Happiness of Our Day

”Happiness is like a warm bed on a cold morning.” ”Happiness is getting what you want.” ”I am happy when I am with my friends laughing.” Everyone has a different idea on happiness which varies depending on the person, the time, or the phase of the moon. For Aristotle “Happiness is a life lived according to virtue and, Jeremy Bentham, an English philosopher of the eighteenth century, defined happiness as ”the sum of pleasures and pain” (1789). Unfortunately, the modern concept of happiness has been corrupted by; unachievable ideals, temporary resolutions and consumerism propaganda. One of the major faults in the understanding of happiness of today is that it is shaped by the illusion of happily ever after. We think either we should be happy all the time or we are failing at life.  Since childhood we have been bombarded with the idea that if you find the one or win that game or buy this you will reach the ”eternal euphoria”. This enforces an unattainable goal of everlasting happiness. Would Cinderella really live happily ever after with a man she barely knows? Who could promise that those kids will not lose again? What happens to that family after their breakfast?  Along with boosting the impossible idea of eternal happiness, any kind of unfavourable emotion is either villainized or put down. Ambition for example; it is quite literally the trait of evil in Harry Potter, Star Wars, or Superman. If these negative feelings not attributed to a villain then they are difficulties the hero has to power through and overcome in order to be the hero. As a consequence of these happiness rules being showed down our throats, people go to desperate solutions like the current happiness craze of self-help gurus and ”how to reach happiness” books or happiness diets. People read these books, run to life coaches to overcome any negative feelings; some even download apps to be more peaceful. These shallow, one size fits all solutions are like band aids to a gaping wound. In addition to being ineffective they are also incredibly short-lived. They provide the high of happiness for some time, but then the people return to their previous states; apathy, sadness and so on,  and the cycle of superficial happiness continues. This approach can certainly benefit some people but saying ”Don’t worry, be happy” to someone with anxiety problems or ”Go outside, get some fresh air” to someone who has to overwork is just plain ridiculous and does nothing to help. Alternatively, some people choose a bit more materialistic path; consumerism. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, consumerism can be defined as ”the theory that an increasing consumption of goods is economically desirable”. Corporations promote their products by portraying them as the source of happiness, and thus consumers who are conditioned to think that unhappiness is a blasphemy and happiness is the absolute goal in life, buy the product immediately. The consumer is happy for a day or less but when the rush dopamine is over, they again go back to their previous states. So the customer goes and buys some more to feel happy again. For some people it might even lead to an addiction, ”nearly all pleasurable experiences involve the release of dopamine. That release is part of what makes some things addicting, such as: drugs, gambling, shopping.” (Vandergriendt,2018). On the whole, the contemporary perception on happiness has been degraded with impossible to meet standards from popular culture, make-shift remedies through fabricated spirituality and the glamorization of  overspending. Each person’s idea of happiness will vary from one another and change in time but it should not be shaped or controlled by others’ coercion.

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