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EmilyVierling

Monday,April28,2014
SaraPrice

AchievingTheHigherStandard

Whatishappiness?Thisquestionhasnostraightforwardanswer,becausethemeaningofthe
questionitselfisunclear.Whatexactlyisbeingasked?Perhapsyouwanttoknowwhattheword
happinessmeans.Inthatcaseyourinquiryislinguistic.Chancesareyouhadsomethingmore
interestinginmind:perhapsyouwanttoknowabouttheconcepthappiness,itself.Isitpleasure,alifeof
prosperity,somethingelse?Howdoweacquireit?Acquiringhappinessisimportantbecauseifwe
dont,weliveourlivessufferingwithnoreward.Thiscausesustobecomeunsatisfiedwithourselves.
However,ishappinessreallyareward?Forexample,inthebookBraveNewWorld,lowkeypleasure
isportrayedashappiness.Inthebook,happinessisartificial,madetoreplicatethefeelingof
contentmentandglee,butalteredsoitiseverlasting.Intodayssociety,inordertoachievehappinesswe
mustseekoutwaystogrowtogetherasacommunity,demonstratekindnesstowardsothers,andfind
ourpurposeinlife,whichwouldresultinasocietythatvaluesahigherstandardofhumanity,neveratthe
expenseofconsuming.

Interdependenceplaysameaningfulroleinhappinessbyallowingindividualstotrusteachother,
creatinglastingrelationshipsandafeelingofplacement.Anexampleofthisisshownonthesmallisland
ofOkinawawherethecommunityisheldstronglytogetherbyabondofinterdependence.Okinawaisa
smallIslandoffthecoastofJapan.InterdependenceisapassionatevalueamongtheOkinawan
community.InthemovieHappy,oneofOkinawa'solderresidentsstates,MyfatherDiedinthewar.I
amallbymyself,butmyneighborstakecareofme(Happy).TheresidentsofOkinawaareconnected
throughculturalritualsandmanyfriendships.Ontheislandeveryoneknowsoneanother,constantly
givingeachothersupport.Havingalotoffriendsishappiness(Happy).Thiswasstatedbyanelderly
homeresidentwhohasbeenlivingontheislandsinceshewasyoung.Okinawaisacommunitythathas
flourishedintooneofthehappiestplacesintheworld,however,tomeOkinawaisarareoccurrence
becauseoftheamountoffriendshipinthatcommunityandhoweveryoneisaccepted.Ithink
interdependenceisimportantintightknitcommunitiesbecauseitcreatesasenseofsecurityand
stabilitywhichinturngivestheresidentshappiness.Happinessispresentedtotheresidentsbecause
theyknowtheywillalwaysbesupportedthroughouttheirlivesandthatinterdependencewillallowthem
tolivewithoutworryorfearofbeingforgotten.

Kindnessisachoice.Itcanbeafactorofyourcharacterifyouchooseittobe.Kindnessleads
tohappinessbecauseyouputtheneedsofothersinfrontofyourown.Kindnessgivesyouasenseof
significance,thatyouhavemadeadifferenceinsomeoneslifeandthisinturngrantsyoutrue
happiness.IntheArticle,ResearchShowsKindnessLeadstoHappinessbyAlexDixon,itexplains
anexperimentwhere86peopletookasurveymeasuringlifesatisfaction.Theexperimentwasto
measurehappinessbeforeandafteratasktheywereinstructedtofollow.The86participantswerefirst
splitupintothreegroups.Thefirstgrouphadtocompleteanactofkindnesseverydayforadurationof
tendays.Thesecondgroupwastoldtotrysomethingneweveryday.Thethirdgroupwastoldtodo
nothing.Attheendoftheexperimenttheparticipantswereinstructedtotakeasurveythatwould
measuretheirhappiness.Theresultswereindisputable.Thearticlestates,Thegroupsthatpracticed
kindnessandengagedinnovelactsbothexperiencedasignificantandroughlyequalboostin
happinessthethirdgroupdidntgetanyhappier.Thefindingssuggestthatgooddeedsdoinfactmake
peoplefeelgoodevenwhenperformedoveraslittleas10daysandtheremaybeparticularbenefits
tovaryingouractsofkindness,asnoveltyseemslinkedtohappinessaswell(Dixon).Inthemovie
Happyitstateskindnessisgoodmedicine.Itisamedicinethatfeedsthefeelingofimportance.Italso
makesyoubecomeabetterperson,makingyoufeelbetteraboutyourself,whichmakesyouhappier.

Iamhereforareason.Whatisthemeaningofmylife?WhydoIexist?Thesearequestionswe
askourselvesconstantly,alwaysattemptingtoreachtheconclusionofwhywearehere.Meaningisto
haveanimportantorworthwhilequalityorpurpose.Eachpersonisunique,soeverypersonsmeaning
isdifferent.Youcanthavehappinesswithoutmeaningbecause,asthearticleTheresMoretoLife
thanBeingHappybyEmilyEsfahaniSmithstates,Happinesswithoutmeaningcharacterizesa
relativelyshallow,selfabsorbed,orevenselfishlife.Obviously,happinesswithoutmeaningdoesnt
reallycreateahappyperson.Beinghappycanleadtounhappinesswhenpeoplerealizethattheyhave
takeninsteadofgiven.AsKathleenVohsstatesinthearticle,TheresMoretoLifethanBeing
Happy,Happinessisaboutfeelinggood,thatlifeisiseasy,theresalackofstressandworry.Happy
peoplegetalotofjoyfromreceivingbenefitsfromothers.Ameaningfullifemeanstogiveapartof
themselvesawaytoothersandmakingsacrificeonbehalfofothers.Peopleleadingameaningfullifeget
alotofjoyfromgivingtoothers(Vohs).I,asanindividual,wouldratherliveameaningfullifebecause
Igainjoyfromgivingtoothers.Meaningprovidesareason,areasontobehappy,itfillstheempty
spaceandmakesyoufeelcomplete.Truehappinessisnotattainedthroughselfgratification,butthrough
fidelitytoaworthypurpose.

Inordertoreachahigherstandardofhumanitywemustsetanexpectationinwhichwe,asa
society,donotseekhappinessthroughtheexpenseofothersinordertoconsume.Oursocietylivesoff
ofconsumerism.Manypeoplearesoinvolvedinparticipatingintheconsumerismthattheydontlookat
thebigpicture.Wheredotheseproductscomefrom,whomakesthem?IntheCongochildrenrisktheir
livesfortheseproductsthatwecantlivewithout.Inthearticle,ChildrenoftheCongowhorisk
theirlivestosupplyourmobilephonesbyFrankPiaseckiPoulsen,itstatesInunsafeminesdeep
undergroundineasternCongo,childrenareworkingtoextractmineralsessentialfortheelectronics
industry.Boysasyoungas12spenddaysundergrounddiggingmineralsineasternCongominerals
whichcanendupinmobilephones(Poulsen).Manypeopledontknowthecostthatcomeswiththeir
productsthatmakethemhappy.Thedocumentary,Chocolate:TheBitterTruth,helpsconsumers
understandjusthowobliviouswearetotherealproblem,inthiscase,childslavery.Inthedocumentary
anundercoverCNNJournalistsearchestofindthetruthbehindthemassivechocolateproductions
aroundtheworldandcollectChildSlaveCocoaBeans.Attheendthedocumentarythejournalist
makeshisownchocolateandputsthechildlaborlabelonit.Whenheofferedittopeopleonthe
streets,theywouldnoteatit.Itsstrangetoseesuchanintellectualsocietybeblindedbytheir
pleasures.Thesetwoareexamplesofwhatwegiveupinordertoachieveourhappiness,thewellbeing
ofothers.Inthesocietyweliveintoday,weareconditionedtoconsumeandignorethedamageit
causes.InthefutureIhopethereisasolutiontothisoblivionthatthesocietyisrepresenting.

Sowhat?Whyisitsocriticalthatweexaminehowtoachievehappiness?Happinessallowsus
togrowourcharacterandbecomemoreinvolvedwiththepeopleorthingsaroundus.Weneedto
examinetheprocessofachievinghappinessbecauseitallowspeopletotestthelimitsandbreakthrough
totheiridentity.Inthepursuitofhappinessouridentitybecomesmoreprominent.Findingyouridentity
enablesyoutobecomepartofthecommunityandencouragesyoutostrivetowardsahigherstandard
ofhumanitywithkindness,selfesteem,andmeaning.Examiningtheprocessofachievinghappiness
showsthefaultsandflawsandallowsustoacceptthem.Happinessmaycomeandgoliketheseasons
butintheend,everymomentthatyouhavethatisfilledwithhappinesswillbewellworththesador
unnervingmomentsthatyouhavehadtoendure.