Thursday, December 03, 2009


the scale of things

recently i asked a vietnamese friend how happy he is on a scale of zero to ten. zero being a state of total unhappiness and ten the opposite. and he mentioned eight. that is a very high number to me and i'm rather surprised a vietnamese can have such a high level of happiness. i guess they don't give much truck to freedom of expression and all that and couldn't care less how the country is run as long as they can have enough personal freedom to get what they want.

and he basically gets what he want which is chiefly- like most people in the rest of the world want -enough money and enough sex. and in vietnam sex isn't too much of a problem as long as you have enough money. the goat has at least two young mistresses less than half his age that i know of and he just bought a usd220,000 house which he paid for in cash(!) . the house looks terribly crappy to me but it is in disctrict 3 of saigon which is the second most expensive district after district 1 so he is happy. it's the location man, he says.

but here's the thing. it always make me wonder what can make human truly happy. it could be that this vietnamese guy probably say his level of happiness is eight out of ten because i asked this question when he had just bonked one of his young ladies and she was sleeping on his lap (we were in a taxi out of tra vinh) but i've seen him looking gloomy at other times. on a different trip with him he mentioned that he just had a 'big war' with his wife. i should've asked what his level of happiness then.

but when all is said and done there's probably nothing much that can be done. one day you're happy and the next you may not. happiness is just a state of mind and there are infinite ways how one try to achieve this. the problem is to maintain this fucking state of mind. i do try. and when i think about it, the reason why i keep on accumulating books which is growing at quite an alarming rate is just to keep my state of mind at a level of at least say six and most people who are bibliobibuli i read books purely for pleasure (for happiness). does it work? yes and no.

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