One book that changed my life:
Memoirs of the devil
Don’t rush Googling it. It is not literature worth the precious time of an adult. Somehow my mother when I was 10 dropped off this book name suggesting I’d like it. I so helluva did.
I mean, I was 10 and there was the actual devil in it and a curse and a story that just went on and on, and it was filled with so many weirdos and interesting people. And everyone was so full of vice.
It’s a two volume book, at least that’s how it was published then, I don’t recall that much about it, but the point is this: the main thing going on was that a whole string of males in a family sold their souls to the devil for riches and power. When the father died the child took the curse on. The one thing which could free any of them was to ask from the devil of one thing that would truly make them happy. Faust-ish, but I was 10.
Anyway, this guy, a kind of Sandra Brown of the 1800’s, nailed it for me with one particular scene: a choice where the devil, stunned and bored about the failure to see their own good of the family’s males for so many generations, goes out of his way to make everything perfect. He transforms into a fly and flies into the nose of a notary to assume mind control of the guy so that he’d sign a huge amount of money to this girl which our main character kind of liked, knew she liked him, was positively sure they’ll love each other, she was pretty and the new money would definitely transform her into this amazing lady, her fortunes with his title would be the perfect thing happening for him and his debt filled ledgers, she wanted him to like her, he only had to agree to marry her.
But he chooses not to.
Then the book goes on.
I was like, wait a minute, this was supposed to be the end of the book. What is going on here? I mean at 10 I wasn’t thinking that love is happiness, but it’s just that the whole thing was exactly, 100%, totally perfect! And yet the main character chooses not to go for it.
I needed a whole week to comprehend this. I couldn’t read on. I stayed up at night and imagined myself in that position, over and over. I even read back afraid I’ve missed something.
Then it hit me:
Happiness Must Come From Serendipity
He felt it wasn’t his happiness.
Like if it just randomly happens to you, then it is a gift that found you, you this particular soul, and you, of course you deserve it, it makes your uniqueness recognized.
When serendipity gives happiness we feel it as if, finally!, the universe noticed us.
But if it is arranged and fixed and laid our straight, if it isn’t served by the providence, even your custom tailored Michelin chef grade perfect recipe for happiness is unpalatable.
When the goal is happiness, work becomes struggle.
The struggle for happiness.
No pursuit required.
For true happiness.
No struggle either.
Thanks Todd, I secretly hope more people will share their one book with the one experience that changed their life :P