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What is the difference between happiness and satisfaction?

As I wonder every time about the philosophy of life, the question that make me think again and again that a man having satisfaction of particular thing is a happy? or can happy man considered as fully satisfied? Or happiness and satisfaction are the two sides of coins?

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    Oct 12 2013: Satisfaction is when you have the answer of your question. Happiness is when you have no more questions.
    • Y Li

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      Oct 14 2013: Dear Pabitra, I like your brief reply to that question very much, but would like to clarify it if you don't mind:
      Satisfaction is when you have the solution to your problem. Happiness is when you have no more problems, temporarily of course.
      Because the answer to one's question may not satisfy one, while humans are curious and always have questions which may not make them unhappy. On the other hand, problems do make humans unsatisfied and unhappy.
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        Oct 15 2013: Dear Y Li,
        Thanks. Happiness comes after asking many questions, whether or not one gets all the answers is immaterial. Happiness comes when human mind realizes that its natural make up is one of curiosity and inquisitiveness and its natural tendency is to seek solutions of problems. With that realization the mind makes peace with its own restlessness and starts to love the grand drama of life without any more question. That's how one becomes happy I guess. Funnily, at this stage one bothers little about happiness :)
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      Oct 15 2013: So, why have questions?.. Good question, huh?
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      Oct 15 2013: Does this mean that peope who do not have questions, ambitions, or desires are happy?

      I have a son in elementary school. He is rarely upset by anything or anyone. Teachers and peers love him - he is never aggressive. He causes no trouble. He rarely shows desire to join games with other children or to play with toys other kids play with. He rarely asks questions. He seems to be always happy...

      He has autism. He can lay on his back on the floor for hours happily watching a spinning wheel on a toy. This is the primary source of sorrow and worry in our family. We feel sorry for him and worry that he will be very unhappy when he grows up, different from other people. He often puts on clothes inside-out, often cannot match buttons to the holes on his shirt. We worry that he will not be able to take care of himself when he grows up.

      But... he is NEVER upset by any of this! Really, why is putting on a shirt or socks inside out such a big deal? Whose problem is it? His or ours? Are we sorry for him or for ourselves? Shall we strive to help him have desires and ambitions, like other people? Or shall we "accept reality" as is and focus on our own happiness instead?

      Can you call unhappy a person who is unaware of his unhappiness?

      For me, this is the point when I realize that I ask too many questions to which there are no answers. Therefore, there is no sense even asking these questions. "Funnily, at this stage one bothers little about happiness :)" Now, that I realize all of this, am I happy? This one last standing question ruins my enlightenment. But, funnily, I don't care much about this philosophy. There is enough stuff to care about.

      The question "am I englightened yet?" is funny. If I ask it, then, obviously, not.
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        Oct 16 2013: Dear Arkady,

        I shall attempt to reply to your comment in two parts, hoping you will not necessarily make any connection between the parts, other than what is intended.

        First, I strongly believe Autism is not a disorder, it is a difference. There is no primacy of the social and educational learning order we have created. An autistic child’s brain processes information differently from others in the context of defined learning. The pervasive silliness to define happiness and fulfillment in life makes it more difficult for them.

        Second, in my opinion being unaware of happiness is true and lasting happiness. That you do not care about the philosophy and feel that there is enough stuff to care about is a perfect philosophical stand.

        The happiness that I am talking about happens when a mind stops asking questions not because there is no sense in asking them but there is more sense in not asking them. That leaves one’s mind with time and space for contemplation.

        “Does this mean that people who do not have questions, ambitions, or desires are happy?”

        Yes they are but only after asking many questions, having many ambitions or desires. If you have time you can check Mani Lal Bhaumik out and read his book, ‘Code Name : God’.
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          Oct 16 2013: Thanks. I agree with what you say. Not because it is true or makes sense. Much of philosophy is not about truth - it's about point of view. Two people may look at the same thing and have radically different perceptions, both true, correct, and reasonable in their own way. I noticed that most arguments about philosophy and religion are of this nature. So, when I say that I agree, it simply means that we perceive these issues similarly.

          Re: "The happiness that I am talking about happens when a mind stops asking questions not because there is no sense in asking them but there is more sense in not asking them. That leaves one’s mind with time and space for contemplation."

          IMO, it makes sense to ask philosophical questions, but most of them have no sensible answer. They are not for answering, but for contemplation. They are, usually, multifaceted. The goal is to see as many facets as possible. When one thinks he has an answer to a philosophical question, it means he sees only one facet. Perhaps, it's better to say, "there is more sense in not answering them".
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        Oct 16 2013: Yes it is better to say: there is more sense in not answering them. We are almost in the same page Arkady, certainly in the same chapter. Cheers! :)
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    Oct 10 2013: Happiness is a state of “Mind”, where as Satisfaction is the absence of “want.” Can you be happy and yet not satisfied? Yes you can. In a case of extreme poverty one can be happy and at the same time desire to want to improve ones condition. By the same token, satisfaction can be attain without being happy.

    We see this every day, where a wealthy person has everything money can buy, but is still not happy. You sometimes wonder why, since “happiness” is a state of mind, why more people are not happy and since the rich are far less in number than the middle range income and poverty level or the homeless.

    Happiness is also an emotion, were as satisfaction is not. You can choose to be happy regardless of your material attainment in life. Your belief system plays a enormous role in emotional well being. If you believe “less” is more, then happiness can be manifested in ones life without wealth.
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    Oct 25 2013: Both "satisfaction" and "happiness" are subjective and limited by our experience, upbringing, values and consciousness. The difference seems to be in degrees: I am satisfied after a good meal but the ice cream in the end makes me happy. But if I haven't had water for a long time, getting water makes me satisfied but if the water is chilled it makes me happy. I am satisfied with my work of art but happy when someone else also appreciated it.
  • Oct 17 2013: What is the difference between happiness and satisfaction?

    Satisfaction is having an orgasm, happiness is having it with someone you love.
  • EUN J

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    Oct 11 2013: Wow. Such a good question. Thanks for let me think about new one...
    For me, I think the main difference between happiness and satisfaction is that it is related with others or me, myself.
    First, happiness is more related with others who care about me and whom I care about. People surrounding me makes me FEEL sth like happy, excited, sad, annoying, frustrated but after all, Happy! :) Also, I am pretty sure I never feel happy without SOMEONE not something.
    The next precious feeling, satisfaction, I think, comes from ourselves, from our own mind. It is more about our ego. When we feel satisfaction, that means that reached our own goal or own ideal criteria. And that have few relations with others.
    For example, when I am in lonely situation or spending quiet and slow sunday in my town, I am able to satisfy with a hot bagel with blueberry cream cheese and a cup of coffee. However, it might be hard to feel happy, because I have no one to share my thoughts and feelings.
  • Nov 8 2013: I think happiness is a result of many different feelings such as appreciation, curiosity, connection, learning new things, etc. Satisfaction is also one of those feelings that results in happiness but is not happiness itself. Satisfaction builds upon itself and hopefully when a person is doing their best and reaching their goals, they are becoming more and more satisfied. However, in my opinion, a person should be happy but never be satisfied. Accept that your life is going well right now, and accept the state of life in which you're at (regarding work, relationships, school, etc.). But don't be satisfied and just stop there. Keep improving, while staying happy.
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      Nov 9 2013: The cause of many different things that add up to the result of an effect, that is a powerful idea.
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    Nov 7 2013: Happiness seems to me like a deeper feeling than just satisfaction. Happiness is probably also more permanent than satisfaction. Happiness is a general state of mind while satisfaction is more in the moment.
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      Nov 9 2013: Sometimes I just have to laugh. Somewhere else it is stated just the exact oppisite of what you are saying short of your reference to a general state of mind and no one is correct or in error. What I find amusing is we are asked a question in which we are asked to interpet forms (plural) of the abstaractions happiness and satisfaction and there is so much diversity in the interpetations. I like the idea of happiness being a state of mind and I believe it to be our natural state or at least mine.
  • Nov 7 2013: Satisfaction is to achieve something that was expected and for some people, sometimes satisfaction leads to happiness. Satisfaction is normally achieved when something is finished, but happiness is a feeling that can be enjoyed "during the process of achieving something"; happiness is finding pleasure in simple things, in other words, is to enjoy life. When we are hungry we eat and when you finish, you feel satisfied; but the feeling is totally different when we add some friends, favourite wine or music to this "dinner"... you appreciate every moment and even the food tastes better! I strongly believe that people who know how to value this "little things" that life allows us to add, are happier! Hapiness is CARPE DIEN, is enjoying every single moment in this long process that life is!
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      Nov 10 2013: Ah, the little things. You have brought to mind the importance of the little things. They are the adornments on the Christmas Tree that brighten life and bring happiness. I know your happy because that's what you teach.
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    Oct 27 2013: As for me, this is how i would define it :

    Happiness is somehow short-lived and intense, while satisfaction is longer-lived and smoother. Tied to each other in most cases, they define different states.

    Happiness will bring high emotional activity and bursts of huge reactions, which can fall off quite suddenly. Satisfaction will bring a calm, peaceful and savoured feeling of achievement, which fall off more slowly.

    I consider satisfaction to be a deeper but smoother feeling than happiness, which doesn't mean it would be weaker. Satisfaction can slowly or quickly activate or support the growth of intense emotions such as happiness. It catalyzes them and goes along with them.

    As for me, i consider that satisfactions sustainability makes this feeling somehow more powerful than happiness.
  • Oct 10 2013: When I struggle to see the difference between similar words, I often times find it useful to look towards associated words to more fully flesh out my conception. I would say that satisfaction, as a word and concept, is related to fulfillment. It requires that one feels as if an act/event/period has been appropriately finished, preferably successfully and to completion (though I am not sure that either is required). Happiness, on the other hand, is closer to joy. Thus, it is more free-form and less defined. Perhaps it would be useful to put it more concretely (though my example obviously requires subjective adjustments); one can feel fulfilled (but might not) after painting a beautiful field of flowers, but one can feel happy (but might not) sitting in that field. On a personal level, I find that happiness makes me feel as if I would like to move and laugh without reason, while fulfillment leads to me sitting down with a grin.
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    Nov 8 2013: To me satisfaction is something you get from both short and long term pleassures.
    Happiness is love, it comes from within yourself. And is forever if you choose to be happy. What happens is that many people doesn't realize they're happy because we are always thinking in: when this happens I'll be happy or I was happy when I was doing ...x..... long story short we don't live in the present.
    We need to live right here right now and be thankful for everything we have and aware of all the blessings the universe
    sends us. They can come disguise as bad events but in fact they're positive because is a lesson to learn!.
    So, happiness is NOW!
    • Nov 9 2013: Yes, Happiness and satisfaction or indeed two different things. Ex: you can satisfy your hunger with some food that may not taste good. After you satisfy your hunger, you may still be very unhappy.

      I would go to the extent of saying that happiness is internal in your heart with no conditions, where as satisfaction pre-supposes a necessary requirement that has to be bet for achieving satisfaction.
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      Nov 10 2013: The simple truth is just that, the simple truth.
  • Nov 8 2013: Happiness is the temporary feeling you get when you make a choice that you don't regret.
    Satisfaction is the long term feeling you get once that choice has set.
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      Nov 9 2013: You inspired me to think and I can't disagree but when when look at a choice I do not regret having made will not happiness follow it and set with it or will the feeling be different?
      • Nov 9 2013: It will be different. That, Larry, is satisfaction.
  • Nov 8 2013: In my humble opinion...
    Happiness is a choice,
    and satisfaction is the feeling one gets when one makes peace with that choice.
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    Nov 7 2013: To me happy is a more absolute state of mind, and feels stronger then satisfaction. Satisfied maybe is 'enough', happy might be 'very good'.
    If back in school my score was a 6 out of 10 I would be satisfied. Enough to get to the next round. If I had a 9 out of 10, I would be happy, and reason to celebrate my 'outstanding' result.

    But it's maybe a question of linguistics. English is not my mother tongue, so I might have a different perception of these two words, and in other cultures people might have different words with different weights to the the words. Like inuits have so many ways to describe snow, there might be so many more words to describe this feeling of well being?

    In dutch the translation for satisfied is 'voldaan' which literaly translates back to something like 'fully done' (correct me if i'm wrong ;)) which implies there is nothing more you can wish for, so in dutch maybe a slightly stronger weight to this particular word then the english 'satisfied'..

    In the end both are positive and I would rather place both on the same side of the coin you described.

    cheers and I wish you a happy day!
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      Nov 10 2013: You are bright in your understanding of words. I like the Dutch translation for satisfied but I would like to add more weight. There is nothing more you can wish for or ever was we have been given everything in our creation and time and understanding reveal that. I would like to leave you this quote:

      I sought for many things, and found despair. Now do I see but
      one, for in that one is all I need, and only what I need. All that I
      sought before I needed not, and did not even want. My only need I
      did not recognize. But now I see that I need only truth. In that all
      needs are satisfied, all cravings end, all hopes are finally fulfilled and
      dreams are gone. Now have I everything that I could need. Now
      have I everything that I could want. And now at last I find myself at
  • Oct 14 2013: For me, Happiness is a state of being or mind. It can be brief, but it can also be the "constant," the underlying state that I return to from brief upsets that manifest as sadness/grief/anger and the like. Satisfaction is connected to an act: if I do a task to the best of my ability, I feel satisfied. If I perform a service to someone that makes me feel useful, I feel satisfied. Sometimes that satisfaction is strong enough to alter my state of being to happiness (if I wasn't there already) and sometimes it is not. But satisfaction is always short-lived, because it's connected to a specific act.
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    Oct 11 2013: At some level, happiness and contentment are two sides of the same "coin" -- contentment! Satisfaction denotes "enoughness." Happiness expresses the attainment of that goal.
  • Oct 11 2013: The problem is in language. Happiness and satisfaction are personal. If you ask if I am happy or satisfied and I say that I am, you still have no Idea what I am actually feeling. All you know is that I am feeling something and I call that feeling happiness or satisfaction. Unless you ask me further questions, or I explain myself, we cannot come any closer to understanding. And my explanation may actually convince you that what I feel isn't happiness or satisfaction at all, but something you would name differently.
    I would frame the idea this way. All human choice, all human action, is an attempt to have our needs met. Sometimes we chose in healthy, life affirming ways that are supportive of our relationships with others. Sometimes we behave in ways that are self- or other-destructive. To the degree that our actions lead to the meeting of our needs we may be satisfied and happy. To the degree that our actions are unhealthy and destructive we may feel that satisfaction and happiness diminished, even counteracted. In any case, we are never fully satisfied nor completely happy. We are simply too complex for that; and the idea of complete satisfaction and happiness suggests that we have stopped interacting with ourselves and the world, stopped having needs, and stopped encountering even the smallest conflict.
  • Nov 9 2013: Be satisfied brings happiness(知足者常乐)。It is an old saying from China.
  • Nov 8 2013: I am I certain situations happy. Happy for me is an emotion and all emotions are temporary. When I am happy, I have a hard time enjoying it because I know something will happen to make me unhappy. Satisfaction can be applied with a longer time frame though it is not necessarily perfect. Both satisfaction and happiness are based on comparisons of previous experiences. If you want to be happy, you must be happy in the MOMENT! that is the only true way to be happy. Let go all your worries or fears and just be yourself. Its not that easy to let go (especially when you have a reputation to uphold) but if you can let go, you will experience true, albeit temporary, happiness
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      Nov 10 2013: Just be yourself and that is the journey. Thank you for that.
  • Nov 8 2013: Happiness comes from the heart. satisfaction is simple logic
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      Nov 10 2013: I don't care where or how I get it only that I get it. Wherever we get it from is cool as long as the source is wholesome.
  • Nov 8 2013: At the risk of sounding crude, happiness is the orgasm, satisfaction is lying together afterwards. At first, happiness sounds like the thing to get, but once you've been around a while, you understand that satisfaction is what lasts and what really keeps things going.
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      Nov 10 2013: Bryan, I can tell by your words you have woke up in situations wishing you were somewhere other than where you have found yourself and there is no satisfaction in lying there? Let's not talk about that although it's all part of the deal.
  • Nov 8 2013: Happiness is a myth, at best a short lived phase or moment. Contentment, which I assume is synonomous with satisfaction in the context of your question, is submitting or surrendering to life. Your life.
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      Nov 9 2013: In my experience I have come to understand the principle of Surrender. There are terms I became aware of after the fact. The terms are complete and unconditional. Total submission of my will to an unknown source. That does not happen all at once I am given time to comply. Are you happy, pleased, joyous, contented, satisfied with your surrender? These labels to describe the faceless, nameless unknown source of your gift of life always seem to fall short. If they are if fact dreams of myth and illusion I will take them over a my self orchestrated nightmare anyday.
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    Nov 7 2013: i think happiness comes from a deep seated/innate contentedness with yourself, your place in the universe. its acceptance. Satisfaction has a sense of "ok for now". But still wanting more - not entirely happy or accepting.
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      Nov 10 2013: I simply love your silhouette image next to your name. I can relate to the still wanting more and my problem with that is when I get more I still what more, more, more. In contrast to that I have found a solution and peace.
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    Nov 7 2013: Shrinath, If you are looking for differences between happiness and satisfaction you certainly have found them in the responses. If you want similarities you will find them. You will always find what you're looking for. The search is fueled by what you want and we always get what we want so I must try to be mindful. If I look past the differences I can see both joined by the principle of Unity. Bound by Unity they work together as one. One does not conflict with itself, there is nothing to clash with. The answer is yours. How would you like your happiness/satisfaction fragmented or whole? I'll have mine whole w/cheese and hold the pickle. Must be lunchtime? Larry
  • Nov 7 2013: As for me, happiness is much more wider. Happiness is the feeling, when absolutely everything is in harmony. And satisfaction is just a performing of one or two your desires, or satisfaction after performing a good job.
    Well, happiness is better, I think
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    Oct 27 2013: Happiness is what most seek as a quest, Satisfaction is what one is gifted without seeking.
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    Oct 15 2013: Satisfaction is knowing that you have successfully completed a job. If you are a soldier and have killed another human should you be happy about it?

    If a doctor does a text book operation and loses the patient ... he is satisfied he did his best but certainly not happy.

    Thus happiness and satisfaction can be apples and apples or it can be apples and oranges .... why do we have to chose when the circumstances will decide.

    I wish you well. Bob.
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    Oct 14 2013: Perhaps, happiness can be defined as consistent satisfaction. Satisfaction is a one-time event. Happiness comes when we are consistently satisfied.

    There seems to be two perceptions of reality in our mind. One reflects how things are, the other one reflects how, we think, things ought to be. When these two perceptions match each other on any particular issue, we are satisfied. When reality meets expectations consistently in many areas of our life , we say that we are happy.

    There are two ways to make reality match our expectations. One is to bring reality up to our expectations. The other is to adjust our expectations to match reality. Which way is preferable, depends on the situation.

    "If the mountain will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet must go to the mountain."
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    Oct 14 2013: After 17 years of marriage and 7 years working as a quality manager in a semiconductor company, I prefer not to ask myself such silly questions. If you ask yourself "am I happy?" or "am I satisfied?" long enough, you will come to a conclusion that you are neither happy nor satisfied. Otherwise, you would not ask these questions in the first place.

    As a quality manager, I know that there is a fine line that separates a good product from a bad product. The line is called "test limit". This line is both fuzzy and arbitrary. You can define this line for yourself at your own peril. But remember that eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil is the root cause of human suffering.
    • W T 100+

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      Oct 15 2013: "This line is both fuzzy and arbitrary"..........I keep coming back to this conversation hoping to contribute something............but I've got zip............

      It's a tough question......and my brain cells short circuit with these types of questions.......they are TOUGH.....

      Loved your last sentence Arkady..... :D
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        Oct 15 2013: Thanks. The last sentence can be expanded. It's this question "am I happy or is there something that can make me happier?" that brings on misery. It is often followed by other vain questions: "Why is that other person more successful/rich/happy/beautiful etc. than I am?" Here come the concepts of justice/injustice and other nonsense. This is how the story of Cain and Abel directly follows the story of eating from the tree.

        Forgive me a little preaching. I keep saying that this is useless philosophy, but, somehow, it is close to my heart. If you read my reply to Pabitra's post, you may understand why.
        • W T 100+

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          Oct 15 2013: Thank you for the reply. I don't mind the little preaching....your insights and observations are very well worded and I understand and agree with what you have stated.

          I think it is good to think about words and their meanings. But going too far can drive one nuts.

          I think many times it is difficult to see potential in individuals, and then see them fail for lack of interest and drive......there is usually a root cause......at times, as in the case of school aged children, it may be boredom.......sometimes the mind is capable of so much, but the educators do not know how to reach the student with the teaching style that is best suited for them. It is tough Arkady.....but usually after some years, things balance out. Our job as parents is to love unconditionally, and to be there for them.....a lot of patience is required.
  • Oct 13 2013: I finally found real happiness, with someone who made me laugh, taught me much, and gave me confidence. He died four months ago. I am grateful for the time we spent together, and SATISFIED that I have had a good life; there are moments that make me smile now but they are something less than the joy I felt back then. Satsfaction is being content with life as it is, happiness is when life is the best it can be. Wealth will not buy either, but poverty makes it harder to find either one.