Happiness is temporary; all scenarios lead to loss

Posted by Cristian Livadaru on Saturday, December 30, 2023

Happiness is temporary; all scenarios lead to loss.

If you know me, you know I really love Rick and Morty, there’s so much more to it than just being a cartoon. There are a lot of deeper messages in many all episodes. The last episode (season 7, episode 10) is one of them where they dropped this:

Happiness is a trap. It can’t last forever. Let’s say you meet the love of your life, well, it’s still gonna end. It’s inevitable, whether by the slow pull of a disease, or the shock of loose footing on a hiking trail, whether it be the corrosion of two personalities that reshape each other until they’re incompatible, or maybe the old stranger in a bar who says the things that need to be said, to that person, that night. The point is, happiness always ends. Best case scenario, think about this. Best case is that you die at the same time.

I found myself drawn to rewatch it repeatedly, much like how you might compulsively touch a paper cut – each time, it stings, yet there’s a compulsion to experience that pain again.

This has been going through my head for over a week and I’m trying to come up with words to describe my thoughts which most of the time turns out to be more complicated than expected. For starters, I completely agree with this whole statement. There is no “happily ever after”, life doesn’t work that way.

Avoiding the trap?

This doesn’t mean happiness is impossible or that you should avoid the trap of happiness. To quote the song “Wir sind verloren” (we are lost) from the Austrian Band Wanda. Yes, I know, a post written in English quoting a band singing German, with Austrian dialect… It’s just been in my head the last few days after the concert and it really fits for this purpose.

Halt dich an deiner Liebe fest Wenn keiner abstürzt, war sie nicht echt

Which translated means “Hold onto your love, if none of us crashes, it wasn’t real”

How boring would life be if as emotional being you would just go for the safe option to prevent yourself from this trap? Does it suck to fall into the hole of darkness and suffering? Sure … but the dullness and boredom of a life without deep feelings seems pointless and a waste of time.

Maybe I’m stuck in my own kind of trap, searching for something in life that’s just wishful thinking, implanted in my mind by songs, movies, and books, maybe this is also why I’m drawn to music, movies, and books that end in suffering and pain, because just like life … it will end in suffering and pain. To be more precise, I’m not searching for something that has to end in suffering, but there is this possibility of it ending in suffering, or rather as the title of this post inclines, it will end in loss either way, and doing it anyway because there is so much more to gain than any loss or suffering could undo.

Take for example These books:

  • The Little Snake from A. L. Kennedy. This whole book can be summarized by the quote from the Rick and Morty episode, just take this line:

But Lanmo knows that the day will come when he can no longer visit Mary, when his destiny will break them apart, and he wonders whether having a friend can possibly be worth the pain of knowing you will lose them.

Or these movies:

Sure it’s fine to watch some dull movie from time to time, have some entertainment, nothing wrong with that. But the true movies and books that stick with me are as mentioned the ones that bring up all kinds of feelings. But thinking about the inevitable ending is the wrong way to go about it. The fun part is the time before the ending, that time of happiness that creates stories and memories. If this period of happiness doesn’t exist, there will also be no suffering in the end, no stories, no joyful and painful memories, which bears the question: did it even mean something? What was the point of it?

To leave you with something more to think about:

If you could be really happy but knew from the start it would end in sadness, would you choose that happiness or would you avoid it?