Happy the Man…

“Happy the man who demands no more from life than what life spontaneously gives him and who guides himself with the instinct of cats who seek the sun when there is sun and, when there is no sun, find what warmth they can.  Happy the man who renounces his life in favor of the imagination and finds pleasure in the contemplation of other people’s lives, experiencing not the impressions themselves but the external spectacle of those impressions.  Happy the man, then, who renounces everything and from whom, therefore, nothing can be taken or subtracted.

The rustic, the reader of novels, the pure ascetic:  these three are the truly happy men, because they have all renounced their personality – the first because he lives by instinct, which is impersonal, the second because he lives through his imagination, which is oblivion, and the third because he does not live and, not yet having died, sleeps.”

-Fernando Pessoa

~ by Scott Hamilton Peters on December 4, 2008.

One Response to “Happy the Man…”

  1. Instinct, imagination, and sleep. These are Pessoa’s fundamentals for a happy man. Should we adopt them? Is this a viable definition of happiness: renunciation?

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