Happiness and why I Don’t Care About it

something witty

“Are you happy?”

Someone who loves me asked me this question. It was the only thing she wanted to know.

The answer was no, but I answered “I think I’m getting there.” I wanted to give her the comfort and reassurance she sought, misleading or not. She asked as though it was the most important thing in the context of my life, but it didn’t sit right with me.

Why is the most important thing to you that I’m happy? What if I’m not happy, but I’m kind? Is that not important? What if I’m not happy, but I’m generous? Is that not important? What if I’m not happy, but I am creative and free? Is that not important?

We’re so hard up for happiness, the idea is even being sold to us.



It underlies almost all of our media and advertisements. Evidently we’re so desperate, advertisers think we’re dense enough to think…

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2 responses to “Happiness and why I Don’t Care About it

  1. Seems to be a reflection of our culture’s obsession with the self–we are encouraged to turn inward, to focus on the self, not the other. That is why kindness–an outwardly focused virtue, seems to be a secondary concern. We are a culture of individuals, leading to an intrinsic belief in and concern for an individual’s happiness. Happiness has become the primary marker of a complete and fulfilled individual self. Which, ironically or not, serves to reassure the others–this marker of inward focus has developed a corresponding outward vector.

    It sounds as though you want to shift cultural focus outward…besides conversations about kindness emphasizing the importance of non-inward virtues, how could this be done?

  2. Culturally it needs to be more than privileged people trying to prosper a broader empathy from a decidedly non-broad place. It’s easy to want to turn to the self and gilded places for the selves one wants to be around, and that limits one’s humanity.

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