Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

The technique of happiness

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Man, we said the other day, is perennially unadapted and inadaptable. Hence he collides with the world, and therefore he has a world. Because the world does not exist except as it is an obstacle. Therefore man’s conduct would be inverse to that of the other animals: they adapt themselves to the medium; what he does is to adapt the medium to his person. In these circumstances, man’s destiny implies energetic and continual force—having to adapt the world to his constrictive essential needs which are precisely those for which he is an unadapted one. He has, then, to force himself to transform this world which does not coincide with him, which is strange to him, which therefore is not his. He must transform it into another world in which his desires will be fulfilled. Because man is a system of desires which in this world are impossible.

So to create another world of which it can be said it is his world, the idea of a world that coincides with desire, is what is called happiness. Man feels himself unhappy, and for that very reason his destiny is happiness. Well now, for transforming this world into the world which can be his and with which he can coincide, he has no other instrument than technique, and physics is the possibility of an unlimited technique. From this we come to recognize that physics is the organ of human happiness and that the renewal of this science has, in human affairs, been the most important event in universal history.

José Ortega y Gasset, An Interpretation of Universal History

Written by nevalalee

April 15, 2018 at 7:30 am

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