Sunday, February 7, 2010

How to be HAPPY? Decoded the fictional way.

People are unhappy because they are not content with their station in life. In Animal Farm happiness is approached by abolishing the very cause of misery – stations in life, all are equal. In Brave New World, a different approach is adopted, people are conditioned to like the stations allotted to them, they aren’t given another choice. They are made content. They aren’t given a chance to desire for anything else. Like machines they perform pre-conditioned activities and don’t think at all.

But do they achieve happiness? The answer is a resonating NO in case of Animal Farm, whereas in Brave New World an illusion of happiness is created. “Everyone is happy now” is repeated so many times that everyone believes themselves to be happy. The savage tries to tell them that they are not free, they are slaves. He tries to arouse in them the desire to be free and human. But they seem incapable of feeling. Strong emotions are beyond them. They are sub-human babies. As Mustafa Mond puts it, even after being decanted they continue to live in their bottles.

They have paid a price to be without suffering. They have sacrificed fun. Are they happy? They can barely feel any emotion. How can they feel happiness then? They aren’t happy. They are just devoid of feelings, and so don’t experience pain, but neither do they experience happiness. The joy that comes from thinking, toiling and then achieving is lacking.

So, then both books establish that it isn’t possible to have a happy world devoid of suffering. In Animal Farm suffering re-surfaces, in Brave New World, the inmates are unaware of any feelings.

In both books people are assigned their jobs, they are supposed to like it and not question it. If they don’t have desire for something else, they won’t suffer. Doing only that what is required of them. Not thinking much beyond their set role. Easily taking soma pills (read TV, movies, music, or whatever that does not require any action, any thinking) that just lets the day pass without having to actually do anything, thus giving no occasion for getting tense. No tryst with real good or bad emotions. Just no strain on our brains. Allowing it to lie peacefully in cold storage. No real experiences, a frozen existence.

But it is desire that leads to joy also. One should desire and strive for it. But somewhere one has to draw the line and be content with one’s efforts. For never-ending desire will destroy. But this line has to be drawn by the individual. An individual has to have an individual dream, a desire distinct from that of others, unique. S/he has to individually in her/his own manner strive for it and at some point has to feel happy for having achieved whatever part of that dream. But it has to be an individual decision. Then alone will the individual feel real happiness.

Happiness is created from within and not without.

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