The Fable of the Unhappy People

The Fable of the Unhappy People

There is a Town.  It has Happy People.   It has Unhappy People.

What do the Happy People do?  They feel good about themselves, count their blessings, self-transcend, help others, approach life optimistically, seek out opportunity, are productive, and enjoy seeing others succeed.  The Happy Person asks, “How can I….?”

What do the Unhappy People do?  They don’t feel good about themselves, count how they’ve been victimized, never improve themselves, approach life pessimistically, covet what others have, resent those who are happy, while seeking to cut them down.  They seek to destroy, not create.  The Unhappy Person says, “If only….”

At bedtime, Unhappy People tell their children that they are just fine the way they are.  Unhappy People stop there, and thus their children are not given a reason to excel.

At bedtime, Happy People tell their children that they are just fine the way they are and that they can be more wonderful still if they continually strive to become exceptional.

There is a soccer league.  The Unhappy Person’s kid gets a trophy just for playing, a reward for being the same as everyone else, for being just fine the way they are.

The Happy Person’s Kid earns a trophy through extraordinary play, a reward for being exceptional, for being more than just fine the way they are.

At a town meeting, the Mayor suggests a Mountain Climbing Contest to raise money for charity.   Happy People know that the harder something is to achieve, the more pride the child will have in herself, and the more confidence that will be created simply by striving for that goal.  They love the idea.  They will donate their time and money to the event.

The Unhappy People question the value of reaching the mountaintop.  They ask that instead of a race to the top, it be a race to the first plateau.  They ask that bigger, stronger and faster kids start further behind the kids who are just fine the way they are.   They call this “Affirmative Action”. They will donate time and effort only if these terms are met.

The contest is cancelled.

The Happy People set up their own contest as it was originally envisioned.  They invite the Unhappy People to join.  The Unhappy People refuse to join because the event is unfair.  The Happy People hold the event anyway.  The Unhappy People try to stop the event because it is discriminatory.  They fail because the event is held on the private property of a Happy Person.  The Happy People raise lots of money and their children climb that difficult mountain, and get stronger, and learn that hard work results in exceptionalism, and an earned reward.

The Unhappy People’s children play video games.

The Happy People’s Kids grow up and do all the things Happy People do.  They all asked, “How can I…”, and accomplished great things.  Many have their own businesses.  Some are even CEOs!  They believed that a high-paying job, or respect in one’s field, or love, or true occupational fulfillment isn’t just handed to them, like the soccer trophy.

The Unhappy People’s kids grow up and do all the things Unhappy People do.  They all asked, “If only…”, and then went back to playing video games.  They never learned that hard work leads to success, so they are stuck in a minimum wage job.  Some work for the Happy People CEO’s!  They believed that a high-paying job, or respect in one’s field, or love, or true occupational fulfillment is just handed to them, like the soccer trophy.

The Unhappy Person realizes he is Unhappy.  So he goes to a support group.  There he meets with other Unhappy People.  They do not take responsibility for their collective situation. Instead, they complain.  They see all these Happy People who have all the things that were promised to them, and resent it.  The conclusion is obvious: They must bring the Happy People down to their level, as it is the only way to lift themselves up.

The meeting’s volume gets louder.  It’s postulated that not only did the Happy People not achieve what they did, they probably stole it.  Or cheated.  Or they had the advantage of a rich household and caring parents.   Then somebody shouts that things are much worse than they all think: the Happy People are the cause of the miserable lives of the Unhappy People.  After all, the Happy People didn’t build anything, someone else built it.   Why should the Happy People who caused the Unhappy People such misery be permitted to profit, to grow, to develop, or to create? The Happy People should be made to pay.

So the Unhappy People call for higher taxes, for restrictions to be placed on all the businesses that Happy People have built, and for CEO pay to be cut (Unhappy People have no idea what a CEO does or what he did to get that job, just that he doesn’t deserve what he makes – because every person should get a trophy, that is, be paid the same amount).

Somebody in the crowd mentions that he spent a year learning a new trade, and switched out of the minimum wage job to a better job.

He is kicked out of the meeting.

The Unhappy People always identify with the victim, because victims are by definition, unhappy.  So the Unhappy People believe the CEO is taking advantage of the Unhappy Minimum Wage Worker.  So Al Sharpton comes to visit.  So does Sandra Fluke.  The Unhappy People think these speakers are wonderful.

The Uninsured, the Foreclosed, and the Palestinians join as new members.  Atheists join the Unhappy People’s meeting.  Unhappy People welcome them because they refuse to believe a non-existent God loves them since He doesn’t exist.  They mock all the Happy People who happen to be People of Faith.

Somebody mentions that C.G. Jung said, “All religions…contain images that symbolize the conscious realization and fulfillment of an integrated personality. Loss of the spiritual connection to the soul, to a transpersonal realm, creates a “psychic split” or neurosis.”

He is kicked out the meeting.

Somebody suggests that it’s warmer in town than it used to be.  The Unhappy People create their own religion, which they don’t call religion, and name it “Global Warming”.  Al Gore is anointed as God.  The Unhappy People blame Global Warming on the Happy People, whose successful businesses caused it.

Having become adults, mired in Unhappiness, seeing no rescue coming and no trophy to be handed to them, the Unhappy People arrive at a Final Solution.  They create a Monolithic Entity, and place all their power into Its hands.   It is the only thing that can exact social justice on the Happy People for their ill-gotten gains.  Only this Entity can make everyone equal.   Only freedom-restricting laws can make things fair, because by restricting Happy People, they’ll be unable to use their skills to succeed.  If they can’t succeed, then they’ll be just like everyone else.  They’ll be just fine the way they are.

The Unhappy People will even generously give the Formerly Happy But Now Forced Into Being Unhappy People trophies, because all their businesses will collapse, and all their wealth will be taxed away.  After all, the Unhappy People aren’t bigots, like the Happy People are.  They are true to their word.  They’ll give them that same trophy, just for being in the town.

The Monolithic Entity is born.

It is called Big Government.

 

About Lawrence Meyers

I’ve written many words. Some of them have even made sense. Some of them have been spoken by actors in TV shows. Others have just been viewed and, likely, scoffed at. All the better.

New Yorker at heart. Devotee of Jung. Skeptic. Lover of cinema. Authority defier.

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