The Extremes

The plain state of being human is dramatic enough for anyone; you don’t need to be a heroin addict or a performance poet to experience extremity.”

When considering choosing happiness a concern arises, will I be taken seriously?  Happy people seem so light, fluffy almost, like a kitten or a baby chick.  Equating drama, sorrow, deep emotional scarring with depth of intellect and spirit is neither a misconception nor a given.  Living and loving each offer ample opportunity for pain and sadness.  But does choosing to continue to look on the bright side, even through tears, make us feel less, be less, become shallow somehow?

Seriousness and happiness at first glance seem unlikely to co-exist.  Perhaps happiness is confused with giddiness and silliness.  Happiness that stems from contentment in the certainty that one is making good choices and living a full and honest life, has plenty of room for serious consideration.  What it may lack is room for drama, histrionics, grand yet meaningless gestures.  Life offers enough of the extremes, to add to them is disrespectful of their weight.  When one has chosen happiness, it does not give immunity from pain; but in can prevent the pain from becoming despair.  Happiness is a clear concept of the self and a solid grounding in the present.  It is an emotional bearing born of intellectual decisions.

Connecting the intellectual self with the emotional self is responsible for this misunderstanding of the happy person.  To choose to feel light, does not prevent one from exploring ideas, having stimulating conversations or writing difficult works.  A tortured soul is not a prerequisite for intellect.  Perhaps in our homogenized culture the intelligent soul is tortured, but the intellect is born, the dramatic response, man-made.  Life contains enough of the dramatic; unspeakable horror, sweeping tragic loss.  To concentrate all of one’s intellect on the bleakness is to lose great swathes of oneself, to be one dimensional, a caricature of the distressed artist.  Bringing the best of oneself to the stage without adding to the turmoil is a gift, not a handicap.

Experiencing the extremities of living is unavoidable.  Responding extremely is  and diminishes our connection to our rational selves, the self that is most needed in those moments of highest drama.  It is not necessary to give up depth of mind and spirit for happiness, instead sending down roots and developing solidness of being and sureness of heart prepares one to deal with the inevitable with grace.

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