Friday, February 15, 2008

P.S. (Happiness)

P.S. Of course you know that I adamantly oppose the main thrust of the article, which asks, "Is it better to be alone, or to settle?" and answers with an exhortation, "Settle!" Settling is a terrible idea as well as unethical and heartlessly cruel to the person for whom you are "settling."

I might feel differently about this if death were permanent, since 60 years of being moderately well-matched is better than 60 years of standing alone, but your one and only one opportunity to shape the character and destiny of your spouse is... before you choose who he (or she, in my case) is. The trick is to realize that each requirement brings a corresponding cost, possibly a multiplicative cost, in terms of how long you need to look to find a person with such qualities. For minor qualities, like a sense of aesthetics, it may be a smarter bet to pick someone who has the important (fundamental) qualities you're looking for, and pay an additive time cost to develop the minor qualities, e.g. by spending a few years taking him to plays and operas (and being prepared to write off the quality if such excursions fail to "take").

The only way settling strikes me as a smart bet is if you either 1.) are playing a finite game (i.e. believe this life is all you've got) or 2.) have ONLY minor qualities on your list.

Trusty, dusky, vivid, true,
With eyes of gold and bramble-dew,
Steel-true and blade-straight,
The great artificer
Made my mate.

Honour, anger, valour, fire;
A love that life could never tire,
Death quench or evil stir,
The mighty master
Gave to her.

You know, Jenn, sometimes you amaze me. That poem is exactly like you.

"The presentation or 'gift' of the Holy Ghost simply confers upon a man the right to receive at any time, when he is worthy of it and desires it, the power and light of truth of the Holy Ghost, although he may often be left to his own spirit and judgment." --Joseph F. Smith (manual, p. 69)

Be pretty if you are,
Be witty if you can,
But be cheerful if it kills you.

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