Thursday, May 12, 2011

Oh, It's Just the Pursuit?

     Often we as a people walk around claiming we have the right to be happy.  It's become the basis of so many of our decisions- what will make us happy.  If we're a few years into a decision and we decide we're not happy, we believe we should change that, because we deserve to be happy.  We have the right to be happy.
     And then we remember it's not happiness we have an unalienable right to, it's the pursuit of it.  We have the right to chase after our tails until the day we die, but we do not have the right to ever catch it.

     Oh.  Fuck it then.

     Also, while I'm thinking of it, people seem to think they have the right to many more things than they really do.  I think people confuse rights with kindness, desires, or wanting-to-not-feel-icky.  Example: in college, a classmate made the argument that everyone has the right to not get their feelings hurt.  Not true.  That has nothing to do with rights.  You might not like to have your feelings hurt, and it might be a more wonderful place if people didn't get their feelings hurt, but it is not an inalienable right.

     Whenever I hear a sentence that begins with "I have the right to..." I remain cautious.  I generally respond with a little mouse noise and "Do you?  Really?"

      "I have the right to life!"  Yes, you do.

      "I have the right to liberty!"  Yes.  Absolutely.

      "I have the right to pursue happiness."  Agree.

      "I have the right to never be criticized for anything I do."  Ehhhh.  Do you?  Really?

        No.  The answer is no, you don't have the right to do anything you want.  You don't have the right to be a singer.  You want to do it, and you think you have the right because you think it'll make you happy and you think happiness is a right.  It's not, bitch, it's the pursuit of it.  So what you have a right to do is schlep along like the rest of us, grasping at the ever elusive goal  that might, but probably won't, make you happy.    

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