People are too perky. Or, rather, they lack sufficient respect for the other side of things. I can’t help thinking there’s something shallow in the vast bulk of happiness, or of the imitation and pursuit of happiness, and that we might all learn something from trying something else every once in a while.
This is probably connected somewhat to my frequent feeling that western art and culture has utterly lost the sense of the tragic.

  • In the deepest heart of all of us there is a corner in which the ultimate mystery of things works sadly…—William James, “Is Life Worth Living?”
  • Antigone
    • Wisdom is by far the greatest part of joy,
    • and reverence toward the gods must be safeguarded.
    • The might words of the proud are paid in full
    • with mighty blows of fate, and at long last
    • those blows will teach us freedom.
  • Shelley, “To a Skylark,” lines 86-90
    • We look before and after,
    • And pine for what is not:
    • Our sincerest laughter
    • With some pain is fraught;
    • Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.
  • Men of profound sorrow give themselves away when they are happy: they have a way of grasping happiness as if they wanted to crush and smother it, from jealousy-alas, they know too well that it will flee away.-Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, p. 279:
  • Chuang-tzu (tr. Giles)
    • Those who dream of the banquet wake to lamentation and sorrow.
    • Those who dream of lamentation and sorrow wake to join the hunt.
  • There’s a thing that you must know concerning the jewels of laughter. They always turn again to tears a fortnight after.—Thurber, The Thirteen Clocks
    category:behavior theory idea