“Happiness is heavy”
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
- 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
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