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Leonard Simmons


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Is our model for happiness outdated?

We have long defined our personal utility in terms of happiness, but has this word stretched too far in our modern vernacular? We now use happiness to describe all positive emotions, even loss of bad emotions. Is there not a better structure that we can use to define our personal utility, one that differentiates different types of pleasure gained through interaction with our environment? I recently did research on the availability of a model that uses five positive and five negative "utilogies" to explain how we can estimate our pleasure. Personality, I argued, is based on multipliers that each person intrinsically has for each of these utilogies, which determines how much pleasure they get from related activities. The five positive utilogies are Superiority (utility gained from winning, whether it be against another or a past self, such as weight loss), Excitement (utility gained from expected future utility), Sentiment (utility gained from being around friends, significant others, family, etc.), Stimulation (utility gained from mental pleasure, such as reading a good book or learning) and Sensory Pleasure (anything positive relating to the senses, such as eating good food or listening to good music). The five negatives are the reverse of these, and are Inferiority, Dread, Ostracization, Distress, and Sensory Pain. For instance, if one reflects on their daily activities and learns that they love music and sports, but isn't a fan of academia and extroversion, we may conclude that this person has a multiplier to utility of >1 for Sensory Pleasure and Superiority, while they most likely have a multiplier to utility of


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    Feb 15 2011: I think that the view of happiness should not come from a single data, like GDP. As in fact this would only mean that the more we have, may it be money, items, or whatever is what is making us more happy.
    I think that having a good work that you enjoy, and that doesn't stress you, is just as important if not more.
    Then having a good environment, will make you live happier, healthier life and go less to the doctor/hospital.
    It really should be considered as the most important thing for productivity, as happy people are more productive.

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