In Happiness yesterday we belayed Sisyphus and caught up with Nietzsche, considering his “gifts” of adversity, hardship, and total recurrence – thanks, but no – the formula of his happiness (“a yes, a no, a straight line, a goal”), and his dream of a stark new “dawn of day” for
the mountain climber, who, although he sees his goal far above him, nevertheless falls asleep on the way from utter exhaustion, and dreams of the happiness of the contrast this effortless rolling down hill.
Yes, it’s a wonderful life. But no, I can’t write a blank check to the demon for every “this,” when he asks: “Do you desire this once more and innumerable times more?” I’m not that well disposed to suffering, which does not always offer a saving grace. I refuse to reduce it all to a single thumbs up or down. On this this, I’m with the meliorists, the utilitarians, and the Buddhists.
“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want
freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”
“In fact,” said Mustapha Mond, “you’re claiming the right to be unhappy.”
“All right then,” said the Savage defiantly, “I’m claiming the nght to be
“Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have
syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the
right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen to- morrow; the
right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every
kind.” There was a long silence.
“I claim them all,” said the Savage at last.
Mustapha Mond shrugged his shoulders. “You’re welcome,” he said.
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