Happiness is what exaclty?

Tonight I’m going to a birthday party in Dalston that promises dance and literary fever with a line up of performers who were stars in the dyke eighties: Pauline Black, the singer from the Selectors, Laka Daisical, Joan Nestle, Jackie Kay, Di McLoughlin. The eighties (in the London dyke scene at least) were very intense and exciting. I can’t stop thinking of how different our ideas of Sex, Love and Relationships were then. Experimentation and freedom was what it was all about.  It was absolutely de rigeur to be polysexual –  monogamy and  ‘coupledom’  were anathema…

Yesterday we put the final touches for the BRAND ‘HAPPY ENDINGS’ PARTY at Freedom Bar, Soho on the 29th of May (all are welcome – go to our Facebook page for details): Cherry, me, Will, Gary (our two adorable, inspiring in their energy, intelligence and committment interns). I’m excited, I’m happy.  Well, happy as in ‘feeling good’. ‘Happiness’ as a state of being is not something I have ever aspired to, perhaps only too aware of the fact that you really only feel it in moments and about the simplest of things, taking you by surprise.

I was recently reading abou this whole new ‘Happiness studies’ craze and it struck me as absurd: believing that Happines is a+b+c+d=happiness. Why does everything have to be reduced to measurable qualities, to possible-to-manufacture entities. Where is the magic? Where is the unexpected? Where is the unaccountable for? Can we really CONTROL everything? Only if we are heading for a mass neurosis or mass delusion, methinks.

I was pleased to further read though that the initiator of the Happiness trend has reviewed his theories and now claims that people want more than ‘to just feel good’; they, he claims, also need a sense of purpose and achievement. I’ve worked in academia for a while but still it never ceases to amaze me how many academic studies simply state the obvious…

I must also write – ok we are in random thoughts terrritory here – about something else I read recently that really struck me. A friend gave me a book on Montaigne, not something I would ever buy myself.  I  had never heard of him before though many writers swear by him, including Virginia Wolf: he is a French essayist of the Middle Ages with a quirky take on reality, and a rather stream-of-consiousness style of writing. La Boetie ( the author of VOLUNTARY SERVITUDE) was his closest friend and the most important relationship in his life. Their love was so intense and inexplicable that in wondering why he loved him so deeply, he writes: “Because it was he, because it was I”.

There is something so beautiful in this statement, so beyond: ‘the rules of the game’ and ‘speedating’ and internet dating and a+b+c= perfect relationship that we are bombarded with. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by this functional, mundane, utilitarian discourse but resist we must, I believe. Love, like art, needs a sense of mystery, something of the sacred…

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