Seven ways to be more happy, 80 things to do to get more happy there, I say fuck that noise and fuck happiness.
This quest for happiness got out of hand it sturred up a trend that is annoying and ultimately a clusterfuck of epic proportions, it got so bad that people now DEMAND to be happy, they think they deserve to be happy every day with no effort just like that. We made happiness to this ubermensch godlike thing that we should all strive for, I say fuck that noise. Being happy sucks.
How much of what we think will make us happy ends up being either stressful or disappointing, or both?
Our quest for happiness got out of hand. We’re bombarded by messages on the lines of power, status, money and consumption with happiness. Even worse is that we’re told that we DESERVE to be happy, that our happiness is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, that we should do whatever it takes to be happy, that we should listen to our inner needs for happiness.
The 21st century has become rife with the epidemic of “happiness” It’s so bad that many feel so entitled about our right to happiness, and so frustrated when anything gets in the way of that (inalienable) right, that they’ll happily express their anger.
This level of deserving/demanding happiness occured relatively recently. Back in the days (talking about Aristotle time here) they didn’t demand it they were searching for it, and i think that’s a huge factor nowadays and the cause for a lot of disappointment, suffering and dissatisfaction.
The obsession with happiness is a modern phenomenon. It started with the baby-boomer generation after the war. Led by America and aided by modern technology, an entire generation found itself able to consume and enjoy themselves in mass consumption. Industries blossomed to feed and fuel this need to devour – advertising and marketing became increasingly sophisticated, and the economic dream of unlimited growth became their god.
Interestingly, this period also saw a dramatic rise in dissatisfaction. For the first time, people believed that they deserved a level of happiness in their lives.
It went from being a fleeting emotion to being a sought after commodity that could be purchased.
Hence the rise of mental problems/illness. More and more people are seeing psychologists to talk about their depressions and dissatisfactions and psychologists just sit there and listen while they feed them with even more counselling and greater levels of consumption.
Somewhere along the way the industrial world became a bunch of self-entitled bitches.
Before people demanded happiness in their lives they were able to cope with a lot more discomfort, loss, and hardship than the current meatbags that walk among us. It’s quite possible that were the average normie transported back 100 years, he or she’d find it pretty tough, to say the least.
But before I ramble more let’s define happiness since we talk about it almost obsessively.
Well, first and foremost, happiness is an emotion. There are five core emotions (anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise), but more recently they updated those and now we have 17 emotions to play around with (amusement, anger, contempt, contentment, disgust, embarrassment, excitement, fear, guilt, happiness, pride in achievement, relief, sadness/distress, satisfaction, sensory pleasure, shame, and surprise).
Either way, happiness is classified as a positive emotion but, like all other emotions it’s fleeting. Happiness itself is the product of relatively primitive brain centres responding to environmental stimuli with a cocktail of neurotransmitters (in this case, dopamine, serotonin and, noradrenaline).
In other words, emotions are nothing more than fleetingand thus, TEMPORARY brain states.
Going a step further, emotions evolved to make us pay attention to things that could either increase or reduce our survivability.
Thus, emotions provoke approach or avoidance behaviour, often in a very strong way. They feel immediate and important because they evolved that way. Our emotions evolved to get our attention, whether to warn us to run away from something, or to go toward it.
So let me say this one more time because it’s important. Our emotions are hardwired at a fundamental level thereby making it almost impossible to ignore them when they are active. We’re also hardwired to pay attention to them and to believe in their validity.
Why? Because it helped us survive and propagate our genes for a long time. It doesn’t help anymore. In fact, that we give so much credence to our emotions is the cause of most of the crap and suffering on this fucking planet. They are responsible for the majority of unpleasantness around us. And our quest for happiness plays just as much of a part in that as anger, fear, and contempt.
In fact our labelling of emotions is a part of the problem – most of us live our lives based on our emotions; we let our actions be guided not by our values, but by how we feel or want to feel. We like to believe we’re in control but, most of us aren’t.
The quest for happiness is a flawed one.
The things we typically believe will make us happy (e.g., money, power, holidays, cars, relationships, promotions) do no such thing. You’ve probably experienced this yourself at some point in time, it’s all BS. What you think makes you happy rarely does.
As humans we habituate extremely quickly, so we adapt to a new status quo very quickly. Worse, because happiness is a fleeting emotion, it simply can’t last, no matter how hard we try.
Even worse, humans are easily dissatisfied, even when we get what we want. When was the last time you bought something you really wanted only to be bitterly disappointed because a new model came out a few days later, or a friend bought the upgraded version. Your happiness turned to disappointment, bitterness and avarice. Sadly, the natural response to this disappointment is to repeat the process – something that marketing and advertising firms cottoned onto a long time ago. They sell you the illusion of happiness, knowing that it wears off quickly and that you’ll want to consume more to sustain the illusion.
What we have here is a confusion between happiness and satiation. That is, we’re programmed to believe that having stuff will make us happy even though we know it won’t.
Living for satisfaction is called hedonism; it feels good, but it’s unsustainable.
Eudaemonism, on the other hand, is living in a way that requires a belief system in something bigger than yourself. I’m not talking about religion (although some people find meaning through it) but, rather, living in a way that isn’t simply about providing for one’s needs and desires.
It means finding something meaningful, mastering something worthwhile, realising that you are not the most important person in the world and not demanding that your happiness should come first or expecting the world to give you what you want. In other words, satisfaction comes from working to develop meaning in your life and in the lives of those around you, rather than demanding that they give you what you want.
Our search for happiness really does fuck us up.
“There is no evidence that we’ve been placed on this planet to be especially happy or especially normal. And in fact our unhappiness and our strangeness, our anxieties and compulsions, those least fashionable aspects of our personalities, are quite often what lead us to do rather interesting things.” – Ronson