The Conflict Between Happiness and Intelligence – English Essay
Today’s world is set up in a way that makes most people blind to the truths of life. People are too busy living to notice what in reality is going on around them. But does that make them less happy than the people aware to
the reality? The conflict between happiness and intelligence is very well illustrated in the book The Sea-Wolf by Jack London. Humphrey Wan Weyden, a gentlemen and a writer, gets into a shipwreck while taking a trip on a ferry-steamer. He is picked up by a sealing schooner, dictated by the strong and brutal captain Wolf Larsen. It turns out that he is a well-read thinker and a philosopher. While both characters are intelligent, Larsen has been exposed to the facts of life, while Humphrey, also known as Hump, lives in world of illusions. Larsen’s philosophies that are revealed in the book, bring out the miseries of being intelligent. It is not possible for one to become as happy as they could have when exposed to the facts of life.
Every person’s goal is to be happy, throughout their lives. Many refuse to admit it and maybe think they live for a higher cause. But really, what is the point of living if you will not be happy? The way Wolf Larsen put it, “delight is the wage for living. Without delight, living is a worthless act. To labor at living and be unpaid is worse than to be dead.” (The Sea-Wolf by Jack London, p.177) Being happy is all we strive for, it is the nectar of life. It is also important to understand this, because otherwise one will live their whole life striving to be “successful”, subconsciously thinking that money will bring them happiness, and be disappointed. If a person lives to themselves, and at every choice they make, consider if it will make them happier or not, they will make much more rational decisions. Unfortunately it is hard to come to this conclusion about happiness without separating what is real and what is not. The society tells us quite a different thing: If you live for yourself, you are an egotist, and if you live for others, you are Mother Theresa – bullshit. One does what one has to, to be happy.
Today’s society is purely an illusion. People live their lives according to what the society tells them to. It is merely a game, in which one plays only a small part in. This is impossible to truly recognize, without understanding the facts of life, the realities, the truths. All a person is, is what he thinks, and what he physically feels. “Cogito ergo sum,” was the way René Descartes worded it. How can one be sure of anything else but themselves thinking? The universe is indifferent, and that is not so hard to prove, anybody that believes otherwise has convinced themselves of just another illusion.
After accepting the realities, one can not resume to the life of illusions. When once a person was made happy by making money or being with their loved ones, their reason now tells them that it is quite meaningless. Mind dictates the feelings more than the feelings dictate the mind. One can never extract as much joy out of intelligence, as they could out of feelings. “He who delights the most lives the most, and your dreams and unrealities are less disturbing to you and more gratifying than are my facts to me.” (London, p.177) It is upsetting how the human mind works. Search for the knowledge only reveals that one is better off without it. Although one has to admit, it pays off a little bit in a certain superiority it gives the person, above all dreamers.
The human mind is always under question by those who have enough intellect to question it. But to address the question if it makes one happier, the answer is a big NO. It is much more rewarding to just play along with the game, for the emotions gained, good or bad, are a thousand times more satisfying. And when realizing this, all that is left is a thought well expressed by Wolf Larsen: “I envy you, I envy you.” (London, .178)