Charles Spencelayh (1865–1958), Burning Zeppelin (Cuffley) Sept 3rd 1916,
oil on canvasboard
Dancers on a Plane, 1980–1.
oil paint and acrylic paint on canvas and bronze frame, 200 x 161.9 cm
Projet de tapis / Design for a rug
(Vu sur la photo de 1924 du bureau de Walter Gropius / As featured on the 1924 photo of Walter Gropius’ office)
Essentially, happiness is what makes us realize that we are human beings. Euphoria is what allows us to understand how we are unique as individuals. Okay, I’ll be more specific. Happiness is about what one might expect - riding horses on the beach, getting married, petting a puppy, hearing “I love you“, etc. Prototypical stuff that everyone is raised to like and want. Part of human nature and such. Euphoria, on the other hand, well euphoria is sexual climax, being humbled by a gorgeous view, using psychoactive substances, getting mentally stuck inside of the music that one hears, etc. Everyone pretty much reacts to the happiness stuff in similar ways - butterflies in the stomach, chills up and down the spine, etc. But it’s about how one react to the euphoric things that let one know who one really is, as I feel that this spectrum of euphoric reactions is far more expansive.
Ask me why I like any of the euphoric things I do, and I am going to talk your ear off forever (case in point, this report). But ask me why I like happiness, well, my answer will be pretty much “well, I mean, I’m human and we humans like that stuff.” A good amount of people, I believe, live lives in which they just want some illusion of “happiness,” not actively creating their own recipes for good feelings but instead trying to follow predetermined models for ‘a happy life’ and don’t ever bother to understand or develop their own personal relationship euphoria. And while those may be moderately happy people, well, they’re missing out. It’s my basic belief that pursuing euphoria AND having a solid philosophical or moral understanding as to why one is pursuing euphoria is a large goal for a small subset of people. And sure, maybe while I am not as ‘happy’ as those I pass on the street, I might have the better understanding of my emotions and what could cause them to be maximized.
It doesn’t have to be about taking drugs, as drugs are simply just the easiest example to cite (…) The good feelings from MDMA or psilocybin (as opposed to good feelings from more socially acceptable practices) are like mountains to molehills. But then again MDMA or psilocybin can also make molehills appear as beautiful creations. I know that a lot of people are critical of drug use and furthermore are skeptical about their contributions to personal happiness. And though I am not going to forcefully try and separate people from their established beliefs, I do feel bad for all of the people who will grow old never knowing just how good the good times can get, how deep the deep thoughts can be, and why people like me will put these glowsticks around our necks, lollypops in our mouths, and then sit there absolutely motionless on a couch for an hour.
Once I felt euphoria, I never forgot it. It never fades away. It’s always in my back pocket.
And I feel like once I really figure out how to cover such ‘human’ things with my understanding of euphoria, then I finally will live a skeletons-in-the-closet free life, and it will be the most powerful thing that I will have ever felt when it happens. Because that’s what true love should be - not psychological battles about who says “I love you” first, but instead about learning about the euphoric drives and passions of another human being.
Paul Klee, Rising Star | Aufgehender Stern, 1931. Oil on canvas. Photo Robert Bayer, Basel
Frederick Frieseke - The Garden Parasol