Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Word of the Day: eldritch - Strange; unearthly; weird; eerie.

In my daily readings of the blogs I ran across this one from The Intern about how publishing your book (or making your movie or finding that $20 you lost last week) won't make you any happier than you already are. It's called the hedonic treadmill and basically says everyone has a preset internal happiness state, or in theme park terms every time you look at a map it will say "you are here" right next to the snack stands and the ladies bathroom. More specifically, it says that as achievements are accomplished, expectations arise for the next set of goals to accomplish and the happiness you feel is brought back down to normal levels.

If that's true, then balls. I don't think I entirely agree because I've read any number of books/magazine articles/community college commercials by people who say "I was in a dead end job that I hated but then I went back to school/got my dream job/married a rich old man and now I'm totally happy all the time!" And I believe those people. Maybe it's because I want to, maybe it's because it's true, but I believe they believe they are happier. And that's what really matters there. I also believe that if I had a buttload of money, a big awesome house with a big awesome view, all the shopping trips I wanted, and more free time to pursue things like writing (instead of sitting at my kitchen table until 3 am and stumbling into work bleary-eyed at 8:30 am), I think I'd be a little happier. At least more relaxed.

Of course, in order to achieve anything in life you have to experience a strong enough dissatisfaction with your current situation to reach for something more. If Thomas Edison had been perfectly happy chilling out by candlelight he never would have tried to invent the lightbulb. And that guy must have been really ticked at candles, because it took him a long time to get it right. So perhaps the pursuit is not happiness after all, but rather the pursuit of something greater. You can be happy when you're dead, right?


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