20 October 2010

Happy-o-meters

The problem with reading widely is sometimes you forget where you read an idea. So you'll have to excuse me this time for not providing a ref to the original article, but I know I read something on happiness and how (according to the argument presented) it can only be measured over a lifetime. Hour to hour, day to day, we experience pleasure, but happiness is something else, something measured over an extended period of time and on balance.

I disagree.

For me happiness is a moment by moment experience; an experience of being present, not of acknowledging life over your shoulder.

So I think the world needs happy-o-meters. We have pedometers, which are tedious. Who wants to know how many steps I take between computer and fridge? Oh, I'm meant to walk further than that? Piffle.

Happy-o-meters. They'd have to be a bit more classy than the mood rings in fashion when I was in high school. Who else remembers them? Mine was always dark and depressed -- it helps to realise that the cause was temperature. With poor circulation, I never warmed the ring enough for it to shine.

Back to the happy-o-meter. Can you imagine the chaos it would cause? Bride and groom get married. Bride reads husband's happy-status. It's at 1 out of 10. Divorce, or does she understand he's a bit stressed? It does make me wonder how often (or how seldom) our expectations of happiness coincide with our experience of it. Or is it that happiness isn't the absence of stress, it's engagement in life?

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