Sunday, October 13, 2013

Joy or Satisfaction or Something Else?

by Bert Carson


Oh, somewhere in this favoured land the sun is shining bright, The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light; And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout, But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out. 
from Casey at the Bat - by Ernest Lawrence Thayer

I've been thinking about this post for more than a week–maybe even two weeks.  I wanted to make sure I got it right so I haven't rushed it.  It's fitting that I opened with the final verse from "Casey at the Bat," since I am blocking this out while watching The Detroit Tigers play the Boston Red Sox in game two of the American League Championship Series.  

At the end of seven innings, Detroit led Boston 5 - 1, and there was almost no no joy in Boston - at least no joy from the game.  And then a grand slam tied the game in the bottom of the eighth inning, and once again there was joy in Boston.  The joy meter jumped even higher in the bottom of the ninth when Boston won the game.  

That happened an hour or so ago, and I'm sure  by now, the emotion that some Bostonian's mistakenly labeled joy, is gone.  Not because the series is tied and will continue Tuesday in Detroit but because joy cannot be derived from winning or getting even or bettering someone.  At best, the emotion we experience when that happens is satisfaction, which is both fleeting and unsatisfying.

Think of it this way: Satisfaction is ego based and by its very nature temporary.  When I searched for images of satisfaction, I found that at least 80%  were statements like this: Satisfaction guaranteed or 100% guaranteed.  If you think about it, you'll realized that is pretty much a meaningless statement.  It might be better to guarantee one would not be dissatisfied.  Satisfaction or dissatisfaction can only be defined by the one who experiences it, and usually by the time it's defined, it's long gone.

Joy, on the other hand, cannot be given, earned or guaranteed.  It's ours when we release our attachment to control, dominate, win, be right, etc.  In that moment of release, joy washes over us and carries us to heights we'd forgotten, in our struggle to hold on to our attachments.