24 August 2008

Happy families are all alike and every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way

A scribbled thought from Brunei some weeks ago -

If happiness is already so elusive for one person, why do we express surprise when families are not happy?

If indeed happy families are all alike and every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, then there is only way that a family can be happy: it simply means that they have found their coinciding pocket of happiness, and it is very large for them. And for the unhappy families? They roam around the vastnesss of their individual happiness, guilty at not being able to find their miniscule, collective pocket.

* * *

This is not suggest that we should give up looking for the pocket; on the contrary, this is one of those things where »the answer lies in the attempt. Like allegiance to a country, allegiance to a family has little to do with love, utility and happiness. We owe allegiance by virtue of the fact that this family has done its best (even when its best is not good enough) to make me into a relatively productive person, not wielding a knife in the streets, not screwing my siblings, children or father. Meaning: in a world where so many things go crazy, where no one owes you a living, it is a miracle that a couple of strangers who happen to go by the names of 'mum', 'dad', 'bro', 'cousin' bother to put in effort for someone who got plonked into their midst by a random choice of fate.

And for that, we owe this motley crew of people some allegiance.

* * *

There is not a cloud in the sky. It is blindingly bright.

The sea is infinitely wide.

I need a swim to clear my head.


  1. Extending your thoughts to relationships in general, you know how we were always led to believe that finding the *other* completes us, similar to a jigsaw puzzle (i.e. we are always going around with some part of us missing).

    Your theory on coinciding pocket of happiness, on the other hand, starts from the basis that everyone is a whole individual and how happy/unhappy we are with someone else has to do with how much the intersection/overlap is (venn diagram).

    Venn Diagram, instead of Jigsaw Puzzles. Refreshing.

  2. how can you two "consultantfied" happiness like this (with charts and diagrams?)..........too rational way to define happiness.....happiness is elusive and cannot be defined......

  3. Welcome to the discussion, darling. :)
    I guess graphs and diagrams and charts are an easy way to make sense of a complicated world, because some things are easier drawn, than said. :)

    I can't wait for the 3 of us to meet and drink ourselves senseless.

  4. Oh yes, how I need one......