My Happiness Creed!

Note to reader:

I wrote this piece about six weeks ago and submitted it to the “humor” page of a prestigious magazine that deals with important cultural and historical issues in the United States. Their announced acceptance/rejection time line has passed so I’m guessing that it wasn’t quite as “genial” as the writer’s guidelines advised it should be.  But I will let you, the reader, decide if I need to work on my geniality.

This is also a prelude to a piece I’ve been working on in my head for the past few days dealing with another “scientific” study that finds self-control is also contagious.  I don’t know if that piece will be satirical, but it will be critical in a thoughtful, creative way.  (I hope.)



My Happiness Creed!

Back in early December I read a newspaper article reporting the results of a recent study that concluded loneliness is no longer merely an isolated and isolatable individual social experience. Rather it is now a social contagion with all sorts of deleterious effects including increasing the possibilities of depression, insomnia, and other physical and medical problems in those who contract the “loneliness” disease from the lonely.

I tried not to personalize the continued assault on my idiosyncratic monkishness and introversion that may be interpreted and pathologized as “loneliness” by some.  Indeed, my initial anger at the supposed “scientific” assessment of how loneliness can tragically seed the eventual demise of civilized, naturally happy and functionally individuals gave way to a healthier attitude about how I can better contribute to the survival and progress of happy, functional, healthy, socially functional people everywhere:

First of all I will choose to support all scientific findings that increasingly pathologize any and all behaviors that, regardless of their narrow and often questionable theoretical frameworks and methodologies, are presumed a priori to be abhorrent by any standard even if the cultures we live in create and propagate the very behaviors we denigrate.  (Is loneliness only an extreme manifestation of the core ideology of individualism?)

Perhaps a literary study of heroic myths to supplement the “hard” scientific approach to understanding healthy and pathological social relations should also reconsider whether these characters are also pathological and serve no purpose other than to teach and reinforce the ideals of loneliness (because aren’t our heroes also often pathologically lonely?).  Such a superhero critique would lend itself to supporting a healthier respect for the social mores of cooperation and cultural submission rather than extraordinary feats and innovation.  Right?

Secondly, whenever I am out in the public sphere of citizens and strangers I will simply act as if my natural condition is that of a genial, happy-go-lucky social benefactor whose sole purpose for living is to make those I touch with my positive soul energy to be joyful and happy-go-lucky as well.  To act otherwise would be to give in to the cultural dis-ease of the loner and the gradual decline of all that is socially good.

The last thing society should tolerate would be my or any deviant social or individual expressions including those that divulge individual self-doubt, question cultural authorities of any kind, support sarcasm in the service of social critique, acknowledge and accept imperfection and suffering, and perceive irony and absurdity at the edge and basis of all life experiences.

Thirdly, my general intent will be to not pass on culturally nor biologically my own dis-ease—heaven forbid if loneliness becomes genetically selected in evolutionary terms as a stronger, more resilient gene in some of us that accidentally terrifies the socially superior, but biologically weaker, fearful sociable genetic tendency out of existence-but to further the social evolutionary progress of humankind, to once and for all eliminate the potential for a tragically lonely, despicable cultural life.

All this means for me is that I will stop going to matinee movies alone, shopping alone, watching TV alone at home (especially downloaded film and file-shared TV episodes on my computer), and reading alone.  I will do what is necessary to strengthen the immunities of socially healthy, communitarian beings by signing a loyalty oath, if necessary, to do no harm including avoiding those perceived to have weakened immunities to the loneliness scourge.  I will quarantine myself when I perceive I am in the presence of those desiring full sociability, but who lack the skills or convictions to fully imbibe the sweet syrupiness of the happy lifestyle.

Indeed, it will be my dream to establish a Center for Happiness Studies to include numerous genius grant-recipients who will both conceptualize true, eternal, happy thoughts and experiment with cloning techniques to propagate biologically perpetually happy people with full immunity to the most virulent strains of loneliness, i.e. those who are not afraid of being alone or lonely and those who actually prefer having inner dialogues for purposes of self-definition.

Furthermore, and finally, I will force myself into the public sphere to unleash the good biological and cultural energy of public oneness with the teeming crowd because there can be nothing but good to come from it.  I look forward to being drowned out by the raucous noise; being jostled about by impatient, selfish citizens; observing the playful irrationality of so much public life; enjoying the impertinence, disrespect, and rudeness of too many strangers in a hurry to go; and trying to stay focused on what I need to do while navigating the profane world while everyone else is doing the same so we can prevent the spread of that dreaded disease of loneliness.

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