We have given sorrow many words, but a passion for life few.
Yet it is the infectious energies of exuberance that proclaim and disperse much of what is marvelous in life. Exuberance carries us places we would not otherwise go — across the savannah, to the moon, into the imagination — and if we ourselves are not so exuberant we will, caught up in the contagious joy of those who are, be inclined collectively to go yonder. By its pleasures, exuberance lures us from our common places and quieter moods; and — after the victory, the harvest, the discovery of a new idea or an unfamiliar place — it gives ascendant reason to venture forth all over again. Delight is its own reward, adventure its own pleasure.
Exuberance is an abounding, ebullient, effervescent emotion. It is kinetic and unrestrained, joyful, irrepressible. It is not happiness, although they share a border. It is instead, at its core, a more restless, billowing state. Certainly it is no lulling sense of contentment: exuberance leaps, bubbles, and overflows, propels its energy through troop and tribe. It spreads upward and outward, like pollen toted by dancing bees, and in this carrying ideas are moved and actions taken. Yet exuberance and joy are fragile matter. Bubbles burst; a wince of disapproval can cut dead a whistle or abort a cartwheel. The exuberant move above the horizon, exposed and vulnerable. . .&nbs;.
Yet joy is essential to our existence. Exuberance, joy's more energetic relation, occupies an ancient region of our mammalian selves, and one to which we owe in no small measure our survival and triumphs. It is a material part of our pursuits — love, games, hunting and war, exploration — and it is a vibrant force to signal victory, proclaim a time to quicken, to draw together, to exult, to celebrate.— Kay Redfield Jamison, Exuberance