Ideas seem to get away with murder. We are asked what ‘Happiness’ is and we all either accept some Platonic Universal description (Quasi-Objective) or the exact opposite; what ‘we’ believe/want to see happiness as being (in this sense it is a use term meant to bring about an effect). Joe Bloggs works in a 9-5 office day job but when he finished on a Friday night he goes out clubbing. He associates this with happiness. What does this mean? There is a psuedo-objective claim on ‘clubbings’ part that advertises happiness (and other concepts such as freedom and sexual promiscuity). Maybe Clubbing is happiness? This claim is not necessarily objective but more historical and concrete; clubbing was/is an assimilation that brought about a feeling of happiness (even if we see it as a forced assimilation – as in the taking of drugs which literally give you happiness effects). The terrain of happiness expanded and changes during the 80’s (incrementally with the first assimilation of ‘dance’ in various cultures, all taking on different assimilative effects). But we have all been in a club before at 2 am feeling alienated, anxious and tired haven’t we? Why is the assimilation not working? Do I need to ‘plug in’ more? Is my neurosis of an ex-lover ruining my participation in this assimilative dancefloor?
To assimilate can be both an unconscious process; the moving of bodies, the rhythm of steps and notes, a history of semiotic mechanisms that orient a body, value, practice, culture, etc. But it can also be very conscious in the tacit sense; in order to assimilate the drinking, discourse, steps of the nightclub one has to play its game and partly know its effects. Joe Bloggs once watched a film where two woman were in the backseat of a sports car, being chauffeured by a young attractive male, letting their hair down and laughing (‘uplifting’ rock music was playing in the background). Now when Joe gets invited into a car at night he rolls the windows down, sticks his head out and laughs. He tries to assimilate what has been represented as freedom … and 3,2,1 .. it kind of works.