Joy by Zadie Smith | The New York Review of Books

20 Dec

I read this wonderfully intimate and beautifully introspective take on the subject of joy vs. pleasure by the renowned author Zadie Smith, and I felt the need to share it with you.

The closing paragraph definitely struck a chord with me, especially in relation to the topic of mourning. One particular sentence has stayed with me since reading the article.

“It hurts just as much as it is worth.”

Whether we are mourning for a deceased loved one, or a lost lover, nothing rings truer than these nine words in relation to the impact of joy on our lives. Even when a person is plagued with a broken heart, not for one instance will they regret loving the person they have just lost. Because they recognize how fortunate they were to ever experience the joy that came from their shared love. The rarity of such a joy confounds us all and keeps us on our toes. We are forever searching it out, in hopes that we will encounter it again.

I do agree with the author when she refers to joy as being dangerous for its recipient, and that there is a certain madness to readily embracing and welcoming this emotion into our lives. We actually strive to achieve it, and are often envious of others whose lives appear to be brimming over with it. But with anything we cherish to this degree, there is always that risk of complete annihilation when we lose it. And yet we are continuously seeking it out. We’ll jump out of our safety nets, and wager away our sanity on high risk odds. All in the pursuit of joy.

Joy: It is madness. It is dangerous. And it is stunningly beautiful when we are lucky enough to rub elbows with it. Even if its effects are fleeting, and the end result is a lingering sadness; on retrospection we will always say that it was worthwhile.

Joy by Zadie Smith | The New York Review of Books.


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