VI. HAPPINESS AND DESPAIR
1. There is the self and there is the non-self. Once the two are realized separately, there is only strategy.
2. It is normal for a person to spend a certain amount of time engaged in each of the basic types of emotional expression. A balance will be sought subconsciously no matter what the person's actual situation. This is part of our evolutionary heritage and is essential to normal manifestation. The relative proportions and intensities of emotions of course, will vary greatly with the individual. Emotional balancing also occurs over time. What often seems like self-indulgent unnecessary role-playing of sadness in youth may help prepare the adult for dealing with real sadness later.
3. Happiness is a pleasant ongoing sense of well being. Since it is normal to consciously seek that which is pleasant, it is expected that any sane individual will predominantly seek happiness and will become fairly systematic in this.
4. For one to be mainly happy, no matter what else one accomplishes for others, life must be enjoyed. This can be accomplished completely only in a completely free society, but can be realized to some degree in almost any lesser situation.
5. Most real unhappiness comes from the gulf between the individual's perception of how the world is and his conception of how it ought to be. Usually both are wrong. Only when the world is realized and celebrated for what it truly is, but also anticipated for what it truly can become, does the individual have maximum freedom of action relative to his particular situation.
6. Life, to be enjoyed, must be embraced for what it is - a great and exciting epic journey filled with both love and hate, good friends and terrible enemies, vibrant joy and unbearable sadness, exquisite pleasure and excruciating pain, deep inner peace and unspeakable horror, all of which for the heroic individual, are interwoven with the Quest.
7. Let us note the duality and fleeting nature of our emotional reactions and how opposite emotions enhance each other. The individual, when in a horrific life and death struggle far in the wilderness, yearns only for warm food and tea, fireside at his hearth. Later, as he sits sipping this tea, looking into the flames, with the heat soothing his aching muscles, how splendid seems the memory of the terrible beauty of the wilderness and the dreadful threat of his adventure.
8. Happiness is a strange and illusive commodity. It disobeys most of the normal laws of supply and demand. The more you worry about attaining it, the less you will have for yourself. The more of it you bestow upon others, the more your own supply increases. It acts enigmatic and finicky, just like a big striped kitty-cat, and sometimes just happens along when you least expect it. The best way to pave the way for happiness is to live the scenario you visualize as being associated with happiness starting right now. This involves eliminating from your life everything which you truly know is not good for you, and to do this immediately, not later when you reason that it will be easier because you are somehow finally happy.
9 It is best to view much of this world as ridiculous and unworthy of concern. Most human anguish comes from too much disliking of the inevitable and too much liking of the transitory or unattainable, from too much emotion and too little reflection.
10. It is good to discourage within ourselves any intense feelings of dislike for anything which does not constitute a discernible threat to the overall amount of justice in the universe. Let us deal with things of importance and pure forms rather than irrelevant mental associations.
11. So that we should not come to crave too much our vision for society, let us remember that a world eternally at peace, with no upheavals of any kind, would at times be very boring. The titanic forces which shape the destinies of men can provide a colorful backdrop for human dramas of a smaller scale. Let us also note however, that a world eternally at war, with constant upheavals of all kinds, is even worse because of the excessive influence of these titanic forces in unjustly distorting the destinies of men. Life in the past gave us a "medium" with the "happy" part being up to us individually. If however, the Twentieth Century is any herald of the future, perhaps it could be time for people to think about systematic constructive change, first in ourselves, then in society.
12. The individual must realize that among changeable conditions, there is that which is himself and can be changed quickly and there is that which is not himself and can be changed only imperceptibly over a lifetime. The proper amount of energy consistent with one's individual situation should be allocated to each. One must however, first develop the ability to distinguish which conditions should be changed. Those conditions which cannot be changed are neutral and irrelevant.
13. There is a little of everyone in everyone else. The differences between individuals involve proportion and emphasis, not absolute content. If you want to truly understand any other human being, seek within yourself that part of you which mirrors them, no matter how faintly, and then explore it deeply and unashamedly. Contemplating the extremes of human behavior often helps in understanding the middle ground more easily. One need not necessarily discuss the findings with anyone else.
14. Evil can manifest itself subtly in an infinite variety of ways. One of the most persistent causes of unhappiness is the ability to see evil in others, with an inability to see it in ourselves. This is a very common problem and is extremely difficult to correct. It can best be accomplished by always listening patiently and respectfully to others, not by merely planning your devastating rebuttal as they speak. It is especially important to pay attention to recurring themes from separate unrelated sources. In striving to understand how our behavior makes others feel, we should then attempt to make as much reasonable compromise as possible without allowing ourselves to be deceived, manipulated, or exploited by others.
15. Sometimes we may avoid visiting a loved one who is quarrelsome or prone to negative criticism, because this causes us pain. Often however, a visit will have high points as well as low points. Years later a positive individual will instinctively focus memory upon these high points. If there are not enough visits however, years later there will be only a big empty place where there should be memories. Sometimes humoring a cranky person a little bit won't spoil them too much. Rather than going on the defensive, simply ask them how they are doing. Even if you know this without asking, they may think that if you don't ask, you don't care. Look to see if there is anything you can help them with, like minor home repairs. In the long term this posture of caring compromise will benefit you even more than the person you love, especially if you outlive them. Hard personal integrity is a poor substitute for loving memories as the years pass. Most of the things which now bother you deeply about a living person, will seem unbelievably trivial once the person is gone.
16. It has been said wisely that when we feel that we have lost something, often the passage of time will show us that we have actually gained, because we have learned something new. Adversity of any kind can be a valuable tool for self-development if actively and systematically utilized for the prevention of future and possibly much worse problems.
17. Both problems and tragedies can cause us despair. Problems have solutions which are liberated by thought. Tragedies do not. It can at first be difficult to know which is which. It is difficult to control our emotions, but not so much so, our thoughts. We can only constantly feel about, that which we constantly think about. Despairing overmuch for the loss of a loved one ultimately sabotages what that person would truly want for us.
18. Much of individual peace and contentment depends initially upon the ability to distinguish one's reactions to life's occurrences from any actual effect of those occurrences upon oneself. It is equally important to distinguish one's reactions to the behavior of others from any alleged intent on the part of the individual eliciting the behavior. A negative individual will take every petty remark made by another, fashion it into a dagger, and plunge it into his own heart.
19. The individual must realize that, except in the case of irreversible physical trauma, one's attitudes almost entirely determine the consequences to oneself of life's occurrences. This also applies to situations which have not yet occurred.
20. Most people have the strange habit of feeling that they have to choose between various unrelated options in life. The false perception of opposites is a very debilitating condition. The either/or mentality makes many things of a perfectly neutral nature into an unhappy false moral choice.
21. Apart from the tedium of daily routine, there are only two types of situations in one's past - happy and unhappy. There are two ways of reacting to each. With a happy situation one can be sad that it is no longer occurring or joyful that it ever did occur. In the case of an unhappy situation one can be sad that it ever did occur or joyful that it is no longer occurring. Notice the complete element of choice in all this.
1. Sometimes in a relationship it is difficult to distinguish love from desire. One way to know is by the effect. If you remain true to the love you feel for another person you will always be exalted by this, no matter how they treat you. Desire by itself, however, can make you crazy, especially in combination with anything which alters perceptions of reality. True spiritual love interacting with desire will never do this.
2. To the heroic individual, destiny frequently suggests itself far more strongly than do the often dreary encumbrances of interpersonal associations. For the developed individual, a romantic relationship should not be a necessary prerequisite to happiness. It should rather be anticipated as yet another way of enhancing happiness, and then only if this is not at odds with higher objectives. It is better to live fully and allow romance to happen spontaneously, without sacrifice, than to desperately seek after it. One should never underestimate the variety of ways in which life can be fulfilling. For some, ongoing productive contentment may be preferable to the continuing distractions of ecstasy interrupted at intervals by worry and despair.
3. Much of the real unhappiness connected with romance stems from the sundering of what was merely a debilitating pathological dependency in the first place. This can occur because of an exaggerated importance put on the relationship, often due to having undervalued oneself. There are truly "many fish in the sea" and if one, in a daydream, constructs the perfect hypothetical mate, it will be found that this will rarely resemble anybody that one has yet known. It is wise of course, to be very realistic about goal orientation in this area. It does after all, take two to make a relationship.
4. Divorce rates would seem to indicate increasing difficulty between men and women. All people must manifest a certain amount of complexity in order to feel actualized as human beings. In recent history men have sought to complexify themselves intellectually. As women have become more at one with themselves through growing awareness of their psycho-sexual natures, they have sought this also. The new insights accruing to this complexity have produced increased emotional awareness and unexplored needs in both sexes. These kinds of changes take time. Selfishness will be overcome. People will ajust. Anyone who thinks of good or evil as finding greater representation generally in one sex or the other is engaging in immature reasoning and massive self-deceit.
5. One of the biggest problems that occurs between the sexes is the simple lack of respect for other peoples' feelings relative to gender characteristics. Social pressure to be tough will make people hide when they feel hurt, but if you would not endlessly make offensive jokes to a friend about appearance, age, race, religion, or nationality, then you shouldn't endlessly psychologize to your mate about every nuance of their behavior in sexual or gender terminology. Think of people as spiritual entities. Learn to appraise behavior on the basis of whether or not it is just, and to address only things that are important. A tendency may find origin and impetus in biology, but that does not invalidate or unduly qualify it. One can even think a thing without necessarily feeling compelled to verbalize it. Keep all the fashionable genito-psychologisms, hormone-influence observations, and patronizing time-of-the-month remarks locked up in the small part of your mind where they belong. All this banal, low-down joker talk is very popular among the trashy elements portrayed on prime-time television shows, but remember that life is not merely a cheap situation comedy and that real people have real feelings.
6. As we go up the evolutionary ladder we find the elaboration in sexual behavior increases. The time period necessary for the rearing of young also increases. The evolutionary reason that humans have come to make so much of sexuality is because the forming of strong, lasting pair bonds between parents for the lengthy raising of human offspring has been rewarded by natural selection.
7. It is perfectly normal from an evolutionary standpoint that sexual attraction between marriage partners will disappear completely within seven or eight years. After this age children became able hunter-gatherers in their own right. The reason that love suffers in many of these situations is because one spouse normally loses sexual interest before the other. One or both partners become frustrated, then irritable, often caustic, and sometimes vicious. There is nothing more obnoxious than someone you no longer desire getting nasty about their unfulfilled appetites. Their behavior comes to be viewed as pathetic or even grotesque. If there is immediate honesty about the loss of sexual desire, often the love between people can be saved. When love survives there are only two good ways to handle the loss of sexual interest. One is to remain married with an "arrangement" for sex on the side. When there are children this is advantageous at least until the kids are grown. The other way is an amiable divorce with casual friendship thereafter. When there are kids, this friendship can be mainly child-oriented.
AVOIDANCE OF NEGATIVE ELEMENTS
1. While there are a few "statistically challenged" individuals, most real losers work very hard at being what they are. There is a peculiar type of evil at work in someone who will always choose to be sad or anguished. They of course, will think of this as "sensitivity". Such individuals usually demand very little of themselves and will usually find something unkind to think about almost everyone else.
2. A weakling is someone who can rarely manage to achieve his desires justly by his own volition. Personal weakness in an individual will often be accompanied by a highly critical attitude towards others, coupled with a total lack of ability to be self-critical. Sadness and arbitrary malice can go hand in hand, especially in someone who is a weakling. Such a person will often be abusive to those near and dear without really admitting it to themselves. When the victim reacts normally to this, the initiator may truly feel hurt by their reaction as though the other person were the initiator. Such an individual is very "sensitive" about their own feelings, but brutally insensitive about the feelings of others. Often the "bad" treatment they receive in return will be seen as an excuse to justify their continuing victimization of others. We must try to love such people the best way we can, or when they are not close relatives, to simply avoid them.
3. While others may actually be to blame, a posture of blaming oneself usually leads to the most constructive solutions. Blaming others puts a terrible burden upon oneself because it is usually impossible to change others. Changing ourselves, if only by adopting future detection and avoidance strategies, is much easier. The world is what it is. People are what they are. Critical energy directed within quickly engenders a vast storehouse of spiritual treasure.
4. While it is good to be as sensitive to the intent of others as to the effect of their actions, it is equally good to as sensitive to the true long term effect of their actions as to any alleged intent on their part.
5. The illuminated individual often makes the mistake of thinking that others are the same way, when in actuality they are usually driven by motives of a much lower order. Sometimes our desire for human companionship among those of heroic nature will blind us to a person's true motivations.
6. People who betray us will usually manifest some sign of this along the way. When we are deceived, an initial posture of introspective self-blaming will often reveal what these signs were, so that we can avoid being similarly disappointed in future. This also allows us to coolly assess the true extent of the betrayal and how to deal with it. Sometimes a deep-rooted suspicion which is unverifiable, or even one that turns out to be false, can tell us a good deal about our true feelings and what our posture should be towards one who has habitually betrayed us in the past.
7. Avoid unnecessary association with people of obvious moral inferiority. They do not strive for good or truth, but only for low self-enhancement by any means available. Among these predatory reasoners any statement one makes will usually be "misunderstood" and often made use of in negative ways.
8. Among unfamiliar individuals: mix in, keep your ideas to yourself, educate un-Libertarian elements casually with facts, but only when lies or gross misconceptions are openly stated. Display subtly with personal jewelry, the symbols of heroic destiny (19).
9. People like their perception of others to be their own idea and seek balance in this. Whenever you say good things about yourself, you invite others to find fault. Usually they will do this, whether they discuss it with you or not. Notice how even a beautiful woman never looks quite as beautiful again once you have heard her verbally proclaim in earnest, her own beauty.
10. In general, take care what you say to others. If you are a truth seeker, new facts will change your views tremendously within short periods. Ideas you give other people about you however, may never change. This can cause huge encumbrances of diverse nature far into the future. The problems resulting may be extremely complex, subtle, and difficult to address. In fact, it is usually better not to tell others anything about yourself unless you can perceive a clear advantage in doing so, because there may be some disadvantage which you have not yet contemplated. Usually the passage of time will clarify what these disadvantages might be.
11. Until you know another person fairly well, it is better to keep the things which delight you, and of which you are proud, strictly to yourself. Comments that people make become part of the complex of ideas and memories that you have on any particular subject. Why add offensive new memories to pleasant old ones?
12. Beware of desperately gregarious "friends" who must know all about you. Often, if you do not appease these busy individuals with minimal information they will make up things to satisfy themselves. Often they will greatly exaggerate the few things you do tell them. Then you will have to tell them more and more to "clarify" what you have told them already. True friends do not have to be held at bay with lion tamer tricks - they will be mature people with a natural respect for individuality and privacy. Such people will keep a proper distance instinctively. In the vernacular, this is that very desirable commodity known as "cool".
13. Worthwhile people may ultimately want to know about your highest ideals and what you are doing to implement them. Frivolous people will be eager to know about low personal business, and will, at their very abundant leisure, apply or misapply various formulae to "figure" you out, or down.
14. We often hear the word "malicious" paired with the word "busybody." This is a redundancy. All busybodies are malicious. It is just a matter of degree. The malice will range from the mild phony condescension of the critical overthinker to the manipulative distortions and destructive fabrications of the truly vicious. Good people are busy only with their own business unless the behavior of another is clearly unjust.
15. A gathering of friends need not necessarily be an encounter group. People lacking the character to solve life's problems on their own will often expend more energy in trying to analyze others down than in trying to pull themselves up. This is especially true of the drug slaves. Immature individuals will usually believe that everyone else is just as low and silly as they are. Such people feed on misery and will often begin by confiding deep, dark secrets to another, who is then expected to reciprocate. One should never waste time playing "mind games" with psychological cripples and spiritual vampires.
16. It is good to avoid phony pseudo-intellectual types who abuse psychoanalytic principles by glibly discussing the personal relationships of others in a gossipy manner as though they believe themselves to be somehow exempt from the normal rules of human appetite. Often such people are extremely immature and believe in very little, especially themselves. They will deeply resent anyone not similarly afflicted. The doped up ones are the worse and are usually very narrow in outlook. They will frequently say unwarranted things about others, things they would find horrifying if said about themselves. Such individuals are usually prudish and the things they say are generally based on misunderstood knowledge and merely reflect their own envy of relaxed, drug-fee human normalcy.
17. The modern psychiatric view incorporates, but is far broader than, psychoanalysis alone. Much of the amateur misapplication of psychoanalysis centers around the inability to distinguish between affectionate sensuality and erotic sexuality, with misunderstanding about how each of these relate to the higher function of love. Many will try to apply the commonly understood dynamics of neurosis to other areas of behavior where this is inappropriate. Some will wrongly attribute to others a confusion between objects of the physical world and the things which symbolize these objects in dreams. Phony cocktail party psychologisms usually only reflect the ignorance, confusion, and immaturity of those making them.
18. Beware the "soul sucker" in general. You may give them your heart, but they want much more. Such a person enhances their own ego primarily by denigrating others. Tricky talkers can only gain self-esteem by insidiously robbing you of yours. They are masters of the quick, cruel remark and are often diabolically subtle. Some will need you to agree with everything they think from A to Z. Even if you do agree, it will never be enough(20).
19. Don't let anyone razz you overmuch. Put-down artists will often be quite playfully slanderous. Of course they are only "kidding" and will usually have a very elaborate rationale about why it's really all right, why you shouldn't take it seriously, and why all your feelings about it don't really matter. If jerks like this are not slapped down immediately however, they are apt to start in on you in front of others, who may believe the joke, and then pick up on it themselves. Pretty soon you find yourself with an undeserved reputation that can cost you many things in life. Regaining your good name may then become impossible without seeming to give credence to the slander by sounding as though you "protest too much."
20. It isn't always so much the content of an untrue put-down that is objectionable, but the frequency of occurrence. What is merely an off-color joke by a weak-sister type the first time, is an insult the second time, a slander the third time, and the next time - the forth instance in an ongoing premeditated campaign of slander. Sometimes if you give a person enough rope they will hang themselves. Pervasive themes will often reveal a good deal about the insecurities of those given to excessive "kidding" and can be used to nail these people effectively. It is good to be as kind as possible in doing this, however. It is always better to have a friend who has learned humility gently than have a badly scorned enemy just waiting for a chance to "get even."
21. For every person of proper adult seriousness there are a hundred "ha ha" boys, and girls. They will not die out as a species if you refuse to join their ranks. It is good to avoid jokers and lightweights. Especially obnoxious are those who speak disrespectfully about the opposite sex. It is frequently conceded that talking about sex diminishes it. People who are aggressive in their desire to discuss sex are often trying to diminish it for others intentionally. In earlier times, the counterpart of this would have been physical intimidation. In persistent cases it would have involved violence, perhaps a good hard clout with a big stick. This had survival value in those days because it selected the stronger as the one to mate. The useless modern version of this is the attempt to demoralize by inappropriate braggadocio and one-upsmanship. "Regular guy" types who doggedly seek to "discuss" sexual experiences are immature fools who merely showcase themselves as evolutionary pee-wees.
22. If you should awaken to find yourself living upon a planet of apes: move among them, love them the best you can, play to the best that is in them, utilize them justly for what you will, accept whatever amount of love they may be able to give, but always manifest separately a higher destiny.
19. This last part may be more appropriate to younger individuals or those who are seeking dialogue.
20. Also called a "psychic vampire". Fortunately only very few use telepathic suggestion while the victim sleeps.