Posts Tagged ‘William Faulkner’

Count No Mortal

September 21, 2012

I’ve never been the sunniest of characters.

Entering into a discussion about the quest for personal human happiness, I felt the need to unknowingly quote Oedipus Rex.

“Count no mortal happy till he has passed the final limit of his life secure from pain.”

Of course, as a youth, I used to read Greek tragedies for fun. Willaim Faulkner, as well. I was that sort of kid. I still am. I find beauty in what others would consider excessively gloomy music, films of a decidedly twisted bent, art with a darkened perspective. Hell, I even enjoy my comedy black. It all appeals to me, at my very core, exploration and expression of those murky, even unpleasant, elements we find without and within in what I can only describe as an insane world.

There are reasons for it, most likely, as I explained further in the conversation.

“I’m probably the wrong person to even discuss this with, given a lifelong predisposition toward pessimism. Unfortunately, I learned at a young age some harsh lessons about the darker aspects of human nature, the different forms of human suffering, great and small. I think real happiness is very rare. I can’t think of anyone in my immediate life I can describe as having found it. Show me a truly happy person and I’ll show you 10,000 born into horrific, hopeless misery. We are, in so many ways, an ugly, ugly species.

So what do you do? I used to think creative fulfillment was the key to happiness, but the road is littered with successful artists and writers for whom that was no answer, either. Basically, my philosophy is to try and enjoy whatever happy moments you can engineer, however brief or otherwise. Because they seem to always be balanced by a measure of difficulty, stress and sadness. Savor the good things as best you can because it’s always possible the next nightmare is right around the corner.

Oh, look. Here it comes now.”

It really is the way I feel. I don’t see a lot of genuine human happiness or even the possibility of it in the average lifespan. There’s too much burden, too much suffering, to much horrific muck we have to shovel day in and day out. A state of true enlightened happiness seems the stuff of pure fantasy to me. I’m serious in my contention you need to take the time to savor those moments of peace or joy when you can create or stumble upon them. They can be all too rare.

So, is this morbid self-determinism? Have I created the darkness inside and around me simply because I believe it exists? My own pessimism making itself all too real? Perhaps.

Or perhaps is it just an unpleasant form of realism. A sickening inability to completely turn a blind eye to the daily cavalcade of disturbing news stories we’re inundated with, the problems and stresses breaking the minds and backs of the majority of people around us in everyday life, the slow march to nowhere we all seem to be on, spinning about on a planet we’ve all but ruined with our very presence. Our. Stupid. Pointless. Existence.

Then again, maybe I’m just having a bad day. It happens. Either way, I’ve got to go. Honey Boo-Boo is on and I can’t bear to miss it.

Told you I like it dark.

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