2013 September 18
Happiness in Modern Society
Most people struggle in their lives because of a common reason: seeking for happiness. Happiness is defined in the Webster dictionary as the state of well-being and satisfaction. Out of this definition, which seems to be too general and comprehensive, people tend to offer their own interpretations. Some people believe that happiness exists wherever there is money. I don’t completely agree with this idea because I think how we use money is more important than how much money we have, in order to get happiness. Moreover, apart from money, there are many other things that can make people happy, too. To find out what really matters to our happiness and why we all struggle for seeking happiness, the book Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton will be the best source. By writing this book, Botton sends a message to everyone: to live in a happy life, we must avoid the causes that make us unhappy, such as lovelessness, expectation, and some other factors; beside that, we also need find the solutions to gain happiness that Botton mentions in the second part of the book such as philosophy, art, polictics, religion and bohemia. In my opinion, in this modern American society, happiness is simply earned by doing three things: first, avoiding the “lovelessness”; second, making as much money as you can and use it right; finally, creating a balance between your expectations and your money.
People cannot exist without love and relationships. Just imagine that you live in this world alone by yourself without any connection with other people: you work alone, live alone, and eventually end up dead in an empty funeral. I believe nobody wants to live that way; and of course, it won’t be a happy life at all. The word “lovelessness” basically means a life with no love at all, or it means a person who lives without love from other people. We all seek love from the world and make ourselves miserable by depending on this love and comparing to others. According to Botton, “The attentions of others matter to us because we are afflicted by a congenital uncertainty as to our own value, as a result of which affliction we tend to allow others’ appraisal to play a determining role in how we see ourselves” (20). In this society, love need to be shared in order to connect everybody together. Yet, the love from others will be a main factor to consider how important you are in your community, as well as to consider your own value in the others’ eyes. However, I believe we do need love to be happy, and it is not just about gaining value, it is also about your feeling when you love, care, and help someone. I think knowing that someone love you and care about you just how you feel about them, will make you feel like nothing else is better than that. They may just be your friends, but you care about them enough that you want what is best for them and in return, they want the same for you. This kind of happiness is the purest form. When you make another person happy, you will also be able to be happy and enjoy the moment. Especially in the American society today, when everybody seems to be so busy with their own lives, earning love from other people is too hard to do. They don’t even have time to love and care for their family. We should always remember that we are not living in this world alone. The truth is many of us forget that spending a few minutes with our family, especially with the old parents, just to talk, will make them happy; and in a moment of a day, when we suddenly recall those moments in our mind, we will smile silently and feel happy because know that we are not alone. Happiness will come to the places where love is shared. Botton is completely right when he suggests that lovelessness leads to unhappiness, but the solution is to gain the love we desire authentically, not by impressing with materialistic items. Happiness may come and go like seasons, but in the end, every moment that we have...
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