Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Oh goody, I thought, as I opened my magazine and read the story  that went with the cover picture. I figured it was an article about how to enjoy the summer.    

It was by Jeffrey Kruger, senior editor for Time, who has written more than 40 cover stories, and eight books on science and technology. The article was seven pages long, chock-full of facts about being happy in America, and our natural impulse to pursue happiness. 

The article started interestingly, with the Pilgrims arriving in Jamestown, Massachusetts, determined to pursue happy lives in the new world. It continued, decade by decade -- detailing what was new and how it affected us -- light bulbs, electricity, phones, railroads, autos -- things like the Hoover Dam that expanded our ability to obtain food, money, comfortable living, and recreation -- things we are still improving as we pursue being happy today.

Explaining that the pursuit of happiness fires up the need to seek other ways to be happy, the article included percentage numbers -- how many people, male, female, rich, poor, working, or unemployed, felt they were happy  (or not happy) -- were they optimistic or pessimistic -- were they, or weren't they as happy as they expected to be at this stage of life -- did or didn't they believe social media helped them.

There was a double-page spread called "Games of Happiness" that showed pathways for pursuing pleasure -- how work, romance, having kids, your childhood, aging, your life style (exercise, watching TV, volunteer work, having pets -- it was huge life style list  -- how all those things affect affected happiness

On each page, author Kruger dutifully listed his sources: "Journal of Labor Research," "Journal of Positive Psychology," "Bureau of Labor Statistics," "World Happiness Report," "Psychosomatic Medicine," "Journal of Positive Psychology," "MTV Research and Strategic Insights."  The names bothered me -- the statistics bothered me -- the author seemed to be proving something about happiness, but what?   
Hey, go read the article -- c;lick -- this is a link! It's a ton of stuff that adds onto a ton of information that's already lying on top of us, squashing our thoughts and feelings. Nowadays, we're told and sold what's good; asked to like/dislike, approve/disapprove, vote yay or nay -- react immediately. No wonder newspapers, magazines, and publishers are going out of business -- reading, and thoughtfully digesting information is, nowadays considered, by many, to be a big waste of time.

Hey guys, c'mon!  If you want to be happy, zero in on you -- taste, smell, touch, see, hear, and PERCEIVE how you feel -- just be you, a single, solitary individual who's doing something, and is focused on doing the work of your work.

The info in Time is mudifying and nullifying something that's obtainable if you practice perceiving and doing what feels right.  


Anonymous said...

Wonderful Emily <3 Let us just BE happy :) If we can't find the happiness where we are we simply cannot find it at all. Happy is a state of mind and the only place we should go and find it is inside of me and you within :) I am absolutely agreeing with you! Science always forgets the essence of life itself ...too wrapped up in analazys and mambojumbo ...I salut you to suffer the whole article through :D

JuttaO your Twitter and FB friend :)

Unknown said...

Hey Em!
I agree we live in too fast a pace society has turned up the pace so that reading is almost non existant... but I still like to curl up with a great novel every once in a while. I am going to read your one day soon! I live the song /video ... it makes me smile everytime I hear that song! My slogan for sure... Dont worry! Be Happy! :):):)

Poet_Carl_Watts said...

I would not expect anything less than confusion or wrongly slanted info from time.

Carola said...

I think pursuing happiness is the wrong idea. It just comes every now and then. You do what you do and live your life, and occasionally you look up and think, "Gee. I'm happy."

James Amoateng said...

Happiness I guess is like beauty. It is in the eyes of the beholder. What makes one happy varies from person to person.

Anonymous said...

I often find myself trying to figure out the 'recipe' for happiness. SO many books about it.... each trying to sell you a 'path' to happiness. I agree with you, Em, that there is no magical formula or recipe to follow. We are all unique, possessing our own ways of thinking and circumstances. It is easy to forget to focus on the little things.... the everyday things that make us smile. THAT is happiness. Great topic today Em!

Cara Lopez Lee said...

Happiness is just one of many emotional states that are part of a complete human experience. I embrace all of them. When I pursue activities that give me a sense of meaning, I find it easier to accept all my emotions: joy, sorrow, love, anger, loneliness, tranquility... I believe that when we decide some emotions are "good" and others are "bad," we put so much pressure on ourselves that it's hard to get happy.