Thinking about this notion of reasons to be cheerful has occupied my mind a lot these past few days. Thanks Georgeanna.
First thought: how wonderful to be reminded of Ian Dury and the Blockheads, always on my list of favourites. A couple of other quotes from the song are 'Lighting up the chalice', and 'the smile of the Parrot'. As for using drugs, it may not be PC, but why not? Humans use all sorts of drugs, and in spite of all the hang-ups about drug use, altering one's reality somewhat can be a cheerful prospect. Living with reality can be all right, too. And the smile of the Parrot (a concept which may also be drug-induced) reminds me not to be so human-centric, and to appreciate the gifts of other species.
We tend to be a bit human-centred, however. I mean we don't really care if the Parrot is cheerful. But if we think of all the wonders of nature, we should be cheerful, except that the good cheer must always be tempered by the awful truth: we humans have royally **** this planet, and the new one remains elusive to say the least. It is easy to see why many conclude that 'we might as well go crazy and screw the future'. The 'closing-time panic'ers are deluded enough to believe they are partying instead, and ignorant enough not to care that most of the world is not invited to the party, nor that the party will soon end.
A lot of us do have great reason to be cheerful, though. By the extraordinary good fortune that was our birth, and the timing of it, we (lucky inhabitants of the Global North) exist during the "sweet spot" of human life on Earth. (In fact I think being born about 150 years earlier than I was would have been more interesting, but thanks to imagination, books and film - 3 more reasons there - I can have an enjoyable sense of what that earlier time may have been like.)
In order that we do not all become overwhelmed by cheerfulness, human cleverness always makes its paradoxical presence felt. The other end of the mood spectrum - anxiety, depression, hopelessness - born in the mind, just like cheerfulness, will remain with us. This is why we thinkers can marvel at, and be hopeful because of, human ingenuity and especially the myriad ways we have already thought of which could yield a bright future, and within moments fall into despair, realising that all the great ideas will count for naught due to the political disease prevalent in every human society, and the global paralysis induced by that disease. Sadly, the light switched on by advanced Apes, which burns more brightly than ever, will soon be switched off.