a starting list

today was my birthday and the official beginning of project happiness. how many reasons do i have for happiness today? infinite. so here is a list of the highlights:

personal birthday crowns made with pink lace and zilver rickrack
raw banana cream pie with almond date crust
noteworthy but sad first attempts at homemade sushi
friends who know to give me books
darling aprons that prove two is always better than one
little girls fascinated with dying crickets
nightgowns on hot nights
Guy Fieri
learning that Deli Express sandwiches are cut with water and baby carrots are not grown that little
my bike, at night, in the heat
being one year further away from jr. high and one year closer to old age


the synchronicity of wikipedia

i am trying to believe in synchronicity. by synchronicity, i mean the belief that if you open up yourself up to it, life will take you to interesting, often wonderful, and always meaningful places and moments. it seems to me that happiness and joy are simply matters of proper interpretation, of deciding that things are positively meaningful, that things are more than coincidental. i am trying to believe.

as part of my search for belief, i did a little wikipedia research on the topic. (synchronicity may not bring me happiness, but wikipedia always does.) and it took me on a wonderful and fascinating journey through matters of belief and disbelief. i thought's i share

my first stop, or course, was synchronicity (defined as the experience of two or more events that are causally occurring together in a meaningful manner. to count as synchronicity, the events should be unlikely to occur together by chance.") which led me to:

divine providence (one defintion being: God's loving care for man and the need for confidence in Almighty God.) which led to omniscience (which has two clever and fascinating distinctions: inherent omniscience - the ability to know anything that one chooses to know and can be known, and total omniscience - actually knowing everything that can be known) and Russian avos (which goes to show the proximity of faith to sloth).
coincidence: (a duality of incidences) which led me to nonlocality (which in physics is defined as "the latest example of phenomena that seem coincidental, but are in fact causal. The claim is that this and other scientific and mathematical conclusions can extend causality to every aspect of existence." going to show once again that the rational is just another side of the irrational) and Paul Kammer (who advocated both the Lamarkian theory of inheritance and the theory that all events are connected by waves of seriality, unknown forces which cause what we would perceive as just the peaks, or groupings and coincidences), fatalism (the freedom of the cage), and randomness (the confinement of chaos).

ideas of reference (aka delusions of reference: such as, people believing that events (even world events) have been deliberately contrived for them, or have special personal significance for them, seeing objects or events as being set up deliberately to convey a special or particular meaning, and thinking persons or groups of persons are plotting against them and that precautions must be taken to avert the threat. see also: solipsism, religious belief) which lead me to apophenia (the experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data. as narrative is one of our major cognitive instruments for structuring reality, there is some common ground between apophenia and narrative), which led me to Forer effect (aka the Barnum effect or the reason tarot cards confirmed everything i already believe about myself), confirmation bias (bringing to mind: "And as always, coherence in contradiction expresses the force of a desire." -Derrida), and hindsight bias (i occasionally refer to this as the holy ghost).

global consciousness project (the plot of a nicholas cage movie, but with smart people and computers) which led to skepticism (those who "assert nothing, but only opine") and precognition (aka hindsight bias).

pauli effect (a reference to the apparently mysterious failure of technical equipment in the presence of certain people) which led to street light interference (from which i suffer, making nightly walks all the more treacherous).

littlewood's law (which may or may not be a wonderful law: "Littlewood's Law states that individuals can expect a "miracle" to happen to them at the rate of about one per month." does the fact that this is a mathematical calculation derived to prove the banality of miracles make it any less miraculous or encouraging?) which led to contingency (which, interestingly, led nowhere else).

ontology (which asks the wrong questions) which led to metaphysics (which presumes to much), existence (which can be defined as "simply being modable to continuing time or continuing as itself in time", making the infinitude of God all the more complicated), and nihilism  (which I knew would take me to Nietzsche, whom i love, not because i am angry and think i am smarter than everyone else (as I find the case with most Nietzsche fans), but because he captured the beauty and failure of man better than the even the Bible manages to: "At the bottom, what the investigator of such truths is seeking is only the metamorphosis of the world into man. He strives to understand the world as something analogous to man, and at best he achieve by his struggles the feeling of assimilation. Similar to the way in which astrologers considered the stars to be in man’s service and connected with his happiness and sorrow, such an investigator considers the entire universe in connection with man: the entire universe as the infinitely fractured echo of one original sound‚ man; the entire universe as the infinitely multiplied copy of one original picture — man. . . . He forgets that the original perceptual metaphors are metaphors and takes them to be the things themselves.").

serendipidity (a very good friend of chemistry, pharmacology, physics, astronomy, and inventors. my favorite being corn flakes: accidentally discovered by the Kelloggs brothers in 1898, when they left cooked wheat untended for a day and tried to roll the mass, obtaining a flaky material instead of a sheet) which led me back to synchronicity and coincidence.

cosmic ordering (the belief that individuals can use their desires to "connect with the cosmos" and make those desires become reality) which led me to The Secret, prayer, meditation, and wishful thinking.

monism (any philosophical view which holds that there is unity in a given field of inquiry, where this is not to be expected) which led to the more interesting Neutral Monism (the metaphysical view that the mental and the physical are two ways of organizing or describing the very same elements, which are themselves "neutral," that is, neither physical nor mental. This view denies that the mental and the physical are two fundamentally different things.) which led to William James (who said, "Truths emerge from facts, but they dip forward into facts again and add to them; which facts again create or reveal new truth (the word is indifferent) and so on indefinitely. The 'facts' themselves meanwhile are not true. They simply are. Truth is the function of the beliefs that start and terminate among them.").

and, finally, monadology (which i do not understand, but leads to these lovely and astonishing conclusions:  a) Everything exists according to a reason (by the axiom "Nothing arises from nothing"); b) Everything which exists has a sufficient reason to exist (i like this one); c) Everything which exists is better than anything non-existent (since it is more rational, it also has more reality), and, consequently, it is the best possible being in the best of all worlds (by the axiom: "That which contains more reality is better than that which contains less reality," (an axiom tv networks apparently live by). Furthermore, that the “best of possible worlds,” then, is that “containing the greatest variety of phenomena from the smallest amount of principles.”)


joy precedes knowledge

i spent the morning with my niece, Claire. we had a tea party. we read books. we watched PBS together, in the big chair, with her square body tucked in my arm. i fell asleep for awhile, while the TV taught her to read. a, b, c, d . . . and a story about the goose who laid the golden egg. we then shared sips from my water bottle until her mother returned.

the funny thing is, claire does not acutally know how to get water to come out of my bottle. nor does she know her letters, or how valuable gold is, or that hot tea is not served with ice. how foolishly i believed that knowledge is requisite for joy.


consciously seeking happiness

debbie, this is for you. i am beginning a blog.

yes, that's right, i will now actually be writing on this blog that i have had for four years. (and of course that implies that i will be reading your blogs as well, debbie. you can stop hassling me about it now.)

so why the sudden change of heart? why the abdication of my staunch ethical opposition to blogging? one answer: a most severe quarter-life crisis.

turns out that i am turning twenty five on monday. i recognize that to many that does not sound that old. and in fact, it is not the size of the number that that has terrified the blog opposition right out of me. it is, rather, what the number connotes. twenty five is the age of an adult, the age of someone self-sufficient and existing, the age of a person whose life has arrived and who is now going about the business of living it.

yet, i am turning twenty five and i am still anticipating the arrival of my life and the version of myself i thought i would be. as a result, i am neither self-sufficient nor existing. i am still waiting for something other than this, for someone other than i am so that life can begin. and most importantly, i am still waiting on the happiness that was supposed to arrive with this supposed life and self. somehow twenty five has arrived without the arrival of those things i have put everything else on hold waiting for. and now my grace period is over, i cannot wait anymore. this is my life and i am what i am.

therefore, i am done waiting. in particular, i am done waiting for happiness to arrive from somewhere else. i have been generally very unhappy and lonely for as long as i can remember. but it has always been bearable because of the anticipation of future happiness i was sure would arrive with the rest of my life. but now that i recognize that life is not coming, i can either surrender to unhappiness and loneliness, or i can simply choose to be happy now, to live now, to be the person i want to be now. i can choose to stop waiting. and that is what i intend to do.

twenty five will be the year of living. and more importantly it will be the year of being happy. it will be the year of what i like to call Project Happiness. and as the very official name Project Happiness implies there are specific guidelines that need to be followed and goals that need to be met. i will not bore you with them here. however, the final guideline/goal for project happiness is the reason for this blog, so i will post it here.

it states:  "i will find one reason or way to be happy every day and share it with others."

this blog is where i will fulfill that goal. every day i will record at least one reason or one way to be happy. i did not understand until recently how consciously seeking happiness can actually make one happy, but that is what i will be doing here: consciously seeking happiness and trying to share it with others.