Chunks of Happiness

Monday, February 26, 2007

Martin Frohm: What would you say if a man walked in here with no shirt,
and I hired him? What would you say?
Christopher Gardner: He must have had on some really nice pants.
- Pursuit of Happyness

Lately, I watched the motion picture Pursuit of Happyness. It basically tells the story of a salesman who dreams of becoming a stockbroker even if the odds of becoming one are really low, not to mention that he also has his son as his responsibility. Alongside, he also encounters varied difficulties like being broke, being homeless, being jailed, and others. In the end though, he becomes a stockbroker which he calls as happiness. One striking part about the movie is that it mentions happiness as something that we can never have. This is why the word "pursuit" is put in happiness because no one can actually have it. We can only pursue it.

But firstly what is happiness? I remember interviewing one officemate of mine before and I asked about what her philosophy in life is. Then she mentioned about happiness and I asked her to define it and she just went on babbling and she mentioned about contentment. I was about to ask her to define contentment but I didn't push it fearing that she would get back to me once she accepted the job. Anyway, going back, this is not an attempt to define happiness because everyone has his or her own definition of it. But this is just to see what makes one say that "this is happiness".

Happiness is the discovery of a new shorter route going to work with cheaper traveling expenses. It is the text message from someone else indicating that you are remembered. It is the walk with someone in that same street on your way home (making you mark that particular street as one of your favorites, say for instance Pililia St.). It is also the playing of wii tennis at the office during office hours. It is the coffee break or yosi break during the arduous hours of working. It may even be the cold beer on a Friday after work. So the list goes on.

It seems then that happiness is that sense of satisfaction, sense of achievement, contentment and fulfillment even if what you experience are just the little things in life. Pieces of life. Chunks of it. Happiness is the achievement of what you have been dreaming of just like Christopher becoming a stockbroker.

However these are only chunks of happiness since in our lives, we have that one or two large abstract ideals of happiness like getting married, being successful (again how can anyone who's constantly striving for more ever consider him or herself a success?), etc. We are happy when we achieve something but frequently for many of us, we are not really happy yet. Happiness it seems, is asymptotic - getting there but not quite. There are a lot of things that we have to achieve still thus we aren't there yet. Given this, if we are to proceed with this chunk theory of happiness, then we are indeed in pursuit of happiness. We are happy with this chunks of happiness but are not that happy. That explains why we are in pursuit of it.

And why are they even called happiness, these so-called chunks of it, if they can not you make that happy? What makes us that happy? What if the pursuit of happiness is already happiness itself? What if these chunks of happiness are already happiness themselves?

I leave the answers to these or even the questions that may come from them to another day of pondering and wondering.

Christopher: Knock, knock.
Christopher Gardner: Who's there?
Christopher: Nobody.
Christopher Gardner: Nobody who?
[Christopher says nothing]
Christopher Gardner: Christopher, nobody who?
[Christopher says nothing]
Christopher Gardner: [laughs] Okay, that's funny.
- Pursuit of Happyness


Anonymous said...

Happiness is a state of mind.

Anonymous said...

no comment. haha.. well, pililia is a good street. it may seem unsafe since it's dark and there are like squats in the area, but that same street was the safest street for us.. safe from "tsismis" and intrigues. :) maybe we'll both find new different favorite streets, but i know that remembering pililia will always make us both smile. these are chunks of happiness for me, pililia and the great friend that i found in that street.

The Broken Bow said...

hehe nakakatuwa nga. para tayong mga kriminal, tago nang tago, tas nung huli na tsaka may mga taong nakakita! haha! :)

francis said...

you have to bring the following in your pursuit of happiness: lies, make stories up, raise the tone of your voice when someone is in front of you sa linya at syempre wag kalimutan ang ballpen since kailangan mong magsulat ng phone number.