Reflection 07: Happiness
Happiness is overrated. To be exact, it’s a product that people pay more than they should do. This statement might sound too dark, but it is not about devaluing happiness. I want to talk about how society commercialized it. The thought starts here: is happiness a feeling?
Well, to answer, it is in some ways. “Happy” is defined as feeling or showing pleasure or contentment. The reason behind the question is that because sometimes it is more than a feeling. For example, watching videos of cat purring pleases me. This activity is connected to satisfaction but slightly different. Let’s give a little bit of attention to the word “contentment” in the definition. The way people use the expression “happy” online is related to satisfaction quite often. This aspect of happiness gives a specific context to it. There should be needs first to be satisfied. It sums up that people want stuff, and when at fulfillment, they feel happy. True, it sounds obvious. To clarify, it is not wrong to want something. The point is that want is very vulnerable to manipulation, especially in a capitalist context. It is easy to materialize happiness. Some people collect Lego models. Some people enjoy afternoon tea. Fashion items, furniture, tech devices, etc. When they are asked about their hobbies, some people would reply: it makes me happy. A big part of leisure is based on consumption. It is natural in a capitalist society, but why a hobby makes one happy? Should I be pleased through my hobby?
The division of leisure and labor is relatively modern. One of the classic explanations involves Ford. The invention of motor vehicles created a time for pure. First, it made people transport faster, which led to more free time. Second, the car industry was enormous. Many people worked at the factory, and this labor environment created division in their daily lives. The world has changed swiftly after the moto industry declined. Younger generations are not expected to have a car, a house, even a family. Capitalism society constantly drives people to spend more. The pitch is that the cycle will help you get rich. For me, after the traditionally wholesome way of life became outdated, the selling point has been happiness.
An additional aspect of it is how public nowadays are. People love to be characterized. They seek unique definitions for themselves. Hobbies that “make” you happy tickles this desire. This type of contentment is related to the sales strategy of happiness. To satisfy the need to be pleased in their ways, the easiest way of approaching it is spending. So for me, it would be an interesting thing to investigate what do we do to feel happy. The wanting to be happy can actually be some tricks that society pulled.
I can picture a comment such as “what is so wrong with seeking pleasure from stuff?” If people are looking for satisfaction in any form, it’s not a shame. I agree. However, if it is a surplus, that does not look good. The point is that modern society emphasizes the importance of being happy. Even though it is unclear what the state is, people tend to lean toward food, collections of stuff, etc. Even though how much you invest in, this is hard to fill. The concept of happiness is good. It is positive to feel pleased. But be aware, you might be guided into pay more than you need to. It will distress you to earn more, which is one of the main factors of your desire to be happy. So this would form a wasteful cycle.