Tuesday, 12 May 2009


(by O Coxo)

So it goes like this:

The only way to real happiness is low expectations.

Now that I slipped that in, let me say that I agree: this is a far too simplistic approach to a subject that concerns us so much. But we're in desperate need of simplistic approaches. We've tried complicated: it got us confused. We've tried therapy: it drove us crazy. We've tried blogging: it made us lonely.

When I say high expectations are the problem, it is not so much a question of disappointment with what life brings you. It is much more a question of disappointment about what life means. The point to make is the importance of accepting life as it comes, with all its absurdities: of not looking for a higher meaning in things, not searching for an underlying logic in the events that shape our daily life, not driving our actions based on self made presumptions and believes. That is the only possible way to happiness.

In that sense one could say that faith is the comfort of the perplexed. Confronted with our earthly life's failed expectations, we find in religion the promise of their fulfilment in another life. A life less absurd than this one. A life where Good and Evil are two clearly distinct entities, where there are no ambiguities.

In this context science is a heavy burden. Our understanding of the world increases our expectations: we get the false impression that we're able to control it.

Art is even worse. Art is dangerous. Art thrives on the absurdity of life. It feeds itself from it. That is why Art has often been an antechamber of madness. The problem of the artist is that he knows too much.

The whole subject is reminiscent of a poem of Fernando Pessoa and I'll use it to finish this post:

She sings, poor reaper,
Thinking herself happy perhaps;
She sings and she reaps and her voice, full
Of joyfull and anonymous widowhood,
Quavers like the song from a bird


Ah, to be able to be you, being me !
To have your joyful unconsciousness,
And the conciousness of it ! Oh heaven!
Oh field ! Oh song ! Science

Weighs so much and life is so brief !
Enter into me ! Turn
My soul into your lofty shadow !
Then, carrying me away, pass on !

Translation of the poem "Ela canta, pobre ceifeira" taken from the book "An introduction to Fernando Pessoa" from Darlene Sadlier

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