Posted by prla1983 on October 04, 2007 • 1 commentsEmail This Post

While I go about my daily life - even as dim and gloomy as it's been as of late - I sense that my "background processor" is constantly chewing at some sort of metaphysical meaning of life type question. Why are we here? What is our purpose? What am I doing wrong? Will the world ever close shop? Am I an asshole? You know, that kind of stuff.

One of those questions concerns happiness and how happy - or unhappy - we are. In particular, what is the measure of happiness? From the get go, I guess we can pretty much agree that my definition of "happy" can have little resemblance to what you or anyone else thinks being "happy" or happiness is in general. Certainly there is at least one point that is safe to assume: it leans more towards feeling good than feeling bad (Monsieur de La Palice would be proud).

But am I happier than you are? Is it the other way around? Is it even comparable? Am I happy at all?

In the end what prompted me to write this is my sudden realization - which is entirely up to debate - that happiness is intimately related to the concept of expectation. Meaning that if I greatly reduce my expectations, it's much more likely my degree of happiness will increase. If I don't expect something to happen, it just doesn't matter. On the other hand, the more I expect, the more I can get frustrated at.

But are expectation and happiness, in the limit, inversely proportional? In the extreme case of increasing your expectations to the very top, I think you're pretty much up for a huge disappointment, decreasing happiness. Or, you are one lucky sonofabitch for whom the cosmos is working for and makes everything happen for them (I know a case or two which at least look like they have that going for them).

On the other hand, what happens if you reduce expectations to zero? Will you guarantee happiness that way? Probably not, if it were that simple the world would be a better place (or would it?). In all likelihood, all you would achieve was a complete lack of interest and motivation. Happiness killers, let me tell you. (Then again, is there a direct relation between expectation and motivation? I sense there is, but maybe there's more to it than meets the eye. Food for thought).

So is it safe to assume that the virtue is, as they say, in the middle? Expect, but not too much?

Maybe. And maybe not. Finding that balance, be it in the middle or a little to the right or left, seems to be one of those challenges that make life arguably interesting. And incredibly frustrating sometimes too.


Blogger Enolough said...

Happiness is unmeasurable. Like feeling cold and warm: there's no point when one can officially tell "t'is cold". It's not the same for every individual and the only measure possible is more and less.

As for the expectations:
"the less I have the more I gain" James Hetfield once said...

Equilibrium. In the middle virtue lies not. In the middle all we get is still waters. Make decisions and build oneself in a unique fashion, that's what makes life cool.

Friday, October 05, 2007 1:04:00 am  

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