It was about forty yards to the gallows. I watched the bare brown back of the prisoner marching in front of me. He walked clumsily with his bound arms, but quite steadily, with that bobbing gait of the Indian who never straightens his knees. At each step his muscles slid neatly into place, the lock of hair on his scalp danced up and down, his feet printed themselves on the wet gravel. And once, in spite of the men who gripped him by each shoulder, he stepped slightly aside to avoid a puddle on the path.
It is curious, but till that moment I had never realized what it means to destroy a healthy, conscious man. When I saw the prisoner step aside to avoid the puddle, I saw the mystery, the unspeakable wrongness, of cutting a life short when it is in full tide. This man was not dying, he was alive just as we were alive. All the organs of his body were working - bowels digesting food, skin renewing itself, nails growing, tissues forming - all toiling away in solemn foolery. His nails would still be growing when he stood on the drop, when he was falling through the air with a tenth of a second to live. His eyes saw the yellow gravel and the grey walls, and his brain still remembered, foresaw, reasoned - reasoned even about puddles. He and we were a party of men walking together, seeing, hearing, feeling, understanding the same world; and in two minutes, with a sudden snap, one of us would be gone - one mind less, one world less.
After masturbating to morally questionable material
When my friends and I finally decide where to eat
The pursuit of happiness is as old as modern civilization. Books, elixers, religions, and philosophies are all devoted to it. Happiness is a quest, an obsession, and a universal aspiration.
But what does it take to be unhappy?
In some ways, it’s easier than happiness itself. New research and much life experience offers a simple recipe for genuine discontent.
Buy things you can’t afford or don’t want. Either choice is a sure fit for unhappiness. When you buy things you can’t afford, you go into debt, which limits the other choices available to you. When you buy things you don’t want, you lie to yourself about the real source of your unhappiness.
Compare yourself to others. The love of comparison is the root of much misery. Therefore, judge your success or worth based on other people, especially those with a different background from you. Do this on a continual basis, always looking for a new idol or competitor in which your ideal unhappiness lies.
Take no joy in the journey. Focus only on the destination without appreciating the ride. Fail to celebrate small successes, and neglect to pause for reflection on how far you’ve come.
Respond instead of initiate. Take no responsibility for your schedule or preferences. Let other people set the agenda for your life. Take the lead for your schedule from your Inbox, voicemail, or someone else’s demands.
Allow other people to determine your values and priorities. Set no compass point for your life. Drift in the wind. For best results, allow your values and priorities to shift as you waver between bosses or role models.
Refuse to challenge yourself. Take it easy and settle into routine. Choose to believe that all stress is bad and seek to live as relaxed a life as possible.
Whine and complain to anyone who will listen. Explain how the world isn’t fair and how you would do things differently if you were in charge. Bonus: this practice also allows you to contribute to other people’s unhappiness.
Focus only on yourself. Refuse to forgive. Hold on to grudges. See the worst in people. Do not give out free lunch.
Settle. Accept things as they are no matter how unsettling they might seem. It could always be worse, right? Live in the complacency of your situation and refuse to fight for something better.