Happiness to me is like a cloud. A cloud can be altered by its environment and it grows and shrinks by its climate. Clouds can disappear and reform, but there will not be clouds; happiness is always present. We, as a tenacious and ambitious species, have to just find it and make happiness out of situations. Happiness is one common denominator between cultures and people in my eyes. As it stands, who doesn’t want to be happy? On a basic level, I believe that our search for happiness is the greatest motivator. We do what we do in the hopes that we will ultimately find greater happiness, whether it is rising on the corporate ladder or going to an underdeveloped country to volunteer. It does seem intuitive to think one values this supposed state of mind so highly, we can reach that belief.
“We accept the ups and downs and care mainly about our average happiness over a longish period of time” according to Lanyard. I don’t agree with Lanyard's assumptions in his analysis (Lanyard). This is because unlike getting achieving success academically, there is a paradox between the ultimatum and how we evaluate our mode of discourse. Honestly speaking, when we value happiness very highly, we will set standards and expectations for happiness that are very difficult to attain. This can easily lead to disappointment when we fail to meet our goals, especially when the goals are concrete to lead to an abstract goal.
Myers's views are quite interesting as well. Myers states that “we are not born for happiness” as Samuel Johnson wrote (Myers). However, I think that we are born in a state of happiness. I like to think that the dogma “Ignorance is bliss” supports my claim in this sense. This is because when babies are always jubilant and happy because societal norms and such have not affected the baby yet; this means that I believe we as humans enter the world with optimism and nothing but happiness, but events and the environment around us at a young age shape the temperament that is reported in these reports. That being said, Myers is quite detailed in his acknowledgment of other scientists and scholars' results from their research. “Even my esteemed fellow Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has written that genuinely happy individuals are few and far between”(Myers). I agree with this humorous assessment because I remember my readings in Buddhism suggesting that desire is the root cause of suffering. It’s this society that decreases our state of being due to conforming to this environment. As shown in the videos we watched in class, it is unbeknownst to those who live in closed-off communal societies why we work for a profit. Everything we do is in pursuit of a profession and expanding ourselves beyond who we really are. Like how Henry Thoreau said, we must be with ourselves to truly be happy. Our western environment that inspires ambition only increases our desires, thus our suffering.