…or wealth? I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. A couple of days ago I was reading an article about happiness that asked if you had to choose, what would it be, happiness or wealth? At first I leaned to wealth, because, hey, I’ve been happy once or twice before, but I’ve never been wealthy, but then I used one of my favorite professor’s tricks: define happiness, and then, define wealth.

Does happiness include contentment? Or perhaps, satisfaction? What is contentment and satisfaction, is it more important than all of the material things we think we want? But what about the non-material things we want? Can they be bought? Are our desires twined with our discontent?

Does wealth include stability? Emotional health/wealth? Sure, money doesn’t buy happiness, and, as recent conversations have pointed out, lottery winners are no more emotionally content after winning the lottery than they were before, they just have more money, but, can money buy the time needed to understand our discontent? Or does money only buy more discontent?

Maybe this all falls under Aristotle’s notion of being and becoming. Does wealth infer a stasis? And, as such, does it then impede our reason for becoming; do we exist only by being? Some days, I’d like enough wealth to see for myself. Or not.

18 thoughts on “Happiness

  1. Hmm is right. I started writing a big long note exploring, pondering, etc., and realized this is a conversation best saved for an afternoon with chai tea and cakes, while sprawled over comfy couches, some fine folky strumming a guitar and singing in a corner. Something like that.

  2. Anita, that sounds great. I’d drive a long way for such a conversation. Of course the chai and cakes are incentive enough for me.

  3. Anita–I’m for the research trip. A weekend in Flin Flon. Count me in! Doesn’t even have to be a weekend, week days are just as fine.Thanks for the link.

    Brenda–Cake and conversation. What more could anyone ask.

    Anyone else in? We’ll call it the “happy ‘n wealthy” tour.

  4. your post, for some reason, reminded of the famous Buddhist saying: “All is suffering.” there might be more wisdonm in these three words than all of Aristotle.

  5. Ken I don’t like the word ‘suffering’ in that sentence. I’d prefer if it just read “All is”. Seems more appropriate.

    n: Wealth is tempting isn’t it?

  6. Does that mean you’re in for the field trip? Or only for tea and cake?

  7. I’m in. For all of it. Oh, wait, I’m in NZ. Sorry, too far this time. Bummer…

    Try looking for “”eudaemonia” or “eudaimonia”. It’s also worth checking Martin Seligman’s work, although it has a particular flavour to it that leaves me uneasy (don’t ask me to explain. I can’t).

    The concepts of non-attachment and being present seem to have a lot going for them. Of course, they’re very closely related… Something else I find useful is reminding myself that being happy is essentially a choice, although many people tend to misinterpret that. I’m pretty sure I’ve touched on these issues, but as you’re probably aware, getting a definite opinion out of me can be tricky. Guinness helps, though.

    Enjoy your tea and cakes. Sigh.

  8. “Being happy is essentially a choice.”

    I so agree, Pete! I can’t speak for everyone, but for me it has indeed been a choice. I choose to appreciate the colours of the day, and not to be angry about how my husband always leaves cap and num lock on. It’s like leaving the toilet seat up, for gosh sakes! Why does he like to “shout” when he’s playing his online game, anyhow?

    No…no issues here.

    I’d LOVE a field trip! Not sure when I could get away, though. With all the travel already planned for this summer, it could get a bit tricky.

    Perhaps we’ll make it to your neck of the woods next time, Pete 🙂

  9. I’m always up for tea and cake…but would definitely be up for a field trip sometime soonish.

    Would August be out of the question, Anita? The rest of youse?

    (though in that case it would have to be tea cakes and spit up…)

  10. Thanks Pete. Interesting from what I read so far. I’ll read more when I get more time.

    Anita & Ariel: August could work for me.

  11. August sounds lovely! I might be in Yellowknife from the 6-8th, and will definitely be in Ontario 21-24th, but all my other bits are open. If any of those open bits cooincide with any of your open bits, we might have a plan.

    What a terrific idea!

  12. How about the week of August 13-19 somewhere in that time frame?

    This sounds like a great adventure!Maybe it should become an annual event?

  13. Sounds good to me 🙂 A retreat-on-wheels? I shall colour in those blocks on my calendar…

  14. Well, in a lesson of “don’t spend hours on details with organizers who appear to play dropsy with brain cells unless you have a contract first,” it looks like my late August has opened up, schedule wise. Other than that first weekend in August 6-8, I’m free for a road trip!

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