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Northstate's avatar

Ok....Happiness...Reality or Illusion?

Asked by Northstate (92points) September 20th, 2008

I hear everyone talking about “I’m happy with my life” – “I’m unhappy with my life…” – Etc…. – I feel that I’m happy with mine; but is there such a thing. The reality of it is that is there anyone who ever can be TRULY….TRUE – LEE….. (Please, understand the difference I’m asking about) Happy all the time type of truly happy…..I’m just asking. Interesting in my opinon. Thanks all!

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21 Answers

tinyfaery's avatar

Harp needs to give us his spiel about happiness.

Happiness to me might not appear to be happiness to you; it’s all relative. And my answer is no. But according to the Dalai Lama we are born to seek happiness, and true happiness is attainable.

wildflower's avatar

“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” – Sir Isaac Newton

I believe you can be truly happy, but not at all times because you can’t know true happiness without also knowing true sadness.
I think it’s a matter of appreciating it when it happens – and I don’t think you can apply one emotion to your entire life….....that’s just not possible! Too many emotions and too many events and changes.

“Life’s a journey, not a destination” – Aerosmith

cookieman's avatar

@ wildflower: That is the definitive answer for sure. Love your quotes also.

Lurve to you.

qualitycontrol's avatar

“think as though you are and you shall be” (don’t remember who said it)
If you go through life with a negative outlook you will naturally be unhappy
Thinking positively will bring you much more happiness.
It can be considered an “illusion” but it’s all what you make it and it is all relative.

deaddolly's avatar

I’m happy with my life as well, but I’m not ‘happy’ all the time. I think you’d have to be a bit brain dead or completely oblivious to what’s going on around you. Happiness is different for everyone. And I think it changes as you get older and realize wanting certain things doesn’t guarantee happiness.
I always wanted to be thin…thought my life would be wonderful. I got thin and had the same old problems as before…even more because I kept buying new clothes… It wasn’t until I stopped to think of what I really wanted that I began to feel contentment with my life. Being satisfied with your life means more, I think.

bodyhead's avatar

You guys take happiness to it’s logical conclusion but my answer is this:
The chemicals in my brain and my nerve endings trigger chemical induced feelings. I call one of these feelings happiness because I have no other way to describe it. Happiness itself is an illusion.

fireside's avatar

If Happiness = Contentment, then Yes it is real and attainable

qualitycontrol's avatar

well by that logic bodyhead everything perceived around us is an illusion so techinically you’re not actually posting on fluther and I’m not reading it and responding. But that’s what we call it because we have no other way to describe it.
“There is no spoon Neo”
—the all knowing oracle

bodyhead's avatar

No no. I’m using illusion metaphorically. I’m not truly ‘happy’ even when I think I am. The explanation is that the chemicals in my body and nerve endings are all firing a certain way which I choose to associate with the word ‘happy’.

qualitycontrol's avatar

you are using illusion metaphorically. So you’re metaphor is: illusion is happiness? I’m not getting it. it sounds like you’re saying: this chair is a desk.

MissAnthrope's avatar

In my experience, happiness is fleeting. There are some people who have worked on themselves and on being mindful, and they are able to be more consistently happy. I would say it helps to accept the things happening and not to allow yourself to be brought down by them. I can never hold on to this for long enough.

bodyhead's avatar

Happiness isn’t just a feeling you get. It might be easy to see it that way but it’s actually a chemical reaction in the body. Therefore, I say that the standard philosophical definition is false (or an illusion). So when I say happiness is an illusion, I guess what I really mean is what most people think about happiness is an illusion. It’s a chemical process. If we could recreate the process scientifically and stimulate the pleasure centers of the brain then we’d be happy all the time. It’s a brain thing, not a spirit thing.

Hopefully that explains it a little better. Maybe metaphor wasn’t the proper term.

…and that chair is a desk.

Harp's avatar

Happiness is a subjective phenomenon. It’s an opinion, a judgment, about one’s own state of mind. No one can say with any reasonable certainty that someone else is happy. Every person has to decide for him/herself whether or not it applies to them. If I think that I’m happy, then that is, by definition, happiness. There’s no outside way of proving or disproving my claim that I’m happy. The fact that I feel it makes it true.

If you could step inside my personal experience right now, feel what I’m feeling, you might decide that I’m a really happy guy based on your own standards of happiness. But to me, that same inner experlience might not qualify as happiness. But you would be just as right in calling it happiness as I would be in calling it unhappiness, because it’s a judgment, not an entity.

Can subjective phenomena be considered “real”? I’d say that would depend on the reality of the subject. In other words, is there really an “I” to be happy or unhappy? To whatever extent I am real, then my subjective judgments are real.

tinyfaery's avatar

Try this thread

Interesting discussion about happiness

loser's avatar

Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

Harp's avatar

Yeah, tiny, that was good. Since you brought it up, I’d like to make the connection between what I said in that discussion (here) and what I’m saying above.

When one is absorbed in one’s own subjective experience, one is to some extent cloistered off from the world in a bubble of self. To whatever extent one is absorbed in the world beyond the bubble, one becomes less concerned with that little inner sphere. Live outside of that bubble long enough and, eventually, what had been the “outer” world becomes all Subject. The bubble is revealed as only a pseudo-self. When all the world is Self, does “happiness” really have a meaning anymore?

lapilofu's avatar

Anyone who is interested in this subject should read Daniel Gilbert’s “Stumbling on Happiness” or at least watch his TED talk.

He not only has a number of very interesting things to say about the things that make a person happy that seeming go against common sense, but also demonstrates methods that make it actually feasible to study happiness in an objective manner. (Not on a specific individual level but, for instance, in comparing the average happiness level of two groups of people.)

AtSeDaEsEpPoAoSnA's avatar

I think to a household lamp it is any illusion, but for most people it is only as real as the high points in there life. I am glad to know what I am and how I will always be.

mzgator's avatar

Happiness is my reality. I wake up every day happy. I make the choice to have a happy life. That is not to say that I don’t have bad days or problems . It’s all about attitude and how you choose to deal with problems. The bottom line is I have an awesome life with an awesome family. I am not going to let anything detract me from that. I am going to choose to be happy, cherish and love those most important to me each and every day and have a happy life for as long as I am blessed by God to live.

LouisianaGirl's avatar

Sometimes I guess

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
~ Mahatma Gandhi

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