And the pursuit of happiness…

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (Constitution of the USA)

Glücksforschung, auf der Suche nach dem Glück, Hans im Glück, die Reihe ließe sich endlos fortsetzen. Dem biblischen Motiv folgend “Auf der Suche nach dem verlorenen Paradies” galt Amerika besonders um die Jahrhundertwende als “Land of all dreams” – eben das Einwanderungsland, verbunden mit allen nur möglichen Hoffnungen und Enttäuschungen: “The American Dream”.

Dass Glück nichts mit Besitz zu tun hat, wird zwar immer wieder behauptet, überzeugt mich jedoch letztlich nicht, müssen doch m.E. einige Rahmenbedingungen erfüllt sein, um ein Leben nachhaltig genießen zu können.

In der Literatur gibt es eindrucksvolle Beschreibungen von “Glücksmomenten”, die ich unterscheiden möchte von einem erfolgreichen und glücklichen Leben.

The now Australian citizen and ex South African author J.M. Coetzee won the Booker Prize with his novel Life & Times of Michael K , a book I am re-reading at present. It describes the dark days of South African Apartheit in Cape Town and the Karoo and tells the story of Michael, “blemished by a hare lip”, who “chooses to ignore the civil war raging around”.
The author describes the conditions under which he tries to take his dying mother back to paradise, which is a farm in the country they still remember. In the past they had found peace and sun and shelter and food and now they want to get away from the horrors of Cape Town and  get back to the place, where they originally came from. Let us call it home.
In Stellenbosch Michael has to take his mother into a hospital, where she dies. In this hospital doctors and staff are very busy, however there are some people who seem to care:

“You here for the stitches”? he inquired. K shook his head. The man looked critically at his face. Then he told a long story of a tractor that had toppled over on him, crushing his leg and breaking his hip, and of the pins the doctors had inserted in his bones, silver pins that would never rust….”You don’t know where I could get something to eat”, asked K. “I haven’t eaten since yesterday.” “Man”, said the man, “why don’t you go and get us both a pie”, and passed K a one-rand coin. K went to the bakery and brought back two hot chicken pies. He sat beside his friend on the bench and ate. The pie was so delicious that tears came to his eyes. The man told him of his sister’s uncontrollable fits of shaking. K listened to the birds in the trees and tried to remember when he had known such happiness”.

J M Coetzee has just released his new novel The Childhood of Jesus. It is about a man and a boy, both strangers in a strange land, seeking assistance from the authorities.

Auf der Seite BOOKWORLD | Australien fand ich diese Synopsis:

‘The child is silent. For a while he too is silent. Then he speaks. ‘Please believe me – please take it on faith – this is not a simple matter. The boy is without mother. What that means I cannot explain to you because I cannot explain it to myself. Yet I promise you, if you will simply say Yes, without forethought, without afterthought, all will become clear to you, as clear as day, or so I believe. Therefore: will you accept this child as yours?’ David is a small boy who comes by boat across the ocean to a new country. He has been separated from his parents, and has lost the piece of paper that would have explained everything. On the boat a stranger named Simon takes it upon himself to look after the boy. On arrival they are assigned new names, new birthdates. They know little Spanish, the language of their new country, and nothing about its customs. They have also suffered a kind of forgetting of old attachments and feelings. They are people without a past. Simon’s goal is to find the boy’s mother. He feels sure he will know her when he sees her. And David? He wants to find his mother too but he also wants to understand where he is and how he fits in.  He is a boy who is always asking questions. The Childhood of Jesus is not like any other novel you have read. This beautiful and surprising fable is about childhood, about destiny, about being an outsider. It is a novel about the riddle of experience itself.”

Buch ist bestellt | Ich bin gespant …



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