Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"Against Happiness"

Funny how things happen. After posting "Reflection" in the blog, this just came in my email this morning. It's from a painter who publishes a twice weekly email newsletter on art. http://www.robertgenn.com


"Art and Happiness"

In the recently published "Against Happiness," popular writer Eric Wilson disparages our current love affair with putting on a happy face. With our "feel good" culture and the widespread use of happy drugs, everybody's trying to be cheerful and there are no decent dollops of melancholy and sadness, he says. When this happens, art becomes bland, unchallenging and redundant. Dr. Thomas Svolos of the department of Psychiatry at Creighton University School of Medicine thinks Wilson is right. "When you're melancholy, you tend to step back and examine your life," he says. "That kind of questioning is essential for creativity."

I think they're onto something. Life's not about getting free of pain, but rather finding happiness through service to some process with links to a higher ideal. A state of thoughtful melancholy and sensitivity breeds an elevated creativity and a more profound happiness. Here are a few of my own keys:

Work alone and be your own motivator.

Take time for private wandering and nature's gifts.

Dig around and explore purposefully.

Serve others as well as your own passions.

Look for potential in all things and all beings.

Face life's deeper meanings squarely and truthfully.

Move through thoughtful understanding to pervasive action.

Know you are partner in a great brotherhood and sisterhood.

Accept sadness as part of the human condition. 

Know that in the big picture you are not important, but what you make and do is.

Rogert Genn


1 comment:

chaetoons said...

Good Mornin' Jeanette
Genn's observations (personal keys)seem right on from my perspective. However, his theory about sadness being an essential condition of life doesn't fit the bill of my personal beliefs. Have sorta figured from the ripe old age of 63 that "life" is more or less a learning experience that teaches us that when we achieve perfect harmony, we, indeed, are in a state of perfect happiness which in and of itself produces creativity.
Just this morning's "deeper" thoughts.
Thanks for sharing your perspective and Genn's with us!