On the Topic of Happiness

Letter #27

Peace, everyone.

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I’ve got a long day ahead of me today so I am digging into some unpublished archives to share for this week’s newsletter. Here is some short prose from a long form project on desire I am working on. Hope you all are well, insha’Allah. Enjoy and have a beautiful Sunday and week!

Love,
B <3


A conversation I had with some friends, was mediated by my phrase —
“We’re just trying to be happy.”

This conversation was recorded, yet I cannot bring myself to listen to it.

I’d like to be happy.

The topic of happiness is one not relevant to children.
One can read their happiness on their faces.

It’s that or the other.

Adults need to fight for their happiness.

(If you’re reading this, chances are that I wasn’t happy at the time it was written, during edits and publication, maybe.)

The purpose for our detriment, is only due to ourselves. Life can be cruel, phantasmal, and sporadic, but if there is one thing ‘just’ about it, it’s the graduality. Fear, mistakes, even desire, all function as a gradient, beginning as one thing and gradually altering itself into something new and greater (or not).

“Repel the thought, for if you don’t, it becomes an idea. So, repel the idea; for if you don’t it will become a desire. So, fight against that (desire), for if you don’t, it will become a determination and a passion. And if you don’t repel that, it will become an action. And if you don’t replace it with its opposite, it will become a constant habit. So, at that point, it will be difficult for you to change it.”

- Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyyah

What does acting on a desire not bring you? _______________

Happiness.

Oh well, I can tell you what makes me happy though.

I’m happy when:

1. The entirety of my family is under the same roof.

2. The sun is out, and I find myself skating down a busy city street.

3. I reach the masjid and find all my brothers there.

4. I wake up in the night and feel the urge to pray.

5. There is no weight on my chest.

6. I discover tears within my canvas.

7. When I submit to the page, pen-first.

8. When my various personalities become one.

9. When she can love me just with her eyes.

10. Reaching any point of no return.

11. Knowing this happened because of that.

12. When my brother asks me for money.

13. When my sister asks me for help.

14. Remembering the truth is always in my hands.


While I am digging into archives I may as well share some photos from my archives as well —


Films I’ve Watched Recently:

Putney Swope
By Robert Downey Sr.

I don’t have time to get into it rn as I am in a rush and won’t have time to write. But man is this one a ride. WILDDDD. Cool. Hilarious. Exploitative, of course. Just plain crazy lol. I haven’t had time to question why it was directed by a white man just yet but I’ll get to that eventually.

The Big Lebowski
By The Coen Brothers

“The Dude abides” or something like that lol. Niggas who take pride in their laziness are so funny to me. This really is a fun film. A pure LA Adventure.

Slacker
By Richard Linklater

I am copying and pasting my Letterboxd review… here -

“This film does a fantastic job of capturing the zeitgeist of its time and place. You notice we mostly focus on these vignettes of young adults, people in their early to late 20s trying to figure out their next steps in life but we also are shown the perspectives of a few older characters, people who are not only nearing death but are also in near physical vicinity to it, such as the man in the suit then returning from his step father’s funeral. What we find is that despite the goals and aspirations and conjecture that these young people indulge in, their beliefs and assumptions of what various aspects of life may mean or represent, there is a reminder all throughout of this fact that it doesn’t matter if you stay in the same city and “rot away” all your life, or if you get out and see the world and experience life to the fullest, it will all eventually come back to one thing we all must face so it doesn’t matter what you really go through. It’s a matter of what you do with the time you have. You could rob a house and shoot the homeowner when they discover you, or you could surrender the gun and join them on a walk. You could kill yourself or run away when your stepfather abuses you and your mother, or you could persist in life and see to the day when you can dance upon his grave. There is a great deal of persistence that is shown through many of these characters, an admirable stubbornness and lust for life that we find, they trust in their beliefs and will represent and fight for them, no matter what people around them think feel or believe. It’s inspiring in truth, and despite the simplicity of it all, is very profound, for the majority of people today lack the type of conviction these characters present and I think that’s why I love it so much. What better world to live in then one of people with deep convictions despite their absurdity, rather than one where people are constantly bending and breaking in what they consider to be their truths?

This film was beautiful, and inspiring, especially being that Linklater made this as his first feature film all on his own. A true gem that we are blessed to have. Can’t wait to rewatch it.”

All in all, watch this film!


Recent Dictionary Entries:

Bevatron - The Bevatron was a particle accelerator — specifically, a weak-focusing proton synchrotron — at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, U.S., which began operating in 1954. The antiproton was discovered there in 1955, resulting in the 1959 Nobel Prize in physics for Emilio Segrè and Owen Chamberlain.

Yo, Picasso - Yo, Picasso, is an oil on canvas painting by Pablo Picasso, which he painted in 1901. It is a self-portrait of the artist that depicts him in his youth, aged 19. The painting was created at the beginning of Picasso's Blue Period.

Vebjørn Sand Da Vinci Project - The Vebjørn Sand da Vinci Project built a laminated-wood parabolic-arch pedestrian bridge in Norway over European route E18 in Ås, Norway, in 2001. It was a partnership between the Norwegian Public Roads Administration and Norwegian painter and artist Vebjørn Sand, who headed the project.

Debonair - confident, stylish, and charming (typically used of a man)

Ecclesiastical - of or relating to a church especially as an established institution.

JMW turner - Joseph Mallord William Turner RA, known in his time as William Turner, was an English Romantic painter, printmaker and watercolourist. He is known for his expressive colourisations, imaginative landscapes and turbulent, often violent marine paintings.

Carte du Tendre - The Map of Tendre was a French map of an imaginary land called Tendre produced by several hands. It appeared as an engraving in the first part of Madeleine de Scudéry's 1654-61 novel Clélie. The map represents the path towards love according to the précieuses of the time period.

That's all from me for this one. Thank you for reading. And please drop a like, comment, or even send a personal reply to these emails if you feel inclined to. I'll be here. 

B <3