Hello everyone! This will be a pointless post with me rambling on about happiness as I have been thinking a lot about what happiness is and what makes us happy. I have this existing debate with two of my friends about the matter. Do we have a saying how happy we feel or is it something dictated by our bodies?
My friends think happiness is out of what happens to us that we have this inherited hormonal level of happiness where we go back to despite if we win in a lottery or lose a foot. There have been studies done about the matter for identical siblings that their state of happiness has been constant despite different routes their lives have taken. And they say happiness is nothing but our neurons and hormones reacting to the stimulus. But I don’t see our biology as deterministic that we don’t have a saying to our own well-being and experienced happiness.
I think we can influence the amount of happiness felt. And before I go on, I want to state I don’t think we can be constantly happy that happiness should be the ultimate goal in life. I think struggle, stress, and challenging ourselves have a lot to do with the felt contempt in our own life more than dopamine high from one instance. But when I say we can influence the happiness felt, I mean that how we look at things, what we aspire, and how we interact with others have a lot to do how happy we feel. That happiness isn’t some inner state that suddenly happens. It is gained with active action like meditation and the harmony it brings or debating with others or climbing or painting a picture or writing.
The odd thing is that even when I write I might not feel that dopamine high or be gleeful at all, and more than often it can be a struggle, yet, I feel happier and more at peace with myself than when I searched for quick fixes of hormonal highs. Writing is challenging. It sometimes takes all out of me. I feel tired, irritated, miserable how things went, but yet I feel like I have given something of myself and don’t feel irrelevant and empty. And I think the key is finding meaning despite how insignificant, frivolous, or doomed it might seem to others. We all want to feel valued, important and have a purpose and I think that has more to do with felt happiness than hormones. And if you look at those words: valued, important, and purpose, the key in all them is they are words associated with our relationship to others. And thus even when they can be linked to biological meaning, there is more. There is the action between our bodies and minds with other bodies and minds and the concepts we have dreamed and created like morals, states, laws, values, money, and so on.
And now you might say writing, climbing, or something else are solitary actions and thus the happiness and contempt felt aren’t about social interaction. I would challenge such a notion. Writing, climbing, running or something else gives us meaning, gives us the way we interact with others, gives a hint about how we relate to our surroundings. They tell us what we are, who we are, and what we value. This doesn’t mean that the contempt felt from the actions can’t change years later. Of course, they do. We are not unchangeable actors. Our minds are complex, incoherent, and contradictory.
To me, I find happiness and contempt in that I know what to do with my life, I know writing keeps challenging me, that I have to learn, to improve myself, that writing consumes me, leaving me tired and beaten, and I can continue discovering with my writing what it means to be a human being. That doesn’t mean as I write, I don’t feel like Kraken shit some days. I do. There are days I hate what I did, who I am, and where I am going. I am uncertain about the future, and sometimes the fear of failure overwhelms me, but I feel better, more alive, more in tune with myself than before I challenged myself, before I found a way to interact with the world, and find a way to voice my opinions about humans, our societies and what are the ultimate failures we seem to do centuries after centuries. May it be through comic fantasy, but at least I’m not bound to some box that dictates what I can say and what not.
And before I finish this ramble. I’m not saying that biology doesn’t play a part at all. Of course, it does. Our minds are not disconnected from our bodies. I know painfully well, for example, how hormones can insinuate sometimes how I should feel, but I have a saying as well. I can influence how I perceive and interact with the world and with my own body. And there is a layer of told stories above us all about, for example, human rights, money, rules, freedom, free will, laws, values, cultures, and so on that influence how I see myself, how I see my happiness, what I think about happiness, how I see others, and how I interact with them. Challenge yourself, do something, make something, dance, laugh, hug, debate, and talk to other human beings.
Thank you for reading!