On pain and pleasure

One thing I’ve learned about pain is that it only begets more of the same. This makes sense from a purely logical standpoint; the idea that happiness comes from nowhere is as ridiculous as Lamarck’s spontaneous generation. From where, then, does happiness spring? And if, as seems obvious given the line of thought I’ve been pursuing, the answer to this question is “from happiness,” how is it possible to become happy if one is not already?

I have observed that when one is unhappy one wants everyone to know, in hopes that they might commiserate, but in reality this merely projects gloom onto others and thus everyone becomes miserable (pain begets pain). Of course there are those who will tell you to let your feelings out, but it has become extremely clear to me (in personal and unfortunate circumstances, alas) that this rarely helps and often makes things worse. My proposed solution is this, Best Beloved: pretend you are happy until it becomes true. For is it not so that the simple act of smiling makes one happier? I know this to be true so I will tell you that yes, it does.

And yes, sometimes it does hurt more to pretend to have fun than to wallow in one’s misery. Oh, no, never mind. I had that backward. Anyway, at some point you may discover that not only are you having fun, but that you have a few more friends than you remember. It is a sad but understandable fact of human nature that we are drawn to what makes us feel good, and that is usually the people least in need of help.

Perhaps my point, then, is twofold–that if you are in need of such help you must pretend not to need it, and that if you are not you will get more than you may wish.