What is happiness?


by Sunny
28th July, 2006 at 1:32 pm    

Over on comment is free, Khalid Mir – one of the most intelligent writers there, has put together something on the meaning of happiness. Taking that a step further for a lazy Friday afternoon, here are my views on happiness, presented as dialogue from the film Fight Club.

You buy furniture. You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you’re satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you’ve got your sofa issue handled. Then the right set of dishes. Then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug. Then you’re trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.

You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis. You’re the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.

I say never be complete. I say stop being perfect. I say let’s evolve. Let the chips fall where they may.


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  1. Leon — on 28th July, 2006 at 2:05 pm  

    Heh heh heh I love that film!

  2. Nush — on 28th July, 2006 at 2:29 pm  

    ditto its one of my all time faves!

    happy friday chaps!

  3. Nush — on 28th July, 2006 at 2:30 pm  

    btw isnt happiness just a chemical thing

  4. Don — on 28th July, 2006 at 2:46 pm  

    It is for Kismet.

  5. Rakhee — on 28th July, 2006 at 4:01 pm  

    Well I abide by 3 rules of happiness:

    1. never rely on another to bring it to you
    2. if you’re looking for it, look within
    3. you can also find it in the form of chocolate

  6. Sunny — on 28th July, 2006 at 4:22 pm  

    You have a one track mind Rakhee :|

  7. Rakhee — on 28th July, 2006 at 5:12 pm  

    Sunny! That’s supposed to be a secret!
    Humph :(

  8. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 28th July, 2006 at 7:37 pm  

    I think that happiness is being loved by people that you choose to identify with, be it family, friends, sect or cult.

    This why people can have hatred of another and still be happy.

    I’ve been watching “Tribes” on TV and I think it says a great deal about happiness, acceptance and communality of human nature across all people.

    Fight Club is a brillant movie and an even better book. Sunny you picked some great quotes from it :)

    TFI

  9. Sunny — on 28th July, 2006 at 9:19 pm  

    Happiness is knowing that nothign will be perfect. So you just got to do the best with what you have. Oh, and fine wine and fine women wouldn’t go amiss either. Ahem.

  10. jonz — on 28th July, 2006 at 10:41 pm  

    Apparently the Danes are the happiest.

  11. Old Pickler — on 29th July, 2006 at 12:14 am  

    Sunny, we may not have much in common, but you have chosen as the title of your blog entry the exact same title chosen by yours truly a couple of months ago. Check it out here and an update here.

    This shows that we are meant for each other and that politics are no barrier when you’re pickled.

  12. Don — on 29th July, 2006 at 12:56 am  

    Happiness is getting to work and looking forward to your day, then getting home and looking forward to your evening.

    Or acquiring super-powers.

  13. Old Pickler — on 29th July, 2006 at 1:15 am  

    Happiness, happiness
    The greatest gift that I possess

    But he only had a small one, so he had to use his tickling stick.

  14. El Cid — on 29th July, 2006 at 12:51 pm  

    Is the U.S. constitution the only one that promotes the pursuit of happiness?
    If so, then presumably happiness is the American Dream of bigger and better sofas. Maybe its also being part of the richest, baddest, fattest, most arrogant nation on earth.
    I like Don’s definition, but I wonder whether there is any type of adult happiness that comes anywhere near children playing without a care in the world.

  15. Rakhee — on 29th July, 2006 at 1:56 pm  

    Hmm. Don’t ya think that just accepting what you have is just resigning yourself to life? As is just looking forward to the evening. The above comments seem more about contentment to me.

    Some of my most happiest moments have been when I’ve put myself out of my comfort zone and completely excelled because of it.

    Happiness is about being content but it’s also those moments when you realise your true potential.

    Another thought – there’s a lot of happiness to be found in giving, unconditionally.

  16. Don — on 29th July, 2006 at 3:23 pm  

    Rakhee,

    Last time I left my comfort zone it took six months of physio to get back there.

  17. justforfun — on 29th July, 2006 at 4:08 pm  

    What an interesting thread – and how fortunate that India is the adopted home of the religion that is the only exponent of the persuit of happiness. “Happiness through rightousness” plus ,as Rakhee says, “unconditional giving”.

    Amazing to think that a bronze age philosopher was so advanced compared to us.

    Google “Zoroaster” and “Happiness” and you will find all you are looking for if Happiness is your goal.

    Might explain why all the Parsis I know are the happiest people I know – or it might be the just the large amounts of hard liquor they drink.

    Justforfun

  18. sonia — on 29th July, 2006 at 4:14 pm  

    sunny’s definitely on to something. i think sort of what he’s getting at is that it’s useful to realize at the start that it’s all relative. if you’re happy with sth now, you might not be later as much, and want sth else..etc. i guess its understanding the nature of desire better.

  19. Fe'reeha — on 29th July, 2006 at 6:20 pm  

    Well for me happiness is just a state of mind! Relative to time and space.
    Who knows the beggar on the street who sleeps in rags might be the happiest and most content person in the world, while soul may bleed of someone apparently lying in his lace covered silk drapped sofas.
    OK maybe I sound too Miltonic.

  20. El Cid — on 29th July, 2006 at 7:33 pm  

    A map showing the global distribution of sofas:
    http://news.sky.com/skynews/picture_gallery/picture_gallery/0,,70141-1229121-1,00.html

  21. Don — on 29th July, 2006 at 8:16 pm  

    Re. the happy map,

    What’s Mongolia got to be so happy about?

  22. El Cid — on 30th July, 2006 at 1:02 pm  

    ah.. the life of a nomad, BBQs every day, as Dr Dre say

  23. sonia — on 30th July, 2006 at 1:06 pm  

    you’ve definitely got sth there feree’ha!

  24. sonia — on 30th July, 2006 at 2:44 pm  

    well this is well known in psychology – law or principle of relativity.

  25. Sunny — on 30th July, 2006 at 2:54 pm  

    Folks, happiness is always going to be about having a particular state of mind (or inviting the release of certain harmones if you want to get technical).

    But the question is how do you get to that state of mind? And if you do, how do you stay there? And if every high must be followed by a low, how do you keep your mind level balanced and yet keep it in positive (happy) territory?

    I must admit I’m usually in positive or happy territory. I don’t know exactly why, and I’m constantly trying to learn more about myself, go deep into “inner space”, and figure out what makes me tick. The surest path to happiness would be to figure how to get, strategically, and then do it.

    It has to be planned. In a way that I think Buddhism is a plan towards happiness rather than a religion in the contemporary sense.

  26. Kismet Hardy — on 1st August, 2006 at 2:19 am  

    Happiness comes from knowing you’re liked, adored even, agreed with, maybe admired or envied a bit perhaps and that total belief that today you look good enough to eat and capable of acting well enough to get a round of applause by all and sundry

    Or you could save yourself all that introspection and just suck on a crack pipe and jack off happily to Pregnant Goat Sucker vol IV

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