Irish acting sensation Gabriel Byrne said that the pursuit of happiness can be overrated and that he thinks there is too much pressure to be happy in society today.
The Dublin star was speaking about the new series of his hit HBO therapy show “In Treatment” when he acknowledged that inner peace is difficult to achieve.
"There's too much pressure to be happy in this culture," the actor told the LA Times. "We're constantly told that happiness is so accessible, but life isn't like that. Life is a gradual process of acceptance. Once you understand that, you can find some measure of contentment."
In the HBO drama Byrne plays a kind but flawed psychotherapist Paul Weston: “we expect our healers to be perfect, but Paul isn't perfect," Byrne explains.
"He's going through a divorce," says Byrne. "He's questioning whether he's taken the wrong job. He's angry with life. In the Woody Allen film 'You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger,' there's this line about a man who wakes up at 2 in the morning, sees eternity stretched out before him, and never sleeps again. When I saw that, I thought, 'That's Paul.'" Byrne told the LA Times.
Byrne who admits to having a troubled past himself says that many people can relate to the plight of his character.
"Paul's just doing the same thing people have been doing for thousands of years, whether it's talking to village elders or talking to priests in confession," Byrne admitted. "He's asking essential questions about life: 'What do you want? What are you prepared to give up in order to achieve what you want? What's your definition of contentment?' To me, the value of the show would be if those questions started to leak into your own consciousness and make you look at your own life."
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore