiness?

It's a dirty, rotten, anthropomorphised world. Life wears on you. Every day adds to the years bearing down on you. Every injury, every insult adds to the scar tissue and makes the body work a little less well. Your coworkers sadistically watch and report your every misstep. The food and drink you've spent years indulging in and cultivating a taste for, turns on you and is dragging you into your grave. Artificial Happiness is the way you thumb your nose at the world and fart in it's face.

Advantages

  • Done right, others can't tell it from the real thing. It's really special if you convince youself.
  • Drive the people who are trying to make you miserable nuts. It's a kind of revenge. You get extra points if they see a shrink.
  • "All the world's a stage..." and you get to practice your acting skills. Good enough and you're Hollywood bound.
  • AH allows a delusional approach to life without giving up fact based reasoning. You get to choose your own facts too.

The Role of humor

Humor is an essential component of any kind of happiness (maybe the essential component). There is a very strong desire to share what's funny, but not everyone finds any given bit to be funny. That's why everyone wants to tell you the latest joke they've heard. It's so idosyncratic that much humor is banned from the workplace as inappropriate. In much the same way that watching horrible violence is OK for little kids, but watching sex isn't.

Gallows humor. That cynical "we're all gonna die anyway", spit in the face of death attitude is a diversion from the overwhelming certainty of doom. When I indulge in this it makes other people laugh and I feel better, for a moment about the whole thing.

And Mindfulness

This whole idea of mindfulness is about general acceptance without judgement. Exactly the kind of twisting thinking that artificial happiness is all about. We are judgement machines, decision makers, we weigh and evaluate, and decide courses of action. Mindfulness is about confounding that, much as artificial happiness tries to confuse play acting for real happiness, mindfulness instead casts the mindful person as an observer and not a participant.

Drawbacks

There are numerous drawbacks to this approach, mostly centered around the amount of effort it takes to keep that stiff upper lip from quivering. Divert your attention for an instant and you've blown your cool. Not that you can't find advantage in this as you constant oscillation between the insane grin and an expression of woefull dispair will annoy you're tormentors.

Artificial Happiness isn't going to be the same as real happiness, but given the pain of arthritis, the depression caused by giving up alcohol, and the disgust of having to eat broccoli, hey, what have you got to lose. It's better than real misery and a lot more cynical. In the end, though, your goal is to transform the fake into the real and devlop some sense of happiness.

How To Do It?

The first step is to adopt the physical attributes - the rictus of a smiling face, happy that the stubbed toes only ripped off half the nail on just one toe. Smile, chortle, dress in bright colors, carry yourself erect, laugh at other people's stupid jokes. Come on, it's not that hard, besides, it probably drives them nuts (or at least provides a good laugh.

And then change our attitude. Eating spinach is good for your colon and it reminds you that you're turning those shit vegatables into real shit and you can take secret (or public, what the heck) delight in the disgusting taste leading to a satisfying bowel movement. Get rid of the negative framing. Your boring, obstructionist, and sadistic coworkers are there to build your character and make that salad for supper a comparative delight. This attitudinal change may be the critical part of cementing in place the physical attributes: see this article.

Cultivate excentricity. Not to the point where you become a social pariah, but you certainly don't want to blend in. There is a history of excentricity among some famously creative people article here. Of course, I question the worth of this article beecause it tries to draw the conclusion that excentricity is a characteristic of creative people without presenting any valid arguments to use to draw that conclusion. But, for me, adopting some excentricity asserts independance and uniqueness and these, I feel are essential when I'm trying to think happy thoughts. Excentricities are also hangers for humor - either you can use them to make fun of others or they you. So take up skydiving, ride your bicycle everywhere, shave your head, have fun with it and above all make it annoying to others - best if it's because they can't follow in your footsteps.

I can't help it that I'm old and fat, well I can't help it that I'm old anyway.