Interview with Carlos Miceli

As the result of some matchmaking by a mutual reader, I conducted an email interview with Carlos Miceli from Owlsparks, a blog dedicated to discussion around ‘realistic happiness’. Carlos has recently relocated from Argentina to Australia but was was nonetheless generous with his responses:

Do you believe freedom is the natural state or a modern privilege?

Some months ago I finally watched The Shawshank Redemption and it made me think: “Man, we sure underestimate our freedom…” But it’s important to define it first. IF we’re talking about the freedom to go wherever we go, do or say whatever we want, then yes, I think it’s fairly new. It’s so new that some people still don’t have it.

However, when we analyze freedom, again, from a more realistic point of view, we realize that we are not as free as we think. Otherwise we wouldn’t have so many people hating their jobs, their spouses, their cities and more. Real, pure freedom is frightening. Like I said on a recent post, we don’t want (or have) freedom. We just want some wiggle room.

Should personal happiness be the ultimate goal of living?

I’m forced to say that people should decide that by themselves, but not for me, thank you very much. I’ve written about our society’s mistaken priority of happiness before, where I state my reasons why happiness is not my primary goal. I’m much more interested in growing and becoming wiser than “happier”, if there’s such a thing. And guess what, there’s no growth without pain.

Can we not just drop a happiness-producing drug in the water supply?

For the people that use drugs, I’m guessing that’s what they get from them. As long as we get to choose whether we take that drug or not, I’m fine with that. Less competition.

Seriously, though. I do fear what such a drug would do to society. With so many people that look for happiness as their ultimate goal (and therefore use it as motivation), society would lose a big part of its push for progress and survival. We would eventually become stagnant, stupid, and dead.

You put an emphasis on ‘realistic’ happiness. What do you mean by this?

Thanks to the media, arts and people’s desperation for meaning, we are finding ourselves with a cute group of over-glamorized words, like happiness, passion, freedom, success, and more. While beautiful concepts, they are too simple and life’s too complex for them to have the relevance that we’ve given them. I merely push the idea of seeing the world not pessimistically, but realistic. Instead of falling in love with empty over-used concepts, I try to see reality and then act on it.

When it comes to happiness, for example, I believe some settling is healthy. Happiness has become so big, so unattainable, that, if we’re not careful, we may spend our entire lives looking for a grass so green that it doesn’t exist.

What made you move to Australia from Argentina?

Too many reasons, all published here. But if I have to choose one, I’d say because of the challenge. I was stagnant and bored in Argentina.

Arguably the only civilisation based on true freedom are indigenous to Australia. Do you have any plans to meet or live with Aborigines?

Damn, that would be nice! I’ve been here for only a month, and I’m already as busy as a man can be, but if things go well I’d love to travel around Oz, meet as many cultures and visit as many places as possible.

I’d like to say that I know about their culture enough to write down some thoughts, but I’m definitely not there yet.

As a webmaster, what is the most important thing people do when visiting your site? Subscribe to the RSS? Leave a comment?

No idea. There was a point back when I started, when I used to hold blogging as a powerful place to connect with people, share thoughts, and all those other cliches everyone’s heard about. But I got tired. What people considered valuable in the online world eventually disappointed me, and I (sort of) stopped caring. I plan to re-design my site to turn into something more related to what I want to write about, but that’s as far as I’m planning to go with my site. I just want to write. Hopefully, somebody will give a crap about what I have to say which will keep me going.

With my move to Australia I had to stop focusing on my blog for a while, and now that I’m writing again I realize that my comments and subscribers plummeted. Funny like that!

Also as a webmaster, how do you attract people to your site and do you have any tips on getting them to stay?

I’ve never applied any specific strategies to attract people, and now I reached the point where I don’t care anymore. You can’t “convince” people that your stuff is worth it. They’ll either like it or not.

All I know is that I’m honest and say what I think. And that’s how I made friends, connections and enemies online. So far, it’s been pretty fun.

About

Robert Wringham is a humorist and the editor-in-chief of New Escapologist.

3 Responses to “Interview with Carlos Miceli”

  1. Mark Wentworth says:

    Erich Fromm’s The Fear of Freedom (Routledge, London 1941) was written in reference to Germany at the time but is equally relevant now.

  2. Rob says:

    Excellent. One for the Escapologist’s Library.

    Typesetting goes well, Mark. I may even pass the conch tomorrow.

  3. Tim says:

    I’m looking at this and am glad that I can be in the minority as somebody who does give a shit. If I could, I would even give two.

    Carlos, the reason I read what you have to say is that you aren’t full of yourself. Thanks for the thinks that you have.

    PS Do you ever feel jinxed when somebody compliments you on some unknown self-virtue? Sort of like: “Damn, now that I know I’m perceived as good at this, there goes the quality of that characteristic”.

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