Recently I was reading Jordan Peterson's '12 Rules for Life'. (Actually, I'm going to rat myself out here- I was listening to it. I like to listen to books at the gym. Sometimes I snort or start laughing mid-squat at something in a book and other disciples of iron must think me daft but it has always worked for me as my doctor said- whatever you're doing keep doing it.) Anyway, he addresses how the pursuit of happiness is a pointless goal. Ha!, I snorted. That's exactly what Warrell thought in Hell as he worked.
Happiness! The word itself made me angry. Emotion as a goal. I snorted under my shield and fogged the lens. I couldn’t fathom why the founding fathers had included its pursuit. Why not honor, contentment, or dignity in death? I blamed Jefferson, the hippie. Happiness achieves nothing, creates nothing, not even its own permanence. Happiness never laid a brick or poured a wall. Happiness never founded iron or joined metal. Happiness never felled a tree or won a battle. Happiness was not in Glenn’s heart as he circled us.
If not happiness, what then? I was really up to speed now, tearing through my pile of parts. I hardly looked at each one. They jumped through my hands. Burning metal showered around me. The finished pile grew. There was progression. Progress? Progress towards the grave. We build. We do. We want and we suffer. But progress entails a belief in something outside, something bigger, a culture, a society, a civilization.