Life at Large: the HUMAN condition

 Paraphrasing Janis Joplin: Happiness/Freedom are just two words for nothing left to lose.

Last week I watched a gripping, disturbing and captivating docudrama (with lightness at times) which was part of the VIFF screenings on….everyone…everywhere…everyday…appropriately entitled…human1

And guess what?

We’re pretty much all the same in the sense of what we all really long forsimple happiness.

I think that’s what first attracted me to the title of an Italian subtitled film that was on my list to see called “The Complexity Happiness.”  Without knowing a thing about the film I wanted to see it…because happiness is a complex thing and not so simple for many to attain after all, is it?

Because everyone wants something…else. We’re different in the sense of what we own, the clothing on our backs, our environment which of course encompasses our living conditions, language, family and our bank accounts. But other than that we only really want happiness.  And we all know by now that happiness does not come from having more money.  Money minus love equals emptiness.  End of story.  There’s only so much pleasure you can attain by buying more….things.  Having said that, there are more people in the world who have nada, but many are happy with what little they have if they have a strong family connection or for many, faith (in whatever they believe in).  And we would be stupid to assume having no money at all is a good thing even if your family situation is balanced.

Balance in life is important for everyone and how can you be truly happy if you’re always fighting to find a way to feed your family, find a job, look after yourself and those around you?

It’s a BIG WORLD out there and for the most part…it’s out of whack and completely and unfairly UNBALANCED.human2

WHAT I’VE LEARNED FROM THIS POWERFUL FILM overall is… the world we live in can be a pretty sad place!  I mean even checking out what’s going on with the U.S. election campaign…who would have ever thought it would come to this for the most powerful position in one of the most powerful countries?  It’s a bit of a joke like a Jerry Springer gong show. And just before this film I saw “American Honey” which deals with misfit millennials looking to find work and fit into society and have some fun. The list goes on.

So yes, it was depressing to see more than enough faces from all over the world talk about their personal living conditions and socio-economic situation.  It was meant to inform and upset from where we were sitting, in comfortable seats in a warm movie theatre with our popcorn & sodas.  On a more uplifting note, there are some feel-good parts to the film as well. And we find out that some of the monetarily poorest people on the planet are the happiest.

But even happy people are not constantly happy…life gets in the way.  How many people have you heard about in the past couple of years alone who are/were famous with lots of money who died from drug overdose, committed suicide, are or were severely depressed? How many are in rehab?

Maybe the secret to happiness lies in being contented. I think contentment counts for a lot.  It’s a good balance of being mostly happy with a few disruptions along the way.  We are, after all only human.

And unfortunately, unfairness is a way of life…for most.

Human trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-Retnj3TsA

This is my last VIFF review until next year but I want to let you know that my friend Ann Marie Fleming WON for her feature length “Window Horses” – in the best Canadian Film Category. I am so happy for her.  The wonderfully animated movie about poetry has an encouraging message.  I highly recommend seeing it.

We must take happiness in doses…BIG or small!

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