is happiness the ultimate goal in life?

(Warning: Strange, sometimes incoherent thoughts ahead)

We all want to be happy, but is happiness really enough?

Recently, when walking with my friend, she asked me why humans wanted to be happy. I looked at her funny, as one does when one’s friend poses such a question. I asked her to explain. She told me that it feels strange to her that happiness is the ultimate goal in life, then, after a few minutes, dropped the subject.

I’ve been thinking about her words and doing a lot of self-introspection. Why do we want to be happy? Well, we want to be happy because it simply feels good. When I phrase it that way, it seems ridiculous yet poetic to live life searching for a feeling.

I don’t think I’ve ever been depressed, but I have gone through periods of sadness and isolation where I couldn’t bring myself to do anything. During those periods, everything seemed like a chore, and even writing became tiresome at a point. Fortunately, I’ve always been able to pull myself out of those periods with the help of a few of my most trusted people.

But when I wasn’t happy, I found that I wasn’t fully occupying my body, as if some part of me was missing from the physical limbs and bones and blood. When I was happy however, I grow into my body as a tree would grow into the sky. This arbitrary feeling, this emotional construct, somehow allows me to become more energetic, more perceptible, and more likely to just do things. Sure, I write when I’m sad, but that sadness isn’t productive as a type of art.

It would be nice if we were born into an idealized world, where shit isn’t happening all the time, and I wonder whether this was the state that Adam and Eve lived in.

Some guy once said something along the lines of “All art is created in dissatisfaction of God”, and I agree. Art (visual, musical, writing) does not lie in a vacuum, where nothing is subjective and everything objective. We live in a world full of human constructs and the sentimental part of myself begs me to write about how beautiful these constructs are, and while that is partially true, our world sucks a lot of the times. Happiness isn’t enough in the way that doing nothing isn’t enough. Happiness is enough in the way that being happy provides us the opportunity to do something about the world.

It is funny to me how people denies climate change as if it isn’t a fact. Our world isn’t perfect, and these people aren’t happy. We live in a period where anger is simply not constructive, and the voices that tower above the rest are the angriest ones.

All of this brings me back to one of my favorite quotes from my childhood:

“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

– Albus Dumbledore

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