In contrast with common believe, happiness is obscuring our everyday life. Happiness is the reflection of still water, (the surface of a lake) on a mirror. Our sensitivity is the mirror.
Therefore, what we “feel” is determined by the lake’s level of anxiety and what we “know”is instead just the sum of the lake’s reflection.
In everyday life different situations and objects will shadow our mirror. Although on rare occasions it just so happens that they cancel one another and we find ourselves in the state of “happiness.” It's not always easy to know when we are happy. The safest way to be sure that we are in that state is when other people notice it and tell us.
But you are even happier- and you can't miss that- when you recall a moment from the past. Sometimes though, these “happy stills” are fake.
- A woman left: you sit on your bed and think of her. An impressive happy-still flashes you and you accept it. You are too sad or too tired to remember that you were never really happy together.
- You walk in your native country. A long time ago you’ve abandoned it. You look at a building, at some streets and there-happiness catches up with you. It’s a fake memory of course: you had a miserable childhood in that country.
- You may meet a new woman; you may enter an unknown city. You’ll compare the intensity of your present situation with your recollection of past happiness and you’ll find it weak. Happiness weighs heavily on your actual life and makes it hard.
If you do happen to be happy people next to you will always notice. The reflection is even stronger towards the outside than on the inside.
People will become flexible for a while, as if your happiness reminds them of something. If you notice that they noticed, you could work with them; you could make them do something impossible or see something that would be otherwise invisible. Some writers suggest that even inanimate objects become more manageable. People like Jesus are remembered to have walked on the surface of the sea.
I remember playing a videogame, Hornet F-18 Flight Simulator for Macintosh. When I brought my plane on the water it magically started to run on the surface exactly like Jesus. Every time I would land on the water I would be able to perform the same miracle. In this sense, videogames can protect life from happiness because what you learn to do once, you can go on and do it again, exactly the same, forever.
Miltos Manetas 1999-2000
First published in “Made in USA” # 2