I don’t know how many of you will remember Marvin the paranoid android from the wonderfully kooky Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy but his ‘catch phrase’ was ‘life, don’t talk to me about life’. So how did a robot with a brain the size of a planet end up like this? To use his own words:
“I didn’t ask to be made: no one consulted me or considered my feelings in the matter. I don’t think it even occurred to them that I might have feelings. After I was made, I was left in a dark room for six months… and me with this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side. I called for succour in my loneliness, but did anyone come? Did they hell. My first and only true friend was a small rat. One day it crawled into a cavity in my right ankle and died. I have a horrible feeling it’s still there…”
In reality, how different is Marvin’s story to that of many humans? We didn’t ask to be born and how many others of our species consider our feelings?
Marvin was super intelligent and yet all of his vast intellect was used in telling himself how awful his life was; that was his primary focus.
Oddly enough, that’s exactly what happens with humans too. If we decide to focus on all that is bad in life our brains and our bodies will react accordingly. If we are miserable or worried, our bodies often manifest those negative feelings by giving us headaches, colds, muscle pain etc and, in turn, that gives us something else to be miserable and worried about. Think about it – if you had a really bad headache and someone told you that you’d just won £1,000,000 do you think you’d still have a headache? Would your backache feel better if you were stressing over something at work or if you were relaxing on a beach somewhere in the Carribean?
I’ve come to realise over the last couple of years that happiness is a choice. Yes, bad things happen but being stressed or unhappy won’t change the situation, it will just make it worse. You can say ‘don’t talk to me about life’ like Marvin but, remember, he was going to live forever – we won’t. Life isn’t perfect, we are not perfect but we only get one shot at life and there is only and will only ever be one of us.