Traces of Happiness: The Fleeting Attempt to Catch Happiness

Trace and the Always Already Deferred

Questioning the mundane leads towards an unravelling of meaning. This is evident when one starts to ask questions about things you took for granted. Why is when you consciously start to think about the mundane everyday things that it starts to unravel into something almost incoherent and incomprehensible? It is not like there is not something to grasp here, it is only that the attempt to grasp at something withers and fades away. Once something enters this bizarre world, it floats into obscurity. There is always already something else. There is no simple. There is no “one” single unchangeable, coherent, understandable thing. There is always already an other, something else. It is already in a defined space, but that space is also already in a defined space – always deferring meaning onto something else. Once one stop, when there is no observation, no looking, one might for a moment observe a stable meaning but like the present moment this is already a fleeting moment.

The present is never really because once you experience or see the present for what it is, it is already something else, deferring something “positive” onto something else. It is already not there, leaving not a void but a question plagued by millions of other questions – what was here before? This is something akin to Derrida’s trace, something left behind in all of the others. But this “before” is also something already but nothing as well. “What was here before?” already presupposes that there was something – and that something, which is now missing, needed to be something which something else deferred meaning to. Always postponing, deferring, never stable, always at loss. There is an infinite network of deferring, never a brief moment of stability. There needs to be a trace somewhere, some stable meaning, a platform from which the first meaning came from, but this is a problem: there should be something before that stable platform, an already deferred meaning. Always already deferred. Never a stable meaning from which we can start.

A sentence, before we even finish, can have a different meaning. In fact, not “can” but must. It must have a different meaning, but this “must” should not be read as something that ought to happen – there is no must’s or ought’s – there is simply. There is – there never was because that implies a starting point, a stable platform. This cannot be, there can only be an already deferred, an already meaningful but not stable point. But this point, as said, is already deferred, it is thus not even a point, it is but a brief present already deferred.

Happiness as Deferred Meaning

Happiness is mundane, everyday, something taken for granted. But as soon as one starts to grasp towards it, to catch it, it slips one’s fingers. It is deferred, already not, already something else. It does not leave behind a void, but a question: “what was here before?”. Reaching towards it, one might for a brief moment grasp something, but this is only a trace, a remnant, something left behind from the already deferred. This moment is frustrating, the object at hand is not in reach, so close but already not here. Only the trace is left, the question of what could have been. Happiness is like this, always already deferred, only leaving behind a question of its trace. Traces of happiness is in everything, as if it left behind a trail one might follow. A trail of traces. Traces of happiness. One might ask now; can you follow these traces? Where do they lead towards? Might there be happiness at the end of the road? Might one find the origin of this illusive happiness? No, as if a shout comes from the depth of the void, no. It cannot be found, because it does not exist. There is no beginning, there only is. Happiness is the original trace, left behind in everything, there is only the trace of what might be.

There is hope, one might shout back into the void. No one is listening, but shout one must indeed. Happiness is not some end destination. There is no beginning, there is only always an already deferred, but happiness does not lie behind the veil, but it is the veil. Happiness does not become; it is not something you can grasp. Happiness is the trace; happiness is the always already deferred. Searching for happiness, grasping at this allusivity, is happiness itself. There is nothing at the end of the road, only a trace, a question. The search is endless, because by searching more traces, more questions, are created. This constitutes the happiness. Suspending the search stops the deferral, the traces vanish. Happiness is the trace, there is no trace of happiness.