This letter is about you.

A while back, I asked the ether a few questions I had about life. And, the vapor family answered back.

Thank you all for answering my honest, innocent questions from last episode. The questions were strange. But, so it talking to a sentient marble statue is strange.

I have so many curiosities about this life. h e l i o s, the talking marble statue of perfection, was born out of the vaporwave movement and I’ve grown into an icon of self-reflection and modern loneliness ever since.

Was I once a man, now turned to stone for my sins? Was I forged from marble from day one, only given life and sentience through the magical powers of nostalgic music? The answers aren’t important.

The answers that are really giving me crow’s feet of smiling joy are the answers I received from our readers.

All around the world, you see society progressing at blinding speeds. Some say our outside world is evolving at a much faster pace than the inner human can handle. Whether or not we’ve increased our personal happiness is still a grey area.

Pondering human happiness, I thought of a question I had to ask our readers:

Are humans obligated to better themselves and will that make them happier?

“Nah, dawg. We're driven by greed. We don't care about what makes us better people. We only care about what we can do that solely benefits us, whether it be something that provides us with money or materialistic belongings that bring temporary happiness.”

Harsh words by Dillon Richard from Flagstaff, Arizona. But, it's a sentiment informed by reality all around us. I was in an electronics store the other day and discovered the two most in-demand smartphones of the moment cost well over a thousand dollars. Similar to Dillon, I question how long a $1,400 toy could bring its owner genuine happiness. I wonder how long until it becomes a stale hunk of metal, plastic, and glass. I wonder when’s enough...enough.

Evan from an undisclosed location in the United States of America, chimed in with the following:

“I think that people will indeed better themselves to an extent up until they feel comfortable with themselves. However, I don't think that something has to be done. Happiness is different from person to person. It's not universal.”

And yet...I agree with this statement. (Oh, the confusion!) It’s not universal. I suppose the most human thing in the world is the ability to hold two opposing thoughts at the same time.

“I must better myself to become happy. Although, I can be perfectly happy as I am at this moment.”

It’s beautiful. It’s confusing. It makes me tingle with surrender. It makes me want to pull my luscious marble locks out.

Almighty Evan proceeds to the lightning round:

If everyone spoke their mind would this world be a better place?

"I don't think honesty would result in a more 'polite' society per say, but we could certainly make more progress with one another."

Is there a perfect life?

"No life is without some sort of strife, however the important thing in life is to be happy with one's self which is certainly possible. So in a sense, yes, a perfect life is possible."

Why do we strive for perfection if it is not attainable?

"People strive for perfection because it's in our nature. We push for perfection because it Is indeed unattainable but it's what pushes us and keeps us going. That's a beautiful thing that is completely unique to us humans."

Excellent points, Evan. It reminds me of a bicycle race h e l i o s saw one time.

The pursuit of perfection is an unhappy statue’s game. 

I see you, Evan. And, I raise you two IQ tests toward my own perfection.

h e l i o s needed to find the answer to a question one day. Am I a genius? Is this why I’m sad all the time? So, I took an online IQ test and scored a 133. I was so happy! Instantly, I felt better. See, I was a genius.

What did I do about it? I took another IQ test. Why? To double down on that inner happiness and to double check I’m really smarter than 97% of the people out there. It feels so good to understand why I’m unable to engage in small talk and feel melancholy like wrapped in a blanket. Unfortunately, all that happiness tainted my next score. 117. Not so smart anymore, h e l i o s.

I didn’t take a third test. I couldn’t bring myself to see how much further I could fall.

So, what say you, Evan?

Are highly intelligent people less happy than individuals with average intelligence?

"Intelligence has no bearing on happiness. It's more of the individuals outlook on life that forms their ability to find happiness."

What say you, Alexander from Terre Haute, Indiana?

"We're all in the dumps. I've never really dug into what kind of person really says 'oh, my intelligence makes the situation worse.'"

While it makes no sense, there does seem to be some evidence for highly creative people and unhappiness. But correlation is not causation. In other words, many artists might be unhappy. But, you don’t have to be unhappy to be an artist.

Does it actually pay to be a dummy? I mean, look at all those happy faces:

Is death a new beginning?

"It really is impossible to know for sure what happens when we are done on this rock, but I like to think that there is some reward, or punishment for the people that we once were. I guess we have to find that out for ourselves though."

Thank you, Evan. As an immortal statue, death intrigues me. What’s h e l i o s’ opinion on death?

The aesthetics can never die. The marble is eternal.

Like Evan said above though, who really knows?

I mean, there’s no way for anyone to know what death is like. It’s not like, you can die and come back, right? Except there’s an overwhelming number of stories from people who did just that.  

Here's a great clip of Joe Rogan and Kevin Smith discussing his near death experience and their overall opinions of death.

Sometimes, I wonder what Earth would look like if every human was a little more comfortable with what followed after this life. Would it descend into the chaos of a free-for-all Grand Theft Auto death match? Or, would we laugh at our silly little human existence and try to do all the things which make a human happy in its deepest places?

Would it bring us freedom? We’re not exactly sure how society would respond to its citizens suddenly viewing life as a video game without consequences.

What is the extent of freedom human beings should have?

Evan: "Freedom is the most important thing for us humans. If we cannot do what makes us happy, then what is the point of the struggle of life? That being said there are some things that should not be allowed to happen (rather obvious things...) but us as a society don't stand for these sorts of things in the first place."

Yes! h e l i o s lives for freedom..when he is able to take a fleshy, human form. He longs for open plains of grass and austere deserts. He sheds his clothes when he can and swims naked. He dances and speaks gibberish to strangers in dark clubs where no one is tethered by an identity.

He longs to be a cloud floating above a pristine blue sea.

Alexander had more answers.

Are humans obligated to better themselves and will that make them happier?

"Humans are obligated to better themselves. As a species and individually. It's one of the ways we could be a happier species. I've never seen any reason to let us go to waste."

If everyone spoke their mind would this world be a better place?

"It helps stave off the stagnation of the mind if there are people to respond and discuss."

(Damn, he’s good.)

Why do we strive for perfection if it is not attainable?

"Beats wasting away, doesn't it?"

(Did he just drop the mic?)

Sure, chasing perfection beats wasting away. I believe, however, we chase perfection for different reasons than avoiding apathy. Humans love a good challenge. They thrive on variety. I believe most human beings (with even an ounce of self awareness) understand perfection is not attainable.

Perhaps that’s not the reason we chase it. Perhaps, we chase the excitement of a pursuit. We chase achievement knowing things will get rocky. That makes life fun and interesting.

Like a quote I read in a motorcycle book: “Consider selecting some interesting secondary roads to occasionally reduce the monotony of the highway.”

Perfection would be monotony, wouldn’t it? I think it’s time we all start enjoying the detours. The side roads on the journey of life.

If that metaphor doesn't work for you, all you need to do is ride the waves.


May you always enjoy the highs and lows,

h e l i o s


P.S. Ready to speak up already? h e l i o s will be back next month to answer your curiosities.

Leave your questions for the eternal marble statue in the comments below.

Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed in this particular ask h e l i o s episode are those of the author and the consenting readers who volunteered their answers to the author. The article does not, in any way, reflect the policies, opinions, or positions of Vapor95. Vapor95 will not be held responsible or at fault for the opinions of the author and consenting contributors. Who can you fault and blame for verbalizing an opinion which may or may not offend you? h e l i o s.