The greatest living comes from ignoring what you've learned. Shaking our fists at a disappointing world, we forget our expectations are unfounded. Existence isn't a temperamental Greek god keeping you out of the good parties. Worse perhaps, it's completely oblivious to our endeavors. The universe isn't anthropomorphic. We pound on the door, beg for it to open, and bang our heads until nothing separates our skull from wood, but there is no one on the other side. No one is ever coming to answer our pleas.

Disappointment, left unchecked, grows into a ferocious resentment. The former is inevitable, the latter is not. Common and heartbreaking, but not inevitable. Human interactions are destined for conflict. Needs are rarely mutually beneficial. Selfishness is the rule. And after a lifetime of abuse, being cheated and taken advantage of, optimism seems, at best, naive. We know too much to be happy. We know what people are like. The secret's out. We've seen how ugly the world can be, been disappointed too many times. Hope is masochistic.

But it is precisely what is needed. We must forget what we have experienced, ignore our intellect, bury instincts, and minimize experience. Any chance at happiness depends on a willful naivety. A voluntary renunciation of history's lessons and an attempt to forget every truth branded on our bodies.

It's no guarantee. In fact, it's likely reckless and debasing. But a life lived with one foot out the door never made anyone happy. Over the course of a lifetime, we amass a debt of misfortune and we seek someone to pay what is owed. Someone must pay the bill for the crimes of the past. But the debt is unpayable; it is a well that can never be refilled.

Is yours a life spent chasing tiny revenge? Or, can you be bold enough to be naive? To let yourself forget? To make yourself. To insist upon it. To lay like a turtle on its back in front of a chef. It is irrational and counter to every intuition. To offer oneself as vulnerable to the world is no small achievement. And though you'll likely spend your last moments watching the chef raise the knife, that life is preferable to one lived cowering in your shell.

Is anyone that brave? Could you ignore everything about human nature and wipe the slate clean for a world that hasn't earned it? Do we know a joy that isn't derived from what the world allows, that springs from an exposed heart? Do we even have a word to describe it? Is there a name for these magnificent creatures?

I can't think of one. But we all might be better served being born again naive. We've spent a lifetime to shelve it, but we need to dust it off. It might just be the key to a happiness that has lived too long in the back of our throat and not on the tip of our tongue.      

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