One needs so very little to be happy.
Well, technically, one needs nothing at all — merely a mind at peace with itself, I suppose. But what I mean is the material stuff. We get so wrapped up in all the things we need in order to be happy and feel secure that it’s easy to miss how very simple life really is.
What do I need to be happy? A place to sleep, even if it’s a Walmart parking lot. A toothbrush — I’m very fussy about brushing. Toilet paper (I use inordinate amounts of toilet paper, heheh). A change of clothes. Medications, so life is less painful. The Economist and/or a smartphone and/or a computer, since I can’t be cut off from the news for long. Not much else, when you get right down to it.
Having no idea where I’m going to be next week is a bit unsettling when I dwell on it. But when I put my mind at ease and focus instead on all that I have before me — on the fact that my needs are met and that I am pretty damned happy — well, it doesn’t look so bad. Who needs creature comforts when you have good friends and good experiences and the sense of moving into an unknown but always interesting future?
Things can always be better than they are, and in the end it’s what you choose to make of what you have. I choose to see a half-full glass … and then to drink it down and smile. L’Chaim.
“Ich sage euch: man muß noch Chaos in sich haben, um einen tanzenden Stern gebären zu können.”
(I tell you: one must still have chaos within oneself, to give birth to a dancing star.)
— from Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche
Posted by wmaheriv on Tuesday, 9 August 2011
Excerpted from Daybreak by Friedrich Nietzsche, section 26, 1881.
Animals and morality. – The practices demanded in polite society: careful avoidance of the ridiculous, the offensive, the presumptuous, the suppression of one’s virtues as well as of one’s strongest inclinations, self-adaptation, self-deprecation, submission to orders of rank – all this is to be found as social morality in a crude form everywhere, even in the depths of the animal world – and only at this depth do we see purpose of all these amiable precautions: one wishes to elude one’s pursuers and be favoured in the pursuit of one’s prey. For this reason the animals learn to master themselves and alter their form, so that many, for example, adapt their colouration to the colouring of their surroundings (by virtue of the so-called ‘chromatic function’), pretend to be dead or assume the forms and colours of another animal or of sand, leaves, lichen, fungus (what English researchers designate ‘mimicry’). Thus the individual hides himself in the general concept ‘man’, or in society, or adapts himself to princes, classes, parties, opinions of his time or place: and all the subtle ways we have of appearing fortunate, graceful, powerful, enamoured have their easily discoverable parallels in the animal world. […]
The beginnings of justice, as of prudence, justice, moderation, bravery – in short, or all we designate Socratic virtues, as animal: a consequence of that drive which teaches us to seek food and elude enemies. Now if we consider that even the highest human being has only become more elevated and subtle in the nature of his food and in his conception of what is inimical to him, it is not improper to describe the entire phenomenon of morality as animal.