Can we be lucid and happy?

The nature of mental objects

Before answering this question, let us judge its relevance. Are lucidity and happiness comparable, opposable, associable? Certainly lucidity seems a brake on happiness, pointing to all the reasons to lack it. But are these concepts of the same nature? What is a mental “nature”? We admit that an emotion and a logical abstraction are not of the same nature, without saying so easily why. Aren’t these phenomena all excitations of neural networks?

Lucidity reflects our superior analytical capacity. Let’s call it our ‘Observer‘. It is quite easy for outside reviewers to evaluate it. Scenarios, interrogations, professional reputation… lucidity is quite quantifiable, just like intelligence. It could be measured by domain and as general lucidity, factor L equivalent to the factor G of intelligence. This quantification tells us that lucidity refers to information external to the individual. They are the object of a consensus, property of the social collective. This makes it possible to judge the lucidity of the individual independently of her. Of course there are brilliant individuals whose genius exceeds the usual consensus, but it is nevertheless in reference to this consensus that their lucidity is weighed. The reference is extrinsic.

Let’s not confuse dimensions

It is not the same for happiness. Its reference is intrinsic. It is a fusional impression in which many parameters intervene. Some are quantifiable by independent evaluators. But happiness as a experienced phenomenon is completely intrinsic. Quality rather than quantity. If we ask the question again in mathematical form, [lucid L] < > [happy H], the two sides of the equation do not belong to the same dimension, even if some of their respective components are comparable—we can for example individualize the [awake] factor on each side.

In other words, it is a mistake to associate ‘lucid’ and ‘happy’ in a horizontal question. Lucidity is one of the mental functions that participate in the formation of happiness experienced in itself. But “Lucid and happy?” is like asking “Can we be cellulose and apple?”. The ‘and’ is forced between entangled levels of reality. Better formulations would be: “Can one be happy above the lucid state?”, or “Can happiness survive increasing lucidity?”, lucidity being a micromechanism of happiness. The question is verticalized.

Faceted happiness

In any case a barrier persists: happiness is an impression, the ‘phenomenon’ facet of the brain/mind interface; lucidity is an ability, the ‘process’ facet. This barrier is the same as between phenomenal consciousness and its neural mechanisms. I indicate elsewhere how to cross it, but it is important to detect it in our question.

Happiness is not linked to a particular organization of personal representations. No pattern of micromechanisms, lucid or not, is specific to the ‘happy’ state. Rather, happiness is an effect of the general coherence between these representations. Even mythomaniacs live happily in their reality that is not very lucid —perhaps extra-lucid?— if they protect it from intrusions.

Originally a myth

All our minds start in a myth, that of being the whole universe. This myth is fundamentally happy, positivist. Impulse of existence, ontological, irrepressible. This vital impulse is enough to generate the phenomenon of happiness. There is no need to maintain it. What threatens it is a hypothesis in gestation confirmed at birth: there is a world foreign to oneself. From now on we will spend our lives fleshing out this theory.

Each representation of the world that we build expands its importance and pushes back ours, that of our bodily impressions. It happens that this intrinsic importance collapses to the point that some feel alien to their own body, that it disgusts them. Their disembodied identity would like to escape, transform this vehicle as best they can to make it look like the image they had hoped for. From then on the happiness phenomenon could also collapse. How could it survive cut off from its primitive momentum? It becomes intermittent at best, a reflection of the permanent negotiation between representations of oneself and the world, re-inflates successes, bursts with each failure. The temptation is great to use drugs to recreate a simulacrum of vital momentum, an artificial drive for existence that temporarily obliterates the evil assaults of the outside world.

A lucid conclusion among others

The universe has detached itself from us, has taken with it most of our importance, and refuses to give it back to us. This is the conclusion that lucidity frequently leads to, that is, the precise and orderly shaping of our relationship with the outside. Lucidity thus resembles a kind of suffocation of vital momentum. Happiness heats up only a few embers under the ash, which are extinguished with aging. But is it the lucidity, or one lucidity ?

Regardless of the accuracy of our analysis of the world, it is always based on arbitrary weights attributed to certain criteria. The whole of science, the whole of philosophy, the whole of religion, are never more than sets of representations that occupy the whole or part of our mind. These sets reduce us to what they are: a configuration of lucidity among the multitude of possibilities. By believing that we are lucid, by having represented the world so precisely that we have detached it from us and it dominates us, we are only locking ourselves into a configuration of solipsistic and sterile lucidity, since it has eliminated all alternatives. We are trapped in our personal world much more than at birth, since now information is no longer new. They are all labeled by the mode of lucidity chosen and only serve to reinforce our representation of the universe, stiffening it a little more.

Lucidity is locked in one’s own confidence

The feeling of happiness freezes in parallel. If the genetic and social lotteries have pampered us, it is a rather satisfying impression that is canned. Otherwise, we sour with age with a definitely starving happiness. It is under a bell. Nothing allows it to escape. Not the lucidity employed, since it is the bell. But tell me: what if a higher lucidity allowed us to see it, this bell?

Lucidity is not an obstacle. On the contrary, it is the engine that has built our representations since at birth the world began to escape us. It built one floor after another. Perched in consciousness, we feel the fusion of the top of the building. Experience that is both multifaceted and unified. We feel a lucidity, which is in fact a mille-feuille still being developed. Happiness is the fragrance that escapes from the kitchen. Perhaps too much importance is attached to evaluating it, when pleasure is simply about breathing it in. The evaluation should concern culinary techniques. Lucidity is the ability of the mind to adapt its recipes when they do not give satisfaction.

Experiencing to change and not the other way around

It is not lucidity that hinders happiness but the scarcity of happiness that must stimulate lucidity, or rather build a new layer of lucidity on top of the previous one. A balancing act? Of course. As if you were going up the cake a little higher on each birthday. The top layer must also be wider: there are more candles to place each time. Our mind is an inverted pyramid. And we are surprised that whole sections collapse with age! But the view is becoming more and more beautiful. A real happiness…


1 thought on “Can we be lucid and happy?”

  1. Fusional impression. Hmmmm. OK. I never thought about lucidity and happiness in this way before. They seemed pretty independent of one another. Sort of like the last century thesis of Gould, regarding religion and science…which got soundly thrashed by enthusiastic philosophers and others. I have known lucid persons and those who were happy. Never Have I encountered one who was one, but not the other. I discount folks who were delusional or emotionally disturbed in some way…sometimes it is hard to know when they are either. Suffice it to infer that one state is not mutually exclusive of the other, under something like normal circumstances. But, I only write here from an experiential perspective.


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