Every time I watch a TED talk, I usually zone out after a couple minutes, but after the video is finished I realized that it was surprisingly pretty educational, although I prefer Vsauce. A couple days ago, I saw a video that talks about synthetic happiness.
I found it pretty surprising, as I thought someone who would win a lottery would be happier than a paraplegic man after a year, but the level of happiness is the same for both.
When I asked my friend about the video, he disagreed, saying, “What if the person who won the lottery saved their money? Why would you want to lose control of your legs?” I saw his point, but then an adult said that happy people would stay happy, and unhappy people would stay unhappy, even with money. I thought that was true. Last year, I felt pretty unhappy, as every little thing that didn’t go in my way would ruin my entire day. This year however, I made some better more permanent choices and had a more positive attitude. Watching this video, my neurons fired and I remembered reading an article about how Costa Rica is the happiest country in the world, yet it isn’t the richest. Looks like I’m moving tonight! Just kidding, but according to Time.com, the world’s richest countries aren’t the happiest due to high ecological footprints, although the article doesn’t take in account of internal inequality and human rights issued.
Being in a rich country myself, I feel like getting money or gifts gives you happiness, but only for so long. I feel like even though money doesn’t necessarily gives you eternal happiness, I think it plays a factor. For example, cities with a lot of poverty have a lot of crime because they either need money or just fed with their lives. So environment plays role. How about genetics? According to HuffPost Healthy Living, if you’re missing some nucleotides at a specific location on the oxytocin receptor gene, then you’ll be more optimistic. If you do have them, then you’re out of luck 😦 .
One controversial question that comes to mind is, “Can synthetic happiness lower suicide rates?” I feel like society is a bit too materialistic, I mean I see toddlers with iPads and iPhones! The problem is, these kids get used to getting what they want, which doesn’t always happen in life. Also, kids constantly being on their electronic devices may make them unfit and lazy to work. These factors may result in pessimism and depression, which might lead to suicide. I think we should look at the good things in life, such as technology, food, water, electricity, free education (Monday sucks though), and other things. Not to offend anyone, but I think religion can help also, as most likely no one is going to bully or make fun of you in a church, mosque, temple, shrine, or wherever you worship.
Sometimes in life though, there will be times where being happy is kind of impossible. Yes, I heard the saying that nothing is impossible, but let’s be real, if your parents or your friends died, you wouldn’t be having the happiest day of your life unless you’re a masochist or a sadist… My advice: Just don’t fall into drugs or any other inappropriate stuff to relieve stress. “But my life is miserable!” Just don’t. Your life will get worse once you start bad habits and you will be in a worst spot than when your parents or friends died. Just like how the paraplegic man was at the same level of happiness as the person who won the lottery, life will eventually get better. Find new friends or get closer with your remaining family members. Although this is just one situation, you shouldn’t start submerging into bad habits and talk to someone for other situations also.
~ Martin (Loquacious Magpie)