Monday, April 5, 2010

My favorite subject as usual: happiness

I imagine that the work I will be doing in grad school will have a great deal with thinking about happiness, perhaps how it relates to occupations, learning, perhaps how we run public schools, but on the most part, I think I want to be happy while making work that may be about that issue as well. What form does the work take on then?

On NPR, the BBC version I was hearing about the happiness formula and on the whole how being richer doesn't make one closer to happiness and it may have been a mistake to consider GDP and other economic factors as a part of fulfillment. I've always appreciated learning about 'flow' but I also was having some caffeine and realized that that's all I need to at times feel... a lot better.

There were some other striking moments in the happiness special on the radio, one being the origin of the word happiness with it's two meanings, one being contentment, say after a long day of work, and another being related to happenstance, or luck. It went on to describe that particular form of happiness needed an appropriate trigger of risk, and if it worked out, you could be considered happy, and if it didn't, you would be unlucky and unhappy.

It also went into Ben Franklin's 13 virtues which coincidentally went against much of what is considered normal to other Americans my age, be sincere, avoid multitasking, everything in moderation, avoid uncivil tense talk, when you need to work, work... those kinds of things.

The host also brought up some great points as well against the optimist in me, describing how it is usually those with great jobs that seem to find people that find contentment in their menial job however the way that we ask someone in the service of us is entirely patronizing and we are in a great meaningful position to look down from at others doing jobs that are done for other reasons that are not solely in terms of the pursuit of happiness but actually to possibly set a good example for their children or because they are left with no other options.

I was also very interested in how it described how a money = happiness model has turned schools into a bland workforce and how many changes in happiness would require a different kind of togetherness that looked towards our communities strengths as opposed to sitting pretty in our individual homes... I feel like I've always been on to something, but I can't figure out when it occurred to me that the most rewarding life is one where I tire myself out when trying to prove something to myself, surprises along the way of mundane assignments, or the idea that I could learn without being in school and it being an exciting thing to have more there is to learn... If I uncover those stories of mine, I may be a little closer to creating that work I've always been interested in making.