12 abr. 2011

The Happiness Base

The poet Kenneth Koch in one of his short stories talks about the happiness base, a concept he credits to one of his friends.

The happiness base is not happiness itself, but all of the contributing factors. Health, personal relationships, personal autonomy, the ability to enjoy sensual pleasures, satisfaction derived from accomplishments, temperament and brain chemistry, absence of extreme stress, etc...

Koch then went on to develop the idea of the "poetry base" in a book called Making Your Own Days. I stole this concept and transformed it into the "scholarly base" on my other blog.

But back to the happiness base. Having all the pieces in place, or even most of them, does not guarantee happiness. Not having a few of these pieces will make you less happy, but does not doom you either. A single thing like seriously messed-up brain chemistry can override everything else.

Looking at this in this way has helped me a great deal to work on things that make me unhappy and achieve a kind of balance.

1 comentario:

Clarissa dijo...

I think that being happy is an acquired skill. There are people who have a long list of things to be happy about but if one little thing is missing, they will concentrate on that and be intensely miserable about it.

And then there are people who have the skill of finding one good thing they have in the midst of even the most disastrous circumstances and constructing an edifice of happiness around it.

Over the years, I have noticed absolutely no correlation between people's actual circumstances and how happy they were about their lives. To give an example, people in very poor countries often report much higher levels of happiness with their lives that people in rich countries.