The Illusion That is Happiness

Happiness, folks, remains one of the most vague statements that philosophers have never tackled adequately since the beginning of time. I think it is a subject that puzzled even the greatest of minds like Socrates and Plato who seemed to understand human character more than anyone else who has ever set foot on planet earth. For the modern man, happiness remains elusive, pursuing it has become an exercise of futility. But folks, what is happiness?
I dont know much about happiness in the manner that Budhist and Diaoists would explain. However I know its not a fleeting set of emotions that comes when we are having our way in whatever engagement we are involved in. It is a state of well being in joy and in sorrow that surpasses human understanding. But may be, just may be, we never find it when we look outside. Its all in the mind. The mind is the most powerful organ. Its better than the brain. Sadly, we dont have surgeons that can operate on the mind. God left that duty to self.
Have you asked yourself then, if happiness comes from within, why do people take their lives? Why should someone kill themselves if they can play tricks on their mind and have everything in control? May be the secret to happiness is not found in the grinds of daily life. May be its found in the uncomfortable silence that we are never willing to embrace. May be meditation is missing in the life of a majority of folks. Most people live life without ever experiencing true happiness. Tragedy!
I have questioned the essence of life many times folks, especially when I see young people failing and succeding at attempts to end their lives. Some subject themselves to the discomfort of hanging on a rope for several minutes and dying fron the effects of sever deprivation of oxygen, some take rat poison and bleed themselves to death while others take paracetamol or some funny foul smelling agricultural drugs to complete their mission. In attempts that fail, it is usually lack of precision. I have learnt of precision of death in my training as a future doctor. A nice dose of sodium propofol, suxamethonium and potassium chloride can give a peaceful transition to the next life. It gives characteristic ECG patterns which ultimately leads to asystole. Precise, right? That is  what lethal injection consists of in countries where human beings are executed if they are deemed not wise to live. Saddam was hanged on a rope, his was a traumatic fracture of the dens of the axis bone, what is described as the hangman’s fracture. You never live with that kind of a fracture.
But folks, you dont use turpentine to kill yourself, it will make you uncomfortable and buy you some time till help comes. It has no precision. It smells bad. You dont want to smell bad in the morgue. But if you want to die, take enough dose of it, like five litres or so. I warn you folks, killing oneself never solves anything, it makes things worse.


So last week was a toxicology week for me,. On Friday, a man was brought in, a financial consultant in a huge firm in town. He was brought in by a distressed family that looked so worried that you could tell what their brother or son meant the whole world to them. The family looked well off too, the kind that never goes to public hospitals. So it was a worried well off family.


Turpentine poisoning has no specific antidote, you only manage the symptoms as and when they arise. The guy had vomitted quite a huge amount of the poison, so lavage was not going to help him much. We ensured he was breathing properly and that he was well hydrated. Water sorts the kidney pretty well in poisoning. It has a dilutional effect on the toxins. The guy recovered uneventfully. There was more to his life that needed a psychiatrist to sort out. He looked like he had everything that an avergae middle class man would have except joy. His wife was no where around but i was made to understand that they usually fight, fiercely for that matter. In such a case, you can only extrapolate what happens in his life. You can never be sure and you can never believe hearsay.
His story was just a digression, happiness does not come with more money, more women or more power. More only brings misery. If you ask me, unhappiness is the side effect of civilization, man has conquered the earth and the stars but has failed to conquer himself. Again folks, lets speak out as i have said time and again in this blog. If we have to die, lets not be guilty of our own murder.

Author: Dr. Kiaye Oliver

I am a dreamer. I love medicine. She is generous. I am also in love with literature, she makes me see the world the way I want to and sometimes the way it is.

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