I don’t understand happiness. There’s really not much else to state other than that, as any explanation I give is just going to be more convoluted, and more guessing. I suppose that’s really the best that I can offer to myself, though. Essentially everything I believe is a guess that I’ve, at least to some extent, dedicated myself to as some form of truth.
If I really had to take a guess, I’d say that happiness isn’t a definable term. I’d say happiness is more of an opposing force to other emotions than anything even remotely tangible through explanation. I don’t consider myself a happy person. I don’t believe in depression as a clinical issue, but simply another emotion. I’m not depressed, either. I’m not content, or apathetic, empty, full. Honestly, I don’t think I’m much of anything at any given time, and perhaps that lack of a term to express my overall feelings is what makes things so difficult for me to pen.
I’m fairly positive I was happy at some point in my past, but I can’t remember any specific moment. I suppose that’s a lie, as I recall individual times where I can say that I wasn’t sad, which means I technically may have been happy. If that’s the best of what I can consider, though, then I think it’s too generalized to be genuine.
The more I consider the idea that the meaning I’ve given to my own life, through a wholly existentialist view point, being to doubt everything and fight against the concepts of absolutes and universals, the more I think I’ve actually unraveled an ability to ever truly understand something. I don’t think it’s impossible to understand something like happiness, and I would never say that it hasn’t been defined correctly elsewhere. I think that, by doubting so much, I’ve actually made it impossible to define anything I feel, because anything I attempt to define I instantly rebuke. I debate myself over every decision and every consideration to such a point that I’m in a constant argument over every question and every statement.
As per dictionary.com, happy is “characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy”. What the fuck does that even mean? Pleasure? Contentment? Joy? None of those are genuine things, they’re subjective possibilities. I could easily claim that at any given moment I am feeling joy, pleasure, or contentment. When I cook, I feel a sort of serenity, but I wouldn’t call it happiness. I think that an act of distraction shouldn’t be a course of happiness.
Really, though, maybe that’s what it is. Maybe happiness isn’t an actual thing, but rather a manner of saying that you’re simply distracted from something that you wouldn’t equate to happiness. Right now, I have no idea what I’m feeling, but the act of writing this is a distraction from concentrated thoughts as I’m pushing thoughts out into visible words rather than holding them inside and mulling them over. Am I happy right now because I’m distracted? Is watching an interesting movie something that makes you happy, not because it’s interesting in and of itself, but because that interest allows you to forget a negative feeling?
There are many different ways to express emotions and feelings without just blurting it forward. For the longest time, I felt music was the best expression of this. I still think music has the potential to express so much with so little, and it’s one of the few beliefs I have that I honestly don’t think I’ll ever lose over the course of my life, despite my incessant doubting of everything around me.
Recently, though, I’ve decided that the best form of emotional expression is actually comedy. In this particular point, I mean stand-up comedy, though I feel it could easily extend to comedy of all forms. The type of comedian I tend to lean towards is the self-deprecating, excruciatingly open type. The comedians who lay everything out in front of themselves and their listeners, essentially begging to be judged. What else is there to do? What is funnier than misery, especially if you can react to the reflection within yourself? The pain of someone in front of you, who grasps the same pain you feel and has found no proper response to it other than to marginalize it and laugh at the absurdity of it, I think that anyone who has lost faith in emotion can connect to that.
The humor in self-deprecation isn’t in the act itself, it’s in the realization that it’s funny in the sense that it’s brutal. It’s pure honesty. Everyone hates themselves. Nobody can define love, but hate seems so inherently easy to define. Of course, that’s a fallacy, as hate is as undefinable as love, but negativity always seems more tangible. It may as well be a physical object that as a people we all wear alongside our clothes, showing off to everyone who is willing to look our way. Comedians are of the same flock, but instead of just wearing their pain, they scream at you to look at it, to examine it, to connect with it and to find some sort of release and solace in the fact that you’re not alone.
Music challenges you to find your own meaning and connection to it, but comedians put the connection in front of your face and beg you to grab onto it and help them pull it away.
When I see comedians who seem chipper and happy, I’m pushed away by it. I think they have a place as much as the darker comics, but they come from an angle that doesn’t appeal to me. Whereas the type I like put their pain forward and howl outward for anyone to grip on to it, the happy-seeming comedians attack from the angle of a differing distraction. Rather than asking you to ignore your pain by examining their pain, they ask you to hope for something other than pain by reflecting on their own distractions. The things that distract them from pain, something one might define as happiness by result, they put forward and douse the audience in, trying the bury the pain that way. I suppose it’s viable, but when I see a chipper comedian, I just see someone too scared to express their pain to others.
I can’t fault them. Why would they want to? Why would anyone want to admit that they’re not happy? People listen to comedians to forget that they’re not happy. Honestly, I don’t believe that anyone is happy, but I guess I really don’t even know what happy is.