Monday, March 29, 2010

What makes a man happy?

It’s an interesting question, that. What makes a man happy? Not what makes us all happy, but what makes a man happy? The stereotypical answer, and one that a lot of women would probably jump to, since they have just as many sexist ideas about men as men have about women, is that what makes a man happy is sex. Lots and lots of sex.

Well, let’s be honest, lots and lots of sex is awesome, and it can give one a momentary bliss that few other things can, it is not what, in the end, makes us happy. A career seldom makes us happy. Things we buy or play with seldom makes us truly happy. We can buy gadgets, which I admit are loads of fun, or computers, or porn, or comics, or whatever, and in the end only end up wanting more of it, because they do not accomplish what we seek, to feel happy.

But what exactly is it we mean by happy? I have to admit, that we rarely ever really know. Our culture has spent so much time pushing happiness as something we can buy, drink, or smoke, that we are seldom taught what happiness really is. In Eastern religious philosophies people are taught that happiness, or better put, contentment comes from understanding what desire is, and learning that what we desire is not always what is good for us, and too often, not what will makes us feel that deep sense of peace and contentment that is true happiness.

It is a profound reality in Hindu and Buddhist belief that desire is something to be set aside so that one can look deeper at a truer need, a truer wish to be not elated with momentary “happiness” but content. One can be dirt poor and yet be “happy” is the lesson there. But there is a reality of poverty in overwhelming numbers there that such philosophies always had to take into account. Here, in the land where we have so much, it is too easy to simply look at such philosophies as bullshit that people tell themselves in order to live their impoverished lives, while at the same time being utterly miserable with the wealth of the world at our fingertips.

Men, or perhaps i should say this particular man, has a lot of things that he thinks make him happy. A good book, a fun movie, music, porn, a few friends here or there, sex, liquor, computers, ipods, TV shows of all types, and yet deep down, what I think we all really want is to soothe the savage heart within us and feel content.

It isn’t about the pussy, or in my case the cock, it is about the search for a kindred soul. It isn’t about the story, but the letting go of the hear and now and living in imaginative splendor. It isn’t about the hot men or the wickedly good sex in the porn flicks, it is about living vicariously through them what I cannot live in reality, or perhaps, what I fear to live in reality because I could too easily fall into patterns of self destruction.

Now, I don’t personally believe in the relinquishing of desire as a whole, or that feeling and want are part of some evil that keeps us trapped in this world, but i do believe that those philosophies do have a point, that I need to start learning from what I desire rather than simply giving in to it. That all of our most primal emotions are there to teach us something. Perhaps not about the gods or the secrets of the universe, but about ourselves.

And if life is a journey, then isn’t what every man wants is to walk the walk and reach his journey’s end with a sense of contentment, perhaps even accomplishment, but certainly with the feeling that it has all been worth it. That all the sex and the drinking and reading and playing have all taught us something profound. The sad thing is that in the end, that lesson is not one we can pass on to others, so we try to pass on our journey to others in hopes they see in it the same things we did, and in so doing, maybe help them find contentment in the end.

What every man wants, is to be remembered as a man who left behind a legacy, not of money or accomplishment, but of lessons worth learning and an example well set.

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