On the nature of happiness

I had a dream last night that I was arguing on the telephone with ectropy.

Why her? I have no idea. I don’t know her, and don’t have any association with her other than LiveJournal. But there it is.

In any event, we were arguing about the nature of happiness. She was trying to get a gumball out of a gumball machine, and there was one purple gumball in the machine–all the way at the top. Her argument was that she wouldn’t be happy unless she got the purple gumball, but since it would clearly require her to buy all the gumballs in the machine, it wasn’t worth pursuing.

I argued that the happiness isn’t in the gumball, it’s in yourself, and that the secret is to be happy no matter what gumball you get.

I have no idea what any of this means. Dreams are stupid, anyway. πŸ™‚

20 thoughts on “On the nature of happiness

  1. How strange! Did you read my post about the colours before you went to sleep? Or was I simply channeling purple thoughts really strongly last night?

  2. How strange! Did you read my post about the colours before you went to sleep? Or was I simply channeling purple thoughts really strongly last night?

  3. I argued that the happiness isn’t in the gumball, it’s in yourself, and that the secret is to be happy no matter what gumball you get.

    Words of wisdom, indeed.

    (Though I must admit *I’d* want the purple gumball, too!)

  4. I argued that the happiness isn’t in the gumball, it’s in yourself, and that the secret is to be happy no matter what gumball you get.

    Words of wisdom, indeed.

    (Though I must admit *I’d* want the purple gumball, too!)

  5. “I argued that the happiness isn’t in the gumball, it’s in yourself, and that the secret is to be happy no matter what gumball you get.”

    Tis true, in order to be happy you have to be happy w/ yourself. In order to be happy w/ yourself, you have to know who you are. In order to know who you are .. you have to explore and find what makes you happy.

    Hence the purple gumball would make her happy momentarily, but would it have also allowed some insight into who she was as a person?

    • Okay, granted. As Francis Bacon said, “Your true self can be known only by systematic experimentation, and controlled only by being known.” I’d say the same is true for happiness–it can be found only by systematic experimentation.

      Still, if you always think your happiness depends on having the purple gumball, you’ll spend all your life chasing purple gumballs. A perfectly valid experiment is to deny yourself the purple gumball and see if you can be happy anyway.

  6. “I argued that the happiness isn’t in the gumball, it’s in yourself, and that the secret is to be happy no matter what gumball you get.”

    Tis true, in order to be happy you have to be happy w/ yourself. In order to be happy w/ yourself, you have to know who you are. In order to know who you are .. you have to explore and find what makes you happy.

    Hence the purple gumball would make her happy momentarily, but would it have also allowed some insight into who she was as a person?

  7. Philosophy of happiness

    In any event, we were arguing about the nature of happiness. She was trying to get a gumball out of a gumball machine, and there was one purple gumball in the machine–all the way at the top. Her argument was that she wouldn’t be happy unless she got the purple gumball, but since it would clearly require her to buy all the gumballs in the machine, it wasn’t worth pursuing.

    I argued that the happiness isn’t in the gumball, it’s in yourself, and that the secret is to be happy no matter what gumball you get.

    My question would be – if indeed happiness could be found in a purple gumball, why would it not be worth pursuing at any lengths or cost?

    Actually, you know, happiness might be contained within the purple gumball. Happiness is, after all, exactly what we think it is. As you believe, so it is, you know. If a person TRULY believed that happiness could be found with the purple gumball, and then they received a purple gumball, then it might actually work.

    More realistically speaking – I was discussing this with my daughter’s baseball coach. The kids had gotten it into their head that a certain bat was “lucky”. They kept using this particular bat and low-and-behold they all kept hitting the ball. Because they believed that it was lucky – it was lucky.

    But then again I could be completely full of …. gumballs. πŸ˜‰

    • Re: Philosophy of happiness

      “Actually, you know, happiness might be contained within the purple gumball. Happiness is, after all, exactly what we think it is. As you believe, so it is, you know.”

      Well, that’s something of a philosophical statement.

      If your happiness depends on external factors, like having a urple gumball, then it’s probably more fragile than happiness that comes from within–and you’re likely to spend more of your time chasing after that happiness. Happiness that depends on things outside yourself is harder to get and easier to lose than happiness that does not.

      If you’re happy no matter what gumball you have, that kind of happiness is probably the easier and more lasting kind–the hard part is in bringing yourself to the point that you can be happy with any gumball in the first place.

      • Re: Philosophy of happiness

        If you’re happy no matter what gumball you have, that kind of happiness is probably the easier and more lasting kind–the hard part is in bringing yourself to the point that you can be happy with any gumball in the first place.

        Yes, I do agree. I was really just being philosophical. πŸ™‚

  8. Philosophy of happiness

    In any event, we were arguing about the nature of happiness. She was trying to get a gumball out of a gumball machine, and there was one purple gumball in the machine–all the way at the top. Her argument was that she wouldn’t be happy unless she got the purple gumball, but since it would clearly require her to buy all the gumballs in the machine, it wasn’t worth pursuing.

    I argued that the happiness isn’t in the gumball, it’s in yourself, and that the secret is to be happy no matter what gumball you get.

    My question would be – if indeed happiness could be found in a purple gumball, why would it not be worth pursuing at any lengths or cost?

    Actually, you know, happiness might be contained within the purple gumball. Happiness is, after all, exactly what we think it is. As you believe, so it is, you know. If a person TRULY believed that happiness could be found with the purple gumball, and then they received a purple gumball, then it might actually work.

    More realistically speaking – I was discussing this with my daughter’s baseball coach. The kids had gotten it into their head that a certain bat was “lucky”. They kept using this particular bat and low-and-behold they all kept hitting the ball. Because they believed that it was lucky – it was lucky.

    But then again I could be completely full of …. gumballs. πŸ˜‰

  9. Re: Philosophy of happiness

    “Actually, you know, happiness might be contained within the purple gumball. Happiness is, after all, exactly what we think it is. As you believe, so it is, you know.”

    Well, that’s something of a philosophical statement.

    If your happiness depends on external factors, like having a urple gumball, then it’s probably more fragile than happiness that comes from within–and you’re likely to spend more of your time chasing after that happiness. Happiness that depends on things outside yourself is harder to get and easier to lose than happiness that does not.

    If you’re happy no matter what gumball you have, that kind of happiness is probably the easier and more lasting kind–the hard part is in bringing yourself to the point that you can be happy with any gumball in the first place.

  10. Okay, granted. As Francis Bacon said, “Your true self can be known only by systematic experimentation, and controlled only by being known.” I’d say the same is true for happiness–it can be found only by systematic experimentation.

    Still, if you always think your happiness depends on having the purple gumball, you’ll spend all your life chasing purple gumballs. A perfectly valid experiment is to deny yourself the purple gumball and see if you can be happy anyway.

  11. Re: Philosophy of happiness

    If you’re happy no matter what gumball you have, that kind of happiness is probably the easier and more lasting kind–the hard part is in bringing yourself to the point that you can be happy with any gumball in the first place.

    Yes, I do agree. I was really just being philosophical. πŸ™‚

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