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A discussion on the meaning of happiness

All things considered how happy are you on a scale of 0 to 10?

After all, we all seem to know quite well what it is. We know when we are happy, and when we are not. However, on second thought it turns out to be not that simple. They do not actually define what it is for requirements of a definition see below and leave several questions unanswered, e. For example, a common type of a happiness definition is the following, found on wikipedia. Another common form to define happiness is stating examples. These examples are certainly pointing to different elements of happiness but are no comprehensive definitions, at least not in a scientific sense although it is interesting to hear what makes different people happy….

To serve the purpose of the discussions on this blog, the definition should allow happiness to be analyzed in a scientific way, which implies that the following criteria have to be in place: The extent of happiness should be able to be measured and — in principle — be able to put down various states of happiness on a numeric scale Comparable: This is already implied by the first criteria but may be worth mentioning explicitly Comprehensive: It should reflect our existing notion of what happiness is and not be entirely different The key question, of course, is how a subjective feeling like happiness can ever be put on an objective scale as mentioned above.

  1. Do you recall how they made her slave away at the daily household chores? Do you spot any flaws in thinking?
  2. Happiness is not a permanent state, and no matter what we get, we will always swing between happiness and sadness.
  3. Pleasure is fleeting and must be if it is to continue to please us because if we have these joyful experiences all the time, our brains adapt and turn pleasure into routine. I like to think of each of us like one of those big recording studio mixer boards, the ones with all the sliding controls and knobs, some of which interact with each other, some working separately, all working together to produce the final product.

Before thinking about how to make this shift, we should be clear about what we are trying to shift into, i. At this point, different world views may collide, but I would like go ahead and use the world view that I share with all other people who believe in science and the view that the world is basically made up of physical and chemical processes and reactions.

Today, our knowledge about the brain is very limited, and we are far from stating the exact happenings in the brain that could be considered as happiness. Although disappointing, it is nevertheless important to point out that eventually it will be defined in this way. The advantage of determining happiness this way is that it brings different emotions down to one common basis. Instead of distinguishing between pleasure, joy, comfort etc.

  1. Just look at the miserable rich people out there.
  2. Each knob and slide may be set a particular way, the way that produces the person we are.
  3. Hardships are an inevitable part of life, and having psychological wealth does not mean there are never any risks or losses. Did she find some meaningful pastime to keep her occupied on the palace grounds?
  4. It's not about smiling all the time nor does it stem from money or health, but a self-belief you are on the road you want to be on.

For example, if asked now: Here again, the proposal is to ask the person who lived through the at least two different moments for his preference. For example, if we take two moments that have been voted as worthwhile to be re-lived if offered for free i.

Happiness, life satisfaction, fulfillment and meaning in life

Would you rather re-live moment I or moment II? I am not suggesting anyone should perform this cumbersome process for every second he or she lives. It should only demonstrate how, in theory, different happiness states can be set in relation to each other, thereby deepening our understanding of happiness. Critical appraisal of proposed definition On the positive side, this definition fulfils all the criteria as defined above: However, there are also some critical questions: What if you ask an individual with mental illness or who identifies as a masochist who is in significant pain but still says that he wants to re-live the moment?

Happiness Explained: Why Being Happy is More than Just Sunny Days at the Beach

It still does not provide full transparency on how happy we are overall as we would need to run this process asking the happiness question for every single moment of our lives. This is a first shot at defining happiness. Do you spot any flaws in thinking? Did I miss out anything important?

I would love to hear your thoughts.