In praise of the melancholic and sane. In defence of sobriety and penance, for they that revel in euphoria are but addicts soon to regret their ways.
Someone asked me a profound question and it took me years to figure out an answer that was rational;
"What must we do to be happy?"
I kept trying to find the answer, maybe when I grow up, being the president would make me happy, maybe if I have so much gold and silver perhaps I can be happy, or if I can snare the attention of the most beautiful woman then surely I would be happy. These are all wrong answers to the question.
The rational answer is not to be happy, the last thing you want is to be happy or in a state of euphoria. The last thing one should pray for is excitement. I discovered that we make the most regrettable choices when we are happy and excited, we suspend our rational minds when in bouts of euphoric madness.
I discovered that religious people are happy when in prayers, they suspend rational thoughts and make terrible decisions.
"2016 is my year of abundance, I will buy a 2016 Range Rover, Amen!" Yet you are a trader making less than $50 a day.
At this point, we are happy and optimistic, seated upon our high thrones of irrationality. We suspend rational thoughts and at the moment of euphoria, one is temporarily insane, so divorced from reality just like mentally ill people feel.
The last thing you want to do is make a decision when excited or happy, ideas don't come during euphoric moments, ideas come through the long spells of depression and sobriety and when you have figured out a puzzle then you get into a lunatic phase known as euphoria.
Archimedes was an Ancient Greek genius who discovered an important principle in hydro-physics that was unsolvable at the time.
"How to marry mathematics with water displacement"
This problem was difficult and Archimedes spent days of contemplation or sober reflection then he stepped into a bathtub and discovered that the water level displaced was proportional to the weight of the submerged object and at this moment he shouted;
While running down the streets of Syracuse in, you guessed it, in nakedness!
Archimedes solved an unsolvable puzzle through sober reflection and melancholy because he was finding it difficult to achieve but then on discovering that principle, he became too excited and left his rational faculty in the bathtub, running down a busy street naked screaming "Eureka!, Eureka!"
The same thing happens to us in relationships, we want sex and we get all too excited that we suspend our rational sense when in the process of getting something so mundane bothering on trifle. At the point of excitement we make terrible decisions that lead to regret as the brilliant German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once said;
"Directly after copulation, the devil's laughter is heard."
Schopenhauer was correct because before sex, we are excited and happy, we spend too much, we agree to buy a car or a gift. At that moment her lingerie is spotted we suspend rational thinking and become excited and happy but has anyone ever felt that euphoria after orgasm?
After orgasm, the madness stops and you become melancholic and rational.
"Why did I promise a new car?"
"Why was I so excited, she is my brother's wife!"
"Oh no! What have I done, she is only 16."
At this moment one is fully rational and melancholic, no bouts of euphoric madness, just rational thinking and the sense of being grounded in reality and responsibility.
How many children do you see that are depressed and melancholic?
You hardly come across them.
How many children do you see being excited and optimistic about life?
Almost all of them.
When I was a child, I know I wanted to be the president of my country while somehow juggling with the task of being the first astronaut. These were moments we weren't melancholic and grounded in reality, we were happy and we made unrealistic decisions only to regret it when we are in mid-life. I can't be a president of Nigeria, that's unrealistic at the moment because I am an adult now and rooted in reality through the rationality that comes with melancholy or sobriety.
This has taught me that it is better to sleep over important decisions, don't make decisions when happy or excited, reserve important life choices for the glorious moments of depression no matter how fleeting it may be.
Happy people don't make good choices, that's why African women prepare a very special and delicious meal when they are in for the killing. They make delicious meals for their husbands and fool them with niceties that the man is tricked into that happy moments of irrationality and madness then they hit you in the head while you are euphoric;
"Darling, you remember the second car you promised me(we know nobody promised anything.), this one I am driving now has a flat tire!"
Then the mad man sprawls his tired feet with joy that comes from a full stomach, he belches these words of regret;
"Nne you can have anything, remind me tomorrow morning to write a check!"
These are moments of irrationality and a melancholic man wouldn't make such bad decisions but we all too often make them because we are addicted to excitement and happiness, we fail to see the wisdom in melancholy and calmness.
I told someone I am happy being sad as I constantly seek a rational mind, I don't make decisions while excited neither do I make important decisions while in an unbalanced mental state precipitated by love and affection or feel-good chemical substance like alcohol, opium etc
That's what drugs do, have you ever gone to a pharmacist or drug dealer and said;
"I want a drug that makes me sad and depressed?"
In medical practice, the most efficient anti-depressants are those that increase serotonin levels by either increasing its release or preventing re-uptake of this happy/feel-good biochemical. These neurotransmitter is increased when we fall in love, excited and, during sex and orgasm. A happy state divorces human beings from reality and affect our decision making abilities.
So in praise of the sober, melancholic and depressed. Be proud of your gloomier self for that is the moment we are truly sane and grounded in the realities of life.
By Darren Idongesit