"Thankfully you sit by the warm stove, thankfully you assure yourself as you read your morning paper that another day has come and no war has broken out again, no new dictatorship has been set up, no particularly disgusting scandal been unveiled in the worlds of politics or finance. Thankfully you tune the strings of your rusty lyre to a moderated, to a passably joyful, nay, to an even delighted psalm of thanksgiving and with it bore your quiet, flabby and slightly muzzy half-and-half god of contentment; and in the thick warm air of a contented boredom and very welcome painlessness, the nodding half-and-half god and slightly greyhaired half-and-half man who sings his muffled psalm, look like twins." (STEPPENWOLF by Herman Hesse)
What have you sacrificed as an offering to the "god of contentment" in the belief that perhaps contentedness could bring inner peace, stability and ultimately lead to happiness? Was this visit to the pseudo-place of paralysis where there is no pleasure nor pain, just peace, worth the price of your lobotomy?
Beware, contentedness may lead to complacency. Personally, I'd rather bear discomfort, disappointment, dissatisfaction while hungrily devouring each and every moment of life. Why tarry at the sanctuary of stagnation when you can be a Steppenwolf? Of course, the price of this is isolation and the queasy feeling of swerving from a perpetual state of frustration to extreme delight. Still, that is much better than to be a smug half-living half-dead zombie going through the motions of a shallow, "happy"-like existence.
So the next time you feel comfortably content and a little too smug for your britches perhaps it is time to break down the barriers and experience real emotion. Kick down a bureaucrat's door, smash an illegally parked car, dye your hair purple, have an affair with someone half your age, turn your life upside down and try again...Punch the face of that god of contentment!
FINE PRINT: THE PURPLE COW ACCEPTS NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE CONSEQUENCES OF ACTIONS TAKEN IN THE SPUR OF A CONTENTEDNESS BREAKDOWN FOLLOWING THE READING OF THIS BLOG POST. IF YOU MUST BLAME SOMEONE FOR STIRRING THE CALM WATERS OF YOUR CONTENT EXISTENCE, BLAME THE STEPPENWOLF! BETTER STILL, READ IT!