It takes wit, and interest and energy to be happy

Untitled (black and white photograph)
Untitled (black and white photograph) by Paul Politis
Untitled (black and white photograph) by Paul Politis

“Appreciation of life is not easy. One says he must earn a living — but why? Why live? It seems as though a great many who do earn the living or have it given to them do not get much out of it. A sort of aimless racing up and down in automobiles, an aimless satisfaction in amassing money, an aimless pursuit of “pleasure,” nothing personal, all external. I have known people who have sat for years in the cafes of Bohemia, who never once tasted of that spirit which has made life in Bohemia a magnet. These people were not in Bohemia — they were simply present. Really bored to death although they did not know it, and poisoned too by the food and drink — being inert they were open prey to it. They and their kind, in the various ways, are in hot pursuit of something they are not fitted to attain. It takes wit, and interest and energy to be happy. The pursuit of happiness is a great activity. One must be open and alive. It is the greatest feat man has to accomplish, and spirits must flow. There must be courage. There are no easy ruts to get into which lead to happiness. A man must become interesting to himself and must become actually expressive before he can be happy. I do not say that these people are devoid of the possibility of happiness, but they have not been enough interested in their real selves to have awareness of the road when they are on it. They no doubt fall into moments of supreme pleasure, which they enjoy, whether consciously or unconsciously. It is these moments which I am sure prevent them from suicide. There are, however, others who do recognize their great moments, and who go after them with all their strength.

Walt Whitman seems to have found great things in the little things of life.

It beats all the things that wealth can give and everything else in the world to say the things one believes, to put them into form, to pass them on to anyone who may care to take them up.

There is the hope of happiness — a hope of development, that some day we may get away from these self-imposed dogmas and establish something that will make music in the world and make us natural.”

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit