TED Conversations

musk undernotes

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

What is happiness? Is it an important human value or just overrated? Many readily sacrifice it for sufficiency and contentment. Is this ok?

The pursuit and right of attainment of happiness was considered so important, it was enshrined in the US constitution. For a goal so central to human existence, we ought to be able to define what happiness means, and delineate steps for reaching it. One problem for reaching such consensus is our sheer differences and the way we see things. The maxim that the World is driven not by reality but perception is especially true about how different cultures around the World see and obtain happiness. Visit a village in Sub-Sahara Africa and witness the sheer contentment and blissful existence of people with apparently - from the perspective of the Westerner - nothing to be happy or joyful about. How could this be when most of us with apparently much more gets aggravated, depressed and suicidal for not having more? Yes, we could say it is because we want more fulfillment than the Tuareg but is this necessarily true? Besides, why hold on to a paradigm or attitude that results in the loss of the very objective of our pursuit? Is it all perception and attitudinal? If so, is there something to learn from pastoral and indigenous people? When does the perception of feeling ok become self-delusional? Who decides, and with what metrics? If happiness boils down to mere attitudes about ourselves in a social universe, what does that say about the value of happiness?

0
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Jun 18 2012: from last to first...
    no it is not ok for me. If I sacrifice something in return of anything else its'not happiness, just adjustment. so in this case if you give away your happines for sufficiency or contentment you must be fooling yourself.

    yes it is overrated. actually the image of hapiiness is overrated. having a house with a pool, pretty wife and two healthy kids while driving a suv and 5figure salary, going to vacations abroad. this is an overrated cliche.

    for me true happines is the gut feeling that you experience when you make somebodyelse happy.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.