Metamorphosis is an
exercise in willed restructuring of the mind.
All attempts to reorganize the mind involve a duality between
conditions as they are and the preferred condition. Thus it is
impossible to cultivate any virtue like spontaneity, joy, piousness,
pride, grace, or omnipotence without involving oneself in
more conventionality, sorrow, guilt, sin, and impotence in the
process. Religions are founded on the fallacy that one can or
ought to have one without the other. Life is bittersweet
and sweet and sour; it seeks to achieve any arbitrary
perceptual perspective at will.
Consider laughter: it is the highest emotion, for it can contain
any of the others from ecstacy to grief. It has no opposite.
Crying is merely an underdeveloped form of it which cleanses
the eyes and summons assistance to infants. Laughter is the
only tenable attitude in a universe which is a joke played upon
The trick is to see that joke played out even in the neutral and
ghastly events which surround oneself. It is not for us to question
the universe’s apparent lack of taste. We should seek the emotion of
laughter in what delights and amuses, seek it in whatever is
neutral or meaningless, seek it even in what is horrific and
revolting. Though it may be forced at first, one can learn to
smile inwardly at all things.