Here’s To Happiness
These thoughts are based on a secondary research project
It was done maybe 4 years ago
What are the causes of Subjective Well-Being
(the scientific term for happiness)?
For this project I looked at several potential causes
Was SWB genetic?
A study looked at identical twins
They should be equally happy
There was a large variation in SWB
Ok, when I win the lottery…
No. It wouldn’t make you any happier.
Maybe for that trip around the world after a spectacular celebration.
But sooner or later, you will return to your same level.
We need the basics for survival. Food. Shelter. Security. Sex/Love.
(in no particular order)
To keep you from being unhappy
More than that?
Not going to make you happier
What the research did show was not surprising, but worth reinforcing.
It points to one thing: have a reason to live that isn’t selfish.
There are short-term causes for happiness.
Consumerism and drugs are great examples.
The long-term cause are the ones that make and keep you happy.
And yes, friends can be annoying,
There are times were your swear off your family.
And Faith in it’s definition practically requires pain (a hope for better)
So be patient
Live for/with others
Say not to drugs
(as much as possible – red wine is good for you).
The only thing to cherish are happy memories…
Memories of people who matter to you.
Posted in: Random Thoughts
And I will read this book…
I like what you say about the elements of happiness reinforced by the research: friends, family and faith. But I think all of them, by definition (yes, of course, fluctuant and relative definitions) require pain.
And I don’t believe it’s all about cherishing happy memories. Yes, memory is important, but not if it implies anchoring yourself to the past, as beautiful as it may have been.
I do agree that happiness is about finding a reason or a purpose to live that isn’t selfish. But selfishness, again, is prompt to millions of interpretations.
As the cheesy saying goes, it’s all about the way, not the final achievement. If along the way we manage to cultivate truly meaningful bonds, and to learn (ALWAYS TO LEARN), then we can never feel completely lost.
Maybe it’s about acknowledging when we have a happy instant in our hands, and to treasure it while it’s happening, instead of assigning a value to it once it’s gone. I think most of us humans tend to be pessimists by nature, and this is reinforced by collective memory, social and cultural patterns, and so on, and so on.
Can we really fight this essence, this tendency to unhappiness? I want to believe in impossibles.
I’ve been meaning to reply for a while, but I needed to thoroughly digest what you state, and haven’t really had the chance. Thank you first of all for your very elaborate comment.
With regards to pain, does there really have to be pain with family? friends? By definition I would say now, in reality perhaps yes. Whereas faith, i.e. belief in a better future, or you will be saved, means you are faced in an uncomfortable position.
You are right, about memories. I Personally know someone with Alzheimers, and he is the happiest old man.
If there was an element missed here, it would be learning which would keep the brain healthy which in turn would allow for the capacity of happiness. Great point, and the path too.
There is definitely a societal pressure placed on us to be unhappy, no? Aren’t the ones bombarding us with images (read: Media & Adverts) better off when we are left wanting? If we were all happy would we be as consumer centric? We do live in a culture of materialism…
I would guess that the average human by nature is centered in their happiness. The nurture has a strong impact on how ones turns out (nature can be looked as a propensity to be happy). I don’t believe people have a tendency to be unhappy. Perhaps because I have faith…*
*Not the religious kind
If I understood correctly, you stated having faith is looking into the future, which by rule reveals the present is not the ideal of what we want it to be? If so, in a way I like that concept of unfulfillment, that’s exactly what I meant by constant learning. Otherwise the world would be quite a monotonous place, don’t you think?
But yes, the culture of consumerism does take its foundations in this “unhappiness”, pointing us to its assumed perfect lifestyles and decisions. Another element of societal pressure, as you so well summarized.
We seem to revel in events that are exactly the opposite to happiness, remaining almost catatonic when confronted with them. They are a show that rarely demands a deep questioning in itself. In the end, it’s all quite sad (notice the irony here?) because good things do happen everyday and deserve to be cherished; while bad things should be treated in a way that brings us together to fight them, not “veggie” about them.
Personally, I believe the media as institution is an extension of the society it “serves”. Sure there are systems of control and power behind it, but we can notice social and cultural patterns that ultimately lead us to the individual. It’s just that the conglomeration of forces (technological, political, and so on, and so on) is so vast the individual seems to get a bit lost in the crowd. But that’s great, as it’s always easier to blame the crowd than oneself for this state of unhappiness we seem to live in.
And yes, I’d say too every human is by nature centered in their happiness. But because definitions can rarely exist without antagonisms, if you place importance in happiness, then you are acknowledging unhappiness as well.
Nietzsche wrote once happiness is the feeling that power increases, that resistance is being overcome. I like to interpret it as finding ourselves in oneness; not in a religious way, but in the sense of a more real connection with ourselves and the ones in our lives.
Wow, I feel I went completely out of the main point of your posting and I’ve been repeating “unhappiness” and “happiness” a million times!
If anything, I too have faith.
I’m still an optimist. With the other half a heart.