Harvard super-psychologist Dan Gilbert explains happiness in a Technology Entertainment Design (TED) presentation. If you are not interested in my editorial just scroll straight down to watch the video.
The most general definition of unhappiness and not-happiness i can think of is simple not liking the current state of affairs. and yes, unhappiness and lack of happiness are two slightly different things. A person who just lost an arm will be very unhappy, but having an arm does not make a person happy, it will just make that person not unhappy. An average American who just won 10 million dollar will be very happy but not winning anything at all will not make that person unhappy it will just make that person not happy. Let me clarify this a little.
The state of not unhappy and not happy are basically the same, it is the state one feel entitle too.
this is a simple graph.
sense of entitlement, not unhappy, not happy or neutral
Now that we establish the happiness model, lest get back to the question of how be not-unhappy or happy. The cause of both unhappiness and not-happiness is while being in one state of affair desire to be in another state of affair. Simply put, not liking the state of affair is just not liking the way things are going one now. There is two general strategy of getting out of this current state of affair that one don’t like, one external strategy and one internal strategy.
1. The external strategy is to change whatever external factor that you don’t like about the current state of affair, eg, television is broken, fix it. Don’t have a girl friend, find one. You boss is a dick, quit. This may not be simple because external environment are not always simple to change and the ability to do so is unequal amount all people. A rich and powerful person can much easier change ones environment, but a poor and powerless person really don’t do much about it, external strategy is limited to some if not most.
2. The internal strategy is the one most people neglect, to solve any and all of lifes problem is to not thing that a problem is a problem. The current state of affair is only a cause of unhappiness and not-happiness when you don’t like it. If one like any circumstances they are in, there is no way they can be unhappy or not-happy. This is strategy is available to all, unlike the external strategy. However this strategy sounds like a psychologically daunting task, I mean if i have to work 15 hours a day to just make enough money to buy a loaf of bread, how can i make my self happy? I cant, lifes too difficult. or one may think.
Harvard super-psychologist Dan Gilbert argues that human mind are naturally equipped with an immune system to unhappiness and not-happiness check out the video down below.
Here is some of questions this theory of happiness raise.
1. Suicides, if we are immune to unhappiness and not-happiness why are there still people taking their own like presumably because of it?
2. consequence, if this line of thinking took off, are we all going to be monks, our economy will stall for better or worst.
3. If the pursued of happiness is an illusion, then what about the pursued of survive? Happiness and survival are interlinked, we do what we think will make us happy because what make us happy will lead us to survival. Is the pursued of survival also an illusion?
4. Any product placement after this zen-monk sessions looked useless. BWM trying to tell us that we will feel happier if we buy one of its cars, after we been told that the pursued of happiness is an illusion, how ironical.
5. Why do some people feel happier then others? and citizen of countries feel happier then citizens of other countries? Check out the World Happiness Rankings and Happy Math (Foreign Policy subscription required)
p.s. I am not really happy with this post, its too long and something important is missing i just cant figure out what it is. I will update it when i do
Want to know more?
Happiness is really just about having lower expectations, as the danish demonstrate.
The Danish secret to happiness
Happiness and Gross National Happiness (GNH) is the current economic fashion, are they all wrong headed? digging in a research to only find a waste-of-time?
Happiness is the new economics
More TED video of interesting people talking about interesting things