Joy, Pain, Character and Hedonism

Some people often try to discuss the joy they feel at a given moment in terms of their previous pains, and it almost always strikes me as corny.

I used to think that the problem was my being cynical. Then I caught myself attempting to express joy after a period of pain, and thought myself corny. So then I thought the problem was the word choice employed.

Now I’m pretty sure that isn’t the problem, because so many people who are good writers and speakers can’t bring voice to this sort of formulation, at least for me, adequately.

I think the key is this now: the people who are apt to try and find joy in life, despite pain, I admire enormously. And when they try to emphasize the joy they feel, and dismiss the pain or explain it, I don’t want to hear it. I think pain runs more deeply than we realize. There are just so many times in the past that I’ve lost control of my emotions for utterly random reasons, well after something awful had happened. I assume they’ve gone through a lot worse, and been a lot stronger.

And yet I don’t want those whose character I admire to feel they have to live up to being something better than they are. The best of us make mistakes, and I guess I’m happy with that nowadays – there seem to be a lot of people who demand others be ideals or models of perfection of a sort, and they just can’t see that to demand such a thing is to dehumanize people for their own self-interest. A lot of other people want to marginalize people by romanticizing or exaggerating attributes that are quite positive already.

I guess I don’t want to see some people, with exceptionally strong character, find joy too early because I want to see them get far greater rewards than what they can give themselves. In this world oriented towards immediate gratification, those who have struggled for more and lost tend to get even more dirt kicked in their face. If life is just about paying one’s cell phone bills, car insurance, and drinking non-stop from Thurs. night until Saturday night every weekend, then a lot of people are getting a lot out of life. Ironically enough, because they don’t understand any sort of pain truly, they make anyone with any ambition for themselves or others look problematic.

I’m just tired of it. I want to see better people, whom I know many of, be treated better. I just want a world where people who are more serious about how they behave and think are treated justly.

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1 Comment

  1. You feeling OK? Anything going on?

    I know this isn’t about you, although there is always something about the author in any writing. But the argument/comment is troubling indeed. It seems to connect pain with joy, or visa versa. Are they connected like that?

    In every like a little rain must fall, is how the adage goes. But is that true? Must we experience pain, and coincidentally misery? I don’t know about that. Some people have never experienced any serious pain. Not the pain of losing a loved one, but the pain of having you life’s esteems drowned in a sea of contempt, never had to lower themselves for anything, never been rejected to completely as to feel worthless. But does this mean that they do not experience joy? The joy of completeness, of a job well done. The joy of having your hard work and perseverance come to fruition and then being able to reap the fruit of that success. Troubling indeed!

    I have never been comfortable linking pain and joy. It is very much like saying that you need evil to know good (I know you are not arguing that). Which is absurd! If that were so satan would be equal to God, and then we would have two supreme beings? But I digress.

    Joy is joy and pain is pain. Yes, they accentuate one another, but they are not dependent on one another. You are right to be tired of those that are worthwhile, not that any one is not worthwhile, being kicked around. We need a society that truly recognizes and fosters greatness in character and in deed. Today we foster the vulgarity of voyeurism, the baseness of pornography, and the simpleness of reality t.v.. We have opinions from the opinionless, reality has replaced scripted, ugly has replaced beauty!

    I hope that your day is going well, and that this is not indicative of a brooding mood. I know there is much on your mind, but don’t worry everything will turn for the best; it always does!

    Maybe you should come over tonight. Peace!

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