A fork in the road

Adrian de León
2 min readNov 10, 2023
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Joy is not a state of being, but a permanent quest of acquisition. Joy isn’t lived, it’s sought after. Joy is so fleeting you don’t realise you’re experiencing it, and the only thing you do notice is when you haven’t felt real joy in a long time. Joy is often found in the simplest of things; it exists in the whims of familiarity, bathed in the waters of comfort, and it is brought back to the mind, teasingly, by nostalgia.

Similarly to love, joy isn’t a feeling but an action, yet we seem to be living in a world where acts of joy are stifled by distractions, and mechanisms of entertainment that cast a spell on our rational faculties. When approaching a fork in the road, we always go down the path that is illuminated, with a skyline horizon in sight, and that emits a bland sense of security as the darkness dissipates. Therefore, we ignore the other path, the darken, sullen path that seems to go no where, and by no where, we mean no where near civilisation.

Yet, we are mistaken if we think that this other path, the one that leads you into the unknown, is the path to ignore. It is the road that offers no guarantee, no illumination, no safety net, that will set one onto the right path. This road, which often leads one closer to nature, is stripped of all the familiarity of urban artefacts, it is a blank canvas set before you by the world. It is a road that exists in a world that knows it is not owned by corporations, states, or any other anthropocentric design. It is is a road on a world that knows that we, as fickle elements of a wider eco-system, are simply part of this world. It is on this road where joy lies.

Joy remains elusive as long as it is sought after, and because we confuse joy with ecstasy and pleasure, the financialisation actors in this world, have packaged their hollow products and services as simulations of joy. Draped in snake clothing, they print green-coloured paper to match their reptile intentions. They drape a veil in front of our eyes, charm us with their gold covered instruments, leading us astray into the grips of illuminated arms.

Merchants of capital concoct mechanisms that bring joy, by packaging ‘happiness’ and ‘emotional optimisation’ short-cuts, because we find it hard to embark on a road without an end in sight. Nonetheless, this is where joy truly exists, on the road without an end in sight, because joy is a journey and never a destination.

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