I’m sorry this is a rant. Just follow along and if you get bored I won’t fault you for not reading it in its entirety.
In introductory economic courses one learns how to prioritize scarce resources to optimize the consumer’s utility. It’s so much easier to find the tangent point on the highest possible indifference curve in class than in life. Not just because the numbers grow substantially and the goods become more real, but because it’s laughable to think we have a mathematical measurement to happiness. Yes, efficiency does provide a good foundation, but as I formulate the proper equations to figure out exactly how much of product A and B my consumer should buy to maximize their budget, I’m left wondering is this truly happiness? Of course not. It’s a problem that needs to be solved. But when it’s applied to the real world does it suddenly become real or am I still just solving problems with more at stake?
How much easier would like be if happiness was a tangible score? What if we all had a weight watcher point system for our actions. Go to the gym and achieve five points; finish your homework and earn ten. What if our daily lives were actually measured on a 100 point scale and we could know just how close to happiness we really were, wouldn’t that make life easier? Or would it just make it sadder. Perhaps we thrive on the ambiguity of success, and perhaps it creates a drive that only comes from an infinite journey.
I ask myself these questions because of Twitter of all things. I look at hundreds of profiles, each one offering the author an opportunity to brag about their accomplishments. No one is wrong for taking this opportunity to brag, but it is curious to see just what we see as accomplishments. I could be speaking with someone who is world renown in a field I am unfamiliar with. They could lose the popular argument to an individual famous for playing video games on a youtube channel. Is success still a personal accomplishment or has it become the perception the world has of you? Perhaps that’s all social media has done, solidified life as a competition. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, I just wonder if even those who claim success is a personal achievement believe what they preach on their social media to their thousands of followers. It’s a romantic thought, but given a popular vote how many people choose the simple life over the glamor and fame. I feel it’s far more romantic for them to “wish” for it, while secretly pursuing the interviews.
This is not to fault anyone for their thoughts. Even I can’t help but fall victim to these contradictions. I’m publishing this online hoping it gets a few views. I have been jealous of others public achievements.
What makes me happy? Do I want to write something brilliant that makes the world drop to its knees or do I want to avoid the spotlight all together? While a part of me craves fame, I can feel my stomach tie in knots at the thought of being in the spotlight. I hate getting my picture taken for family photos seen by a dozen people, I would melt if exposed to the world.
I just genuinely don’t know what happiness is. I know that’s not profound and I know many ask the same thing. I just don’t know, I don’t know where to start, and the sad thing is even if I know where to look I might be going the wrong way. Is happiness a contradiction? Is it too complete to ever be achieved? Will we ever satisfy every morsel of desire we have or is that just a paradox? We want to be charitable and comfortable, open and mysterious, brave but live to see another day. If war guaranteed you would survive wouldn’t you sign up to be on the front line so the bards could sing of your heroics for centuries?
I’m sorry for the rant.
If you made it all the way through, I hope you weren’t too bored.