What is happiness?
A dialogue between Luce the squirrel and Emilies the blue berries. Luce thinks that males organize everything according to their nature and prefers to be independent so that she can live without concessions. The Emilies believe that life in society introduces value judgments that are often harmful to the simple and natural aspirations of human beings and that happiness is nevertheless dependent on others.
Luce: hello Emilies, how are things at Socrates? Have you found happiness?
Emilies: Luce, what a pleasure to see you! Yes, everything is fine, why this question?
Luce: you know I don’t trust males so I wasn’t sure Socrates understood you and that worried me. The Simones and I had agreed that we would set you free if necessary.
Emilies: don’t worry, we feel good here and we know our life will not be in vain, does that sound like a good thing to you?
Luce: in any case it is better than not feeling well or at your place, but aren’t you missing anything?
Emilies: no. We are admired, we know that our presence is a source of joy, we know that our desires will be fulfilled, we matter to someone, what more could we ask for?
Luce: freedom, the idea that everything is open and possible.
Emilies: we lived a long time free and in expectation but the horizon only opened up on already known landscapes and they were more and more empty. We needed change, we got it and we have no regrets.
Luce: you gave up your freedom to be with one only? !
Emilies: yes, you can say that; we needed a tie because happiness, for us, is in sharing. But you, dear Luce, don’t you want to change?
Luce: no, I like to be on my own and I don’t want to be trapped by just one passerby. This is happiness for me, being able to always choose.
Emilies: if you can live like that, do it, but we no longer attracted the lust of those for whom we were destined, so how could we be happy when none of our actions counted?
Luce: do you mean that for you, happiness depends on others? Could your actions not satisfy you for themselves?
Emilies: no, they must be shared and have meaning for others or we feel useless. We were happy to know that we were pretty and on our way for a nice trip and that seemed to be enough for us but the day when the ones who were to come and pick us ignored us, there was no more possible happiness since we no longer had meaning.
Luce: yet Socrates picked you up to decorate his house, nothing more. He loves a plant of his kind.
Emilies: he also loves us in his own way and above all, he allows us to achieve our destiny. It’s also a source of happiness.
Luce: but isn’t happiness above all in the way we look at ourselves?
Emilies: sometimes we want to smile and we do it because our worries have gone, don’t you think it’s great? Our life as it is now is enough for us. For the rest, we don’t ask ourselves any questions.
Luce: I’m sure I never want to be in a unique relationship because being burdened with a permanent companion is more worries than advantages.
Emilies: if it’s fine with you, that seems enough. But don’t forget that you have children and that is also how you realize your destiny. For us, colonizing new lands is essential and Socrates allows us to do it since he took us to another place.
Luce: yes, you are right. I admit that sometimes taking care of children alone is a burden, but I enjoy it nevertheless. For the rest, I am loyal to my choices because they are based on my experience, not on values imposed by society.
Emilies: it therefore seems that happiness is relative to each individual and always a little selfish but it still needs others, present or not, to appear.
Ecureille: I think we agree on the fact that it is in the satisfactory relationship that we establish with the rest of the world.
Emilies: so that will be our definition and we will see if it needs to be revised later!
Luce: the appointment is made but if our choices are the right ones and correspond to our nature, we will undoubtedly keep them!
Happiness can take different forms but it is always linked to a harmonious relationship between being and doing.
For Luce, it consists in maintaining her independence even if she recognizes that others, in the form of her children, have also a big part in it.
For the Emilies, happiness is above all in the sharing that gives meaning to their existence
How is the influence of others always present in our conception of happiness?
What difference is there between happiness and satisfaction?
Want to think a little more? See, for example, some chapters of The Confessions where Rousseau explains that happiness resides in everyday life and is within the reach of all if we know how to grasp it.
Want to contribute to these dialogues? Write your comments and questions below.
Want to know more about the tastes of Luce and Emilies? Their favorite books are in the domain library.