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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My theory on happiness

[Important note: this has nothing to do with my last post, although it seems like an appropriate follow-up]

I'm enrolled in a philosophy of happiness course-- admittedly my first philosophy course ever-- and I just read an intro, catch-all academic article on different philosophies discussed throughout the existence of mankind on what happiness is and what makes us happy.

I thought it would be painfully difficult to come up with an original theory for the philosophy of happiness (I'm sure it's not actually original and is related to other theories, but it comes from personal experience as opposed to me rewording another philosopher's idea), but I have an idea of what I think happiness is.

I once had a therapist (I've had many, but this one said something relevant to this discussion) who told me that one bad experience is worth several good experiences. I'm not sure if this is scientifically valid, or if I'm not remembering her correctly, but I remember that this idea was put into my head that I had to seek out positive experiences to balance out the negativity in my past, and therefore I could move forward and learn to trust people.

It's kind of a sad theory, but I think overall happiness is having a higher ratio of good experiences to bad experiences. Like 5:1 would be a good base ratio.

This is a horrible thought, but I think it may be accurate. And I think that's why I find it so important to treat people well (although I've failed in the past) and take care of my community.

Man that theory sucks.

1 comment:

  1. You know, I was thinking about this when I was reading the article. (Hypothetical comment-readers: The Bean and I are in the same class.) One of the things that bothers me about the lifelong-approximation theory of happiness is that it suggests that people who've had extremely traumatic experiences are less capable of happiness overall. I wanted to get into the persistence (or lack thereof) of identity over time, and the idea that insofar as happiness describes a state across time it should only apply to the present, relatively recent past, and reasonably foreseeable future.

    This theory suggests the opposite of that, which is a problem for my theory, because I'm coming to the table with wishful thinking about the consequences of my childhood and you're bringing an expert opinion from a medical professional.