I have an unusual statement to make. I am a man who believes he is happy. What makes it unusual is that a man who is happy seldom tells anyone. The unhappy man is more communicative. He is eager to recite what is wrong with the world and he seems to have a talent for gathering a large audience. It is a modern tragedy that despair has so many spokesmen, and hope so few. I believe, therefore, that it is important for a man to announce that he is happy, even though such an announcement is less dramatic and less entertaining than the cries of his pessimistic opposite.
Why do I believe I am happy? Death has deprived me of many whom I loved, dismal failure has followed many of my most earnest efforts, people have disappointed me, I’ve disappointed them, I’ve disappointed myself.
From all this evidence, could I not build up a strong case to prove why I am not happy at all? I could, but it would be a false picture; as false as if I were to describe a tree only as it looks in winter. I would be leaving out a list of people I love who have not died. I would be leaving out an acknowledgement of the many successes that have sprouted among my many failures. I would be leaving out the blessing of good health, the joy of walking in the sunshine. All these things are as much a part of my world as the darker worries that shade them.
The conflict of good and bad merges in thick entanglement. You cannot isolate virtue and beauty and success and laughter and keep them all from contact with wickedness and ugliness and failure and weeping. The man who strives for such isolated joy is riding for a fall; he will wind up in isolated gloom. I don’t believe anyone can enjoy living in this world unless he can accept its imperfection. He must know and admit that he is imperfect, that all other mortals are imperfect, that it is childish to allow these imperfections to destroy all his hope and all his desire to live.
Nature is older than man and she is still far from perfect. Her summers do not always start promptly on June 21st, her bugs and beetles and other insects often go beyond her obvious intentions, devouring the leaves and buds with which she has adorned her countryside. After the land has remained too dry for too long, she sends relieving rains, but frequently they come in torrents so violent that they do more harm than good.
Over the years, however, nature keeps going on in her imperfect way and the result, in spite of her many mistakes, is a continuing miracle. It will be folly for an individual to seek to do better; to do better than go on in his own imperfect way, making his mistakes, riding out the rough and bewildering,exciting and beautiful storm of life until the day he dies.
I don't agree that "[i]t will be a folly for an individual to seek to do better."
We should still strive to do better despite the many constraints imposed on us. The hallmark of human spirit is that we are never stopped by the apparent reality but always seek to excel. The development of our civilization proves that. This is essentially what freedom means. We never cease to pursue freedom.
Nature is older than man and she is still far from perfect. Her summers do not always start promptly on June 21st, her bugs and beetles and other insects often go beyond her obvious intentions, devouring the leaves and buds with which she has adorned her countryside. After the land has remained too dry for too long, she sends relieving rains, but frequently they come in torrents so violent that they do more harm than good