Thursday, July 20, 2006

Striving to be happy / Hidee-hidee-ho!

I sometimes wonder about the point of being happy. Why bother? What's it for? Yes, I'm a pain in the arse, and yes, I've found some good reasons: happiness matters because:

(a) it makes you stop looking for reasons;
(b) it makes you more likely to care for other beings, things, and yourself;
(c) it feels good;
(d) it makes you want to live;
(e) it makes you stop looking for reasons.

There's a nice bit in Woody Allen's 1986 film, Hannah and her Sisters (posted over here) in which Mickey realises he could start being happy if he stopped being miserable. Not that this has ever been an issue for me, of course, and I could give you 50 reasons for that, but I've always loved the scene and its conclusion: that the meaning of life is Why The Hell Not.

The scene shows a Marx Brothers' film, Duck Soup, which is summarised here:
Firefly: Not that I care, but where is your husband?
Mrs. Teasdale: Why, he's dead.
Firefly: I'll bet he's just using that as an excuse.
Mrs. Teasdale: I was with him to the very end.
Firefly: Hmmph. No wonder he passed away.
Mrs. Teasdale: I held him in my arms and kissed him.
Firefly: Oh, I see. Then it was murder. Will you marry me? Did he leave you any money? Answer the second question first.
Mrs. Teasdale: He left me his entire fortune.
Firefly: Is that so? Can't you see what I'm trying to tell you? I love you.
Mrs. Teasdale: Oh, your Excellency!
Firefly: You're not so bad yourself.
Yeah, it's just a theory, but what the hell. C'mon and sing it with me, people! Hidee-hidee-hidee-hidee-hidee-hidee-ho!