the consumption of happiness, a theory

There is a certain comfort in a theory. Two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen form a molecule of water. The quark is the smallest known indivisible particle of matter. Light is both a particle and a wave. Neat and simple. Frank and terse.

One nondescript night, I go out to meet college friends after work. There is a certain comfort as well in catching up with college friends. People from your high school almost always require loyalty and nostalgic longing for the, err, “good old times.” Luckily, college friends almost always never care.

My friends, Edmund and Tenzing, announce that they have formulated a theory about why Christmas is such a season of depression for some people.

Their theory claims there is a finite amount of happiness at a given space and time. This limited amount, they say, is up for grabs for anyone. Unfortunately, some people are beasts and they consume more than their share and leave only the dregs for the rest of the population.

This massive and frantic consumption of happiness allegedly peaks during Christmastime, which starts as early as September. By the end of the year, there would be a scarcity of happiness to go around, and one is forced to be content with what is left.

Luckily or unluckily, the theory explains, what is usually produced, then massively and selfishly consumed with such abandon, would be the superficial type of happiness. What would often be left is the, err, profoundest type. Which is so profound that it has come full circle along the mood spectrum and has ended up back on the sadness end.

At around 10 PM, we say good-bye, part ways, and vow not to meet very soon. Then I decide I need a drink and meet a few blogger friends for a nightcap. There is also a certain comfort in liquor. Of an altogether different sort.

*Photo is from one of the best romances translated into film, Before Sunset. Incidentally, the movie is so romantic that it sucks all romanticism out of you more efficiently than any expensive vacuum cleaner.


25 thoughts on “the consumption of happiness, a theory

  1. Weirdly enough, this isn't the first time I heard this theory. In fact I was half-expecting it when I read the title of your post. The first time I heard the theory was through a short story one of my classmates in Creative Writing submitted called "Zero-Sum Happiness".I think the theory is interesting, but would not hold up to stronger reasoning. It's an application of the ideological foundations of feudalism and neo-feudalism; which, when applied on something as abstract as happiness, is kind of weird. Land (for feudalism) is definitely finite, money's (for neo-feudalism) finiteness is arguable; but the idea of happiness as finite seems, well, incredible.Sorry I took that too seriously. My comment is, if I remember correctly, a paraphrase of the criticism I directed towards the short story I just mentioned. Apparently, I'm a creature of habit.

  2. Victor,Isa ako sa mga nakukuntento na sa mga tira-tira lang after massive consumption. Especially if consumed by people dear to me.Pero iba pa din ako, mayabang ako, at kaya kong pagsikapang palaguin ulit 'yon at it'll be any season :)Cio

  3. hmmm. i think happiness is just in the corner, in different forms and shapes, waiting to be grabbed. it's contentment that some people struggle into.i agree with your view about high school friends and college friends. heheOff topic: is that Ben Whishaw? in your profile pic? nuon ko pa iniisip. hehe

  4. I tend to disagree with that theory. I think that happiness is limitless, and that it can be created by a mere thought. Also, can happiness really be superficial? Even alcohol/substance/thought induced happiness is still happiness, right, however fleeting it may be?

  5. I'm still hesitant to accept this theory. And I'm guessing you know the reasons why.I love Sunset now more than Sunrise. I think the reverse was true when I was younger, but I guess I could relate more now to the former.

  6. Hi Victor. Nice theory. Let's elevate that to the level of a theorem X+Y=H, where X is a cold,cold beer and Y is a gorgeous date beneath a full moon. That's today!

  7. Eon, is happiness perhaps in its purest when it's liquid form?Fickle, I was thinking about developing the theory further to cover the inconsistencies, but it will become a mess, and theories are supposed to be simple and stupid. LOL.Cio, Apir. Maraming napalalago ang kayabangan.

  8. Yes, Quest. 🙂 It's Ben Whishaw. So how do you handle high school reunions?Glentot, minsan, nakakatakot din pag-usapan kung sino ang mga (na)buntis. Baka kasi kasama pala namin ang guilty party. LOL.Glenn Diaz, nasagot ko na 'yan. Ikaw nga kasi ay isang unsung hero.

  9. Geek, I think that goes without saying. 😦Nova, I know what you mean. Maybe all happiness is superficial after all, otherwise we wouldn't really understand it so easily. LOL.Lance, happiness as unconsciousness?

  10. i saw ben wishaw in perfume: sotry of a murderer. that movie's effin weird and good. hehe. it's based from a novel dba? i'll look for a copy. :)i don't attend high school reunions. that's how much i hated my highschool. haha. but i go out at least twice a year with the ones i'm closest with. 😀

  11. i like your friends' theory on why people ~also get depressed on a "happy holiday" like christmas.i don't believe ~love is the root cause why the season is even on the surface tho. i believe it's warmth. the need for warmth. no, seriously. 🙂

  12. victor, di ba sabi nila happiness is a state of mind? so we can be happy all the time. 🙂 pero i love this theory. i'm sharing this link sa facebook account ko. 🙂

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