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Regis Auffray

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The (actual) Happiness Machine – Inspired by Ray Bradbury
by Regis Auffray   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Sunday, July 25, 2010
Posted: Sunday, July 25, 2010

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An article by Sha'Tara, local writer and friend.

The (actual) Happiness Machine – Inspired by Ray Bradbury

            [thoughts from     ~burning woman~     by Sha'Tara]

Ray Bradbury wrote a short story called "The Happiness Machine" in which a man seeks to bring happiness to all the people of his small town.  This garage inventor tinkers for many weeks and finally completes his machine after neglecting his wife and children and not incidentally, causing much unhappiness all around.  But it was all worthwhile, he thinks, when finally the machine is ready. 

Out of desperation, and some anger, his wife insists on trying out the machine.  To his great shock, she comes out of it crying.  Oh, the beautiful things I saw there, she exclaims, only to discover it's all fake.  I didn't go to any of those places, didn't actually experience them, not will I ever.  I just saw them, then had to leave them to return to this place, this reality of basic drudgery and poverty.  So what's the point?  she asks her husband.  I am sadder now than before I was in the machine because now I'm thinking of those places, and things, I can never see or have. 

Predictably, he doesn't understand it.  So he goes in the machine and attempts to "see" what she sees.  He pushes his machine so hard that it overheats and catches on fire, eventually destroying itself and the garage it was in.  Then the inventor gets it: he already had his happiness machine.  It was all around him, in his life.  It was just a matter or realizing that it doesn't get better, and if it does, one has to make it so by working at it, not by avoiding it.  His wife, of course, already knew this.  And the children naturally knew it also, they never questioned it.  The questioning comes later in life, fuelled by advertising and endless System lies that feed covetousness and greed, which translates into selfishness and bestial activity.

Every weekend, especially now in the height and heat of Summer, our freeway is jammed packed with people driving away from the City like rats abandoning a sinking ship.  All of them are going away, hauling, driving, pulling, dragging, their happiness machines.  Car and truck loads.  Trailers, open or closed, full of stuff.  Campers and motor homes.  Boats, canoes, kayaks, bicycles, horses—every type of happiness equipment imaginable, is trundled out of the City and taken out for a short airing to pollute some hillside, some lake shore, some waterway somewhere.  So many happiness machines clog the roadways that traffic is often snarled, crawls or comes to a standstill.  Tempers flare.  Illegal moves abound.  Accidents happen.  Yet, it seems, many of the happiness machines make it to their destination, are "plugged in" and people ride in them for a few hours until it's time to pack them up again and repeat the process of driving back to the hated City, to lock up (or store at some cost) the happiness machines so they aren't stolen, and return to some dead-end job, while dreaming of the next outing in the happiness machine.

But where's the happiness?  Even those who own the loans, mortgages and collect insurance premiums on the happiness machines aren't happy at all.  They are afraid.  They know it is all an illusion and it can collapse at any moment: the machine is already overheating and can catch fire at any moment.  They've seen it happen already to some of the machines and they are scared.  Likely no amount of fire fighting skill or heroism on the part of the fire fighters can stop the happiness machine from being destroyed completely, along with the garage it's stored in. 

Where then, is the happiness?  What if, just for one day, people looked through their window and saw their reality with a different eye?  What if what they saw was this: This is my life, and at this moment, this is as good as it gets.  If I want it to be better, all I have to do is help someone else make hers, or his, better, should they want to.  My happiness machine can be compassion, understanding, caring.  No need to take out loans on a machine that only brings me illusions of happiness.  No need to worry about theft insurance: if someone wants to steal my compassionate nature, they are welcome to it.  I can get more.

It's Sunday morning.  There are a couple of people I know who need my help today and that's just what I am going to do when I shut this down.  Go out there and do something nice for somebody.  Leave them with a good feeling.  That's the kind of world I want to live in and that's my happiness machine.  Not terribly revolutionary, is it!

Reader Reviews for "The (actual) Happiness Machine – Inspired by Ray Bradbury"

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Reviewed by Jerry Engler 8/18/2010
Excellent article and train of thought, Regis. The accomplishment is to determine to be happy right where we are, and contribute to happiness in the right here and now of our surroundings. Wouldn't it be beautiful if so many people decided this that your city became a joyful place. As I have learned more and more to practice this, I have become much happier. Let today and the things of today suffice for today.....Jerry
Reviewed by Jon Willey 8/3/2010
Happiness is where you find it Regis. The majority of humankind is always seeking some magic elixir, a silver bullet, a panacea of ecstasy. Unfortunately they always look in the wrong places. Great analogy here my friend. Thanks for sharing it. May peace and love dwell in your heart forever. Jon Michael
Reviewed by Regino Gonzales, Jr. 8/2/2010
This is a good one Reg. A thief once snatched my sister Marget's bag and ran. Marget turned around and shouted, "Happy Birthday!".

Reviewed by Patrick Granfors 7/31/2010
There is something magic about giving of one's self and the direct link to happiness. Patrick
Reviewed by Ronald Hull 7/30/2010
I still find getting my body out of the city and into nature much happier than my routine and constant urge to help.

Reviewed by Tom Hyland 7/28/2010




Reviewed by Annabel Sheila 7/27/2010
Wish there really was such a thing.....kindness goes such a long way...

Reviewed by - - - - - TRASK 7/25/2010
Its Nice Thought But Really How Many People Even Think It I'll Do Something Nice For Or Help Somebody Today?

Credit For Thought Nice Write!

Reviewed by Kathleen McDonald 7/25/2010
I like your reasoning here. If we each tried to make one person happy each day what a wonderful place we would be living in.

Reviewed by Debby Rosenberg 7/25/2010

I grew up with Ray Bradbury in my house, my father an avid reader...tho I don't remember this story it perfectly describes the illusion of reality the majority are experiencing, never seeing the truth of themselves beneath it all...For a more modern author I recommend Eckert Tolle and "The New Earth", which describes how to recognize illusion from truth so well, as more awaken to the truth...we indeed will see a New Earth.

Enjoyed the article very much.
Reviewed by JASMIN HORST SEILER 7/25/2010
I've yet to see an article of yours I didn't like Regis, but this tops it all so far, what truth in such happy thought provoking words.
If this would only sink in, the world be so much a better place, and so much happier, I doubt though that the consumer society would last long, the economy would collapse on which so much happiness is based, bringing more unhappiness, if you know what I mean ha.
Good one Regis! Jasmin Horst
Reviewed by Mary Coe 7/25/2010
Gets one to thinking. Very interesting read. "Go out there and do something nice for somebody" That is the kind of world we should all be happy to live in.

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