SpineOut : October November 2015
Happiness; a word so liberally used, so barely understood. Who knew that an ostensibly simple emotional state could be so sought after, yet so aggravatingly elusive? Humanity’s quest to seek and truly understand the idea of ‘happiness’ has perplexed scientists, psychologists, religious leaders, philosophers, ultimately the world... to no end throughout the course of time. Google wisely tells us that it is ‘a state of being happy’. But what is it really; a perfectly balanced combination of neurochemicals- dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, endorphins? A sample in a test tube, an equilibrium in a set ratio? Or might it be the attainment of a state of enlightenment, a divine connection with the transcendent, and truly knowing God? Is it really possible to compress the complexity of this experience into a restrictive definition, to cram all the meanings in the world into a single sentence? Assaulted with false ideals – materialism, Hedonism, individualism to the point of egocentrism – and the subject of relentless marketing campaigns in every waking hour, the consumerist society we live in harnesses the human yearning to acquire things in the hope of making us happy, just for an infinitesimal amount of time. Aggressive advertising campaigns urge us to believe that buying a product equates to buying happiness, exemplified in Coca-Cola’s iconic ‘Open Happiness’ slogan. However, we are at the mercy of a phenomenon called hedonic adaptation- we as humans strive to acquire whatever we think will make us happy, but after an initial rush of ‘happiness’, we begin to take it for granted and soon move on to lust after something newer, better, more ‘perfect’ than the last – or so these TheParadoxofHapp i nessbySeraph i na guileful agencies try to persuade us into believing - expanding our cupboards instead of expanding our minds. Countless studies have shown that the same holds true for money. We train ourselves to believe that the more we have, the more contented we will be. In reality, there is only a small correlation between having money and being happy, ultimately leaving us floundering in the vast emptiness of materialism. Has this notion, this entity of ‘happiness’ been warped into something twisted, unattainable, sad? Read On ...
August September 2015
December January 2016