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Epistemology / Psychology

Potential Happiness?

In two previous posts I have made it clear that happiness seems almost impossible to have. Yet it is the most important thing to have. It seems impossible that such an important thing would be impossible to have. The only way to solve this dilemma is to examine it further. Since the problem has two do with being happy, we should examine and distinguish various ways that we might be happy.

Sometimes we become happy because of something that we do not have. We might expect to get something in the future, we might be happy because we have security against something bad happening or we might just see the possibilities of a course of action. For example, the person who is going to receive a pay check tomorrow and the person who is not have the same amount of money today. The only difference is that one person will have some later and another will not. This kind of happiness is very volatile. We might be happy because of tomorrow’ s trip only to discover that bad weather has cancelled the trip. Not only this, but this does not guarantee happiness once we receive what we were expecting. We might go to that good restaurant only to discover that the food is horrible.

Sometimes we become happy because of a change. We actually have something, but we do not completely have it yet. For example, we might become happen to learn about something, read a story, gain money, or discover ourselves. In all of these cases, we have these things in part, but they make us happy because we are getting more of them. The learning is fun because we are learning what we did not know before. The story is fun because it is new, the money is money we did not have before and discovery is that because we did not know it before. This sort of happiness does not satisfy because it lasts only as long as the change can reasonably be fulfilled. Sometimes this is quite long decades even. But if we ever stop, we are no longer happy.

Finally, we might be happy because of something we have completely. This is an activity. So we are happy because we are alive, we are seeing, or something similar. This sort of happiness cannot be lost unless the activity itself  can be lost. If the happiness comes from life, then it cannot be lost because only death could cause the loss of life. This appears to be the only stable form of activity.

These distinctions point out various ways that the potential of an act might change our happiness. But there is a further question to ask. Some people expect to be happy with something and then are not. Others are happy with a change, but later are not. There are reasons for this that are significant. What we can tell so far that the most stable form of happiness is found in an activity that we have completely we are not gaining anything new from that activity.

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