Tuesday, 6 May 2014

changming yuan: towards happiness -12

the second category of happifiers includes all physical material, such as cars, houses, clothes, jewellry, furniture, electronics, and etc., etc. these happifiers have several fundamental features:

1/ most, if not all, of them are actually commercial products;
2/ such physical happifiers can be purchased with money (or exchanged with anything, including one's own body as in the case of most 'concubines' in contemporary china, that has an equal commercial value);
3/ these happifiers can both provide people with physical comfort and satisfy their psychological needs at the same time although to a different extent.

given these features, physical material may contribute most significantly to most people's sense of happiness or make most people feel happy. otherwise, most people all over the world would not have been trying so hard to make or get enough money in their daily lives. for them, money is so important that it can not only make the mare to go, but also enable them to 'buy' happiness itself.

nevertheless, physical material should not be confused with psychological satisfaction, just as money cannot buy everyone true happiness. this becomes self-evident upon the following two hard facts:

1/ many people are happy although they have neither 'enough' money nor much physical material;
2/ many people are unhappy although they have plenty of money or much physical material.

keeping this in mind, one realizes that one can pursue happiness in many different ways.


- 'happiness' is a unique human construct. (presumably, animals do not feel 'happy', although they may feel 'good' when their physical needs are satisfied.) that is to say,  its content and meaning may have most to do with the way we define ourselves as humans. 

- 'happiness' stands for a relative 'value'. there is no universal or absolute definition of the term; in other words, my definition of it as 'a positive psychological condition' is no more than a working one. 

- to a given individual, the true meaning of 'happpiness' may well lie in the dynamic integration of a variety of elements working side by side and to varying degrees. 


- i am aware that there may well have been tremendous discourse on the topic of happiness, especially in the past decade, but i am determined to articulate my own intuitive realizations about happiness before paying any close attention to it. for me, this articulating process serves to put a meaningful end to my spiritual journal towards happiness.

- after some casual browsing, i got an impression that most discourse on 'happiness' is more of an 'inspirational' speech act than of a legitimate science in its own right, or more of a 'bookish' course material (for such as 'positive psychology') than of a pragmatic approach, or more of a fast food than of a nutritious recipe.

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