TED Conversations

Damian Przybyła


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the economy of happiness

Isn’t it just a vicious circle to pursuit happiness? Could we compare modern definition of happiness with modern consumerism?
When we consume happiness as products - looking for more to fulfill our expectations, we are automatically changing this happiness into our standards which don't make us happy anymore.
Is it about lowering expectations or infinite struggle for being happy? Or maybe analitical approach to “happines” is just as inefficient as scientific approach to religion and vice versa?


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    Jun 18 2012: Subjectivity of perception automatically connects this problem of “happiness” with vast spectrum of conditions starting from cultural ones, as Krisztián mentioned before. As far as our brain effort is concerned I also share Sina’s opinion, what we call emotions are just abstract names for states of mind which are common for other species, we’re able to describe it using biochemistry, physics and so on - maybe this complexity of issue of happiness comes from exaggerated abstraction which we’re trying to put there?
    If we assume that happiness is a part of basic human needs (without going into structure of basic needs), it seems to me that happiness is always connected with aims (as Pat said) and with expectations (and effort). In this case every goal which is achieved gives you a pleasure or happiness (I would define pleasure as temporary state of mind which has to be supplied still) but in every case this analogy leads to a problem of happiness which is scattered into periods of time and cannot be defined without consideration of unhappiness: the higher happiness has happened to you – the higher expectations it developed and finally – the higher inner anxiety it will develop
    (setting goals – struggle for achievement – pleasurehappiness – increased expectations – lack of pleasure/happiness – setting goals – struggle for achievement)
    In this sense I compared achieving happiness with achieving products – both may lead to phony and temporary satisfaction. Maybe the easiest solution would be to achieve happiness from general facts which are undeniably great to experience - as life in general, and do not ever connect this source of happiness with needs, aims and expectations – if they really require as much effort to be happy.

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