BOOK ONE: INTRODUCTION
The highest goal of a human being is happiness; but not many reach it. An epidemic of failed marriages and partnerships, suicides, soaring rates of addiction, eating and mood disorders suggest there are a lot of unhappy people. The problem is often compounded by feeling shame in our sadness, fear and loneliness. We feel a need to hide it. We even go out of our way to mask it from others. On social media we try to appear happier than we are. And we lie, frequently, each day, when our response to, “How are you?” is “Fine”. We try to convince the outside world we're happier than we are, while often internally convincing ourselves we’re worse than we are. Is unhappy and ashamed really the best we can do as humans? Or, as John Lennon asked in “Instant Karma”, “Why in the world are we here? Surely, not to live in pain and fear.” We make choices on how to act in the world with the purpose of producing happiness but our choices aren’t working.
To think we will achieve supreme peace or happiness would be just as fucked as thinking we are terminal pieces of shit. Although enlightenment can be attained, it’s near impossible. Our world is not set up for humans to become amazing people. It's set up for humans to become addicted to people, places and things in the enchanting race for fulfilling one’s dream.
The world, however, is not some living hell. There are incredible humans creating profound goodness in every corner of the earth. Humans who otherwise would be mistaken for angels if not for their lack of wings; but are they happy? Are they perfect? No.
And those folks who would otherwise be mistaken for devils if they had horns, are they only bad? No. There are stories that span the globe for centuries with folks who have been awful people only to have done incredibly kind things. Finally, what is good or bad? What is happiness? That depends on you, as you will come to see.
When we say “fuck you” to the perfect person we wish to be. When we say “piss off” to the hopeless asshole that we see ourselves as at times. Then we get closer to who we are.
We are both the person who returns someone's wallet and the one who cheats on a test. We can be both great parents and shitty spouses, we can be sober from drugs and alcohol and also eat like shit. We love our pets but eat other animals. We help people with their issues, but can’t help ourselves. We want others to act in accordance with our preferences, but we can’t follow our own rules. We can be health care professionals who save lives and kill ourselves. We demand truth from others and lie to ourselves. We want to protect personal choices that suit our beliefs and take away other’s choices who threaten our views. We believe in freedom, yet, imprison ourselves and others.
When we embrace our personal hypocrisy and incongruence. When we lose the shame and guilt associated with being phony and become transparent. Then we can be all that we are and own, accept and yes, love it. That is working class enlightenment, friends. Feeling comfort in your own skin, as you are today, is happiness, which comes from being able to say fuck perfection and fuck being broken: we are both. If you own that, right now, even just for a moment, you will taste sweet freedom. Yes, you are the problem, but you are also the solution.