Do you sometimes find yourself laughing at things other people don’t find funny? It happens to me a lot. At first, I thought something was wrong with me and wondered what I could do to fix it. Then, one day, I realized that something really was wrong with me and … that was just great. No need to fix anything. I like laughing.
Let me give you an example. Here is something I read today. It comes from the Dalai Lama. I’m curious if you find it funny or not.
The profound pleasure that we gain from looking at a painting or listening to music shows how important it is for human beings to have inner satisfaction rather than the gross pleasures of the senses or the possession of material goods.
Nevertheless, even aesthetic satisfaction depends largely on vision and hearing, so it can only yield temporary well-being and this is not so fundamentally different from the satisfaction produced by drugs. When we leave the museum of the concert hall, our aesthetic pleasure is over and is replaced by the desire to experience it again. It never brings true happiness.
– Dalai Lama
What do you think? Funny? Or not?
I’m not saying there is no serious message here. I can make a few serious comments myself.
- Material goods really don’t bring happiness. I can tell you the story of an immigrant girl that went from growing up in a poor country and having a closetful of things, to moving to the US and amassing enough things to fill up a three-bedroom house (and its attic, and its basement), to finally getting rid of most said things. Now she can fit most of her possessions in a backpack (a large one that is) and you couldn’t convince her to change back to buying unnecessary things for anything in the world. I won’t tell you that story today because it would make a pretty long post in itself.
- I’m not sure what kind of gross pleasures of the senses the Dalai Lama is talking about, but I can think of a few ones that bring me a lot of inner satisfaction and true happiness. *wink, wink*
Since this is a G-rated post, I won’t talk about those pleasures. Plus, I was supposed to talk about the serious side of this message first, wasn’t I? Of course, it could be argued that pleasures of the sense are a serious issue, but I don’t want to digress here.
- I’ve never used drugs. Who has, right? Actually, I really haven’t but here is how I imagine that getting high on drugs is fundamentally different from getting high on Leonardo da Vinci or Damien Rice.
Drugs only satisfy you if you experience them directly. You have to put them into your body to reach a temporary state of nirvana.
Art is different. I saw paintings I loved. I listened to songs that moved me to tears. I guess you could say I got an aesthetic high out of those experiences. The thing is, I don’t have to actively look at those paintings or listen to those songs to feel good. I can remember that art. I can pull those images and those tunes from where my brain saw fit to store them, and those memories bring back the good feelings also.
I doubt that works with drugs. Can memories of shooting up that stuff make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? I don’t know. You tell me. Unless you haven’t used drugs either. Then we have to find someone else to get feedback on this theory of mine.
See? I can make serious comments but I can also see a lot of humor in the comparison the Dalai Lama made between art and drugs. I think it is smart, debatable, and funny at the same time. Everything a good comparison should be.
It even made me think of something else. Do you think that art dealers and drug dealers are not so fundamentally different, or am I taking the Dalai Lama’s statement a little too far here?
Funny or not, I enjoyed this little passage I read today. Now I’m going back to getting high on Damien Rice and working on my novel. Stay happy, my friends. Remember: aesthetical satisfaction is only a song or a painting away. And it’s cheaper than marijuana … or so I’ve heard.