Shouldn't all wikis have a page dedicated to happiness?
I don't altogether believe in happiness.
The brain is an organ who's purpose is to notice problems and to try to solve them. Why should it expend energy (and the brain does expend energy when we think) on experiencing happiness. Equally, I don't see much reason why it should have evolved the capacity to just passively be happy.
However, realizing this doesn't make me unhappy. Because it's not, in itself, a problem to be solved or a source of dissatisfaction. And it may explain why the nearest thing we do have to happiness is :
- being involved in trying to solve problems, and
- this activity going well.
Understanding that that's the best condition to aspire too is probably the most felicitatious accomodation to the situation we can make.
WardCunningham [thinks http://www.artima.com/intv/simplest.html thinks]] problems are different from difficulties in that problems are enjoyable and difficulties not. He defines the difference in that problems occur when you perceive the effort required to solve them as being worthwhile, and difficulties occur when you perceive the effort as unnecessary (Saddly the HandicapPrinciple probably generates difficulties requiring unnecessary effort.) See also : GreatHackers
Of course, having a brain adapted to noticing problems means that we are always in a state of dissatisfaction. Something which is easily exploited by commercialism. (See also TheWantingWithoutAName)
Happiness is contagious : (HatTip http://www.gnuband.org/2008/12/13/happinessasacontagiousviruspleasespread_it/ (HatTip ZbigniewLukasiak)
- TheDownsideOfHappiness - happy people have faults too.
- Psychologists trying to investigate it : http://www.guardian.co.uk/medicine/story/0,11381,1088230,00.html
- Authentic happiness (looks a bit new age, but allegedly got some science behind it ) : http://www.authentichappiness.org/
- Seems to be about mountain-scenery and decent HealthCare : http://images.businessweek.com/ss/06/10/happiestcountries/index01.htm?chan=rsstopSlideShowsssi_5