Words are not just suitcases, they are also corsets. In many languages, the word joy has slowly been replaced in recent decades by three letters from the standard universal language: fun. When a word is inserted into the global communication network, it sometimes happens that it becomes distorted and expresses a generic and formatted version of more complex, more singular and local feelings. Words are tools of social control. While more and more humans have mimetic “fun” moments, less and less feel all the depth, richness and singularity of joy as experience. Besides, to play a little on words, in Latin, funus means death, funerals. Fun can be reactive, sectarian, mass-produced, like an egocentric exclusion of many parts of living reality, while joy affirms the world and anticipates it creatively and generously.
There are many forms of joy: childlike, religious or mystical, loving, intellectual, friendly. By the way (this time to mention an exact etymology), the Latin word source, gaudia, was a plural noun – meaning something like rejoicements – formed from the verb gaudeo, to rejoice, itself formed on an Indo-European root akin to the word admiration.
Joy is a physical and spiritual experience of laughing admiration: perhaps it is the human experience that expresses the fact that the spiritual and the physical are, from time to time, in symbiosis, the body expressing the vibrations of the mind, celebrating a triumphant presence at the mere fact of being or becoming, as one swims in the ocean of everything and nothing. To lose oneself in order to find oneself: the joy of the mystic, the joy of the lovers, the joy of the children who play, the joy of the thinker who plunges into the ocean of ideas. Joy is a pleasure that has given up on greed and which has an angelic element to it: it is the presentiment that in a dimension unknown to anxious realism, we develop wings.
Joy connects us to the world by opening us to hidden and sublime dimensions, it makes us talk, it pushes us to forgive, to understand. As it is not just greedy or fun enjoyment, it also makes us more responsible and ready to fight for the harmony it makes us hear.
“There are joys that are an inexhaustible source of strength for the soul,” said the writer Laure Conan. While fun can make us blind to all, even perhaps cruel to those who are not in our little circle of enjoyment, joy questions us: how is it that our earth is not a kingdom of common harmony? In this sense, joy carries with it seeds of politics and inclusion. Who knows ? Perhaps we should build a new global political proposal based on joy. Communism was too obsessed with work, which no doubt implies its magic and its pleasures, but also its heaviness and the sadness of Sisyphus. Capitalism is too obsessed, as its name indicates, by capitalization, accumulation, while joy, conversely, is an abundance that is dispersed and not measured in quantity but in quality.
Joy is a direct connection to the richness of the Creal, the Real as it creates incessantly: it is the love story and the atomic glass bead game between the Multiple and the One. Any multiplicity supposes ontologically a unity, as the philosopher Plotinus would say. Deep joy is at once the apprehension of our disparate wealth and our personal, non egotistic, singularity. Someone who is in joy is both out of herself and in herself.
Joy reveals to us the soul of the world, and our participation in its destiny. But she also knows how to say no. No, I am nothing of that, I am only the consoling and healing pressure of the trunk against your body when you seat by the tree and cry, this tree which is the link between the earth and the sky and which has just merged with your spine so that you welcome the sap of Being and Becoming. This is the joy of sharing.