Happiness is the Longing for Repetition
Are our lives like a straight line or a circle?
I am Kenta. I share my learnings on improving the quality of experience through this newsletter.
"Human time does not turn in a circle; it runs ahead in a straight line. That is why man cannot be happy: happiness is the longing for repetition."
I would say our daily life is rather like a series of circles. We get up, eat, do some stuff, and go to sleep.
But we try to make it straight. We hate repetition because it gives birth to boredom.
To avoid it, we chase novelty. We want our lives to run ahead in a straight line.
Young people move to the city looking for something new. Because they want to stretch their human time to the limit to make a straight line.
It's not that wanting novelty is a bad thing. We want to explore and experience every bit of the world. Why not.
But, the purpose of novelty is to savor the freshness of the experience. Not the chasing of it.
You want to chase to experience. The mean cannot replace the purpose. Chasing something is not experiencing it.
Over time, we seem to learn that the point is experiencing itself.
And when we become old enough, we 'retire' from chasing unfamiliarity.
I don't know if that's because we have no other choice but to do so, or we learn to do so. Maybe it's both.
The task of chasing novelty becomes more difficult because every unfamiliarity turns into familiarity the moment we discover it. So we can't help but learn that novelty is scarce and everything is repetition.
In an old cafe, I was talking with my friend about what it would be like to be old. Many older people were spending the afternoon on a weekday there.
It's hard to imagine going to the same local cafe just to spend time there every day. That lightness seems too heavy.
I don't know what it's like to be old simply because it's impossible to know how it feels to be old when I'm young.
But if everything comes down to repetition, longing for it is a superpower we all would like to have.
"happiness is the longing for repetition."
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