Being happy is not a utopia: reflections on happiness

We all have the right to happiness, but not everyone knows what it is, what it is and what it is for. Happiness is an absolutely personal and subjective concept, therefore, each human being will define what it is to be happy for him.

Then, we will reflect on this subject, in which material goods and ostentatious goods are confused with some frequency, the time we spend on producing money to gain time, the fame and myth of the money they make to happiness and sometimes give us a catastrophic end.

Does money make happiness or not?

The conceptualization of happiness has varied according to sociocultural factors, evolutionary cycles, theoretical perspectives, areas of science, etc. All have tried to give a definition that can clarify and make understand what it is to be happy, from Chinese and Greco-Roman philosophy to ethologists, neuroscientists and psychologists, such as Darwin, Ekman, Friesen, Maslow, Freud, Seligman, among others.

Perhaps, one conclusion is that happiness – like other abstract concepts such as love, loyalty, honesty, generosity and others of the same tenor – is difficult to give a general definition, since each person elaborates his own definition under absolutely subjective and personal parameters.

The origin of the term happiness derives from Latin congratulations which translates as ‘fertile’. The concept is still correct, since when you reread and study the different definitions of happiness, everyone is present; because fertility implies development, project, growth, initiative, progress, meanings that are related to being happy.

Happiness can be understood as a state of mind in which the human being feels satisfied, happy and happy. Happiness is associated with pleasure, but also the feeling of being happy:

  • Concatenates neuroendocrine biological factors.
  • It involves the limbic system in the brain.
  • It involves emotional factors, since happiness is clearly a feeling that is partly based on joy (one of the six basic Darwinian emotions)
  • It involves cognitive factors: it leads us to think in a positive way undermining negative and automatic thoughts and sociological factors.

On the other hand, we are fertile in what we do: when we feel strong in the process of reaching goals and when we reach the goal, we feel happy. This means that the fertility takes us to the happiness. In this sense, happiness also has to do with the strengthening of self-esteem and personal appreciation.

Read also: I am happy with you, but also without you

Results of scientific studies

Money does not make happiness, says the popular proverb, but also this issue has been scientifically proven. The specialists assure that there is a threshold of money, for example the monthly salary, which if exceeded, can lead to depression. How do you explain?

For more than 10 years now, happiness has been studied on a scientific level, in fact there are postgraduate courses in neurofelicity and there are world rankings about countries, about a series of standards that evaluate which society is happiest.

Of course the state of happiness involves the coupling of certain neurotransmitters and neurohormones benefactors such as serotonin – the substance of calm, tranquility and feelings of well-being (let's think that its deficit is found in depressive patients), endorphins, our internal morphines (segregated in sport, sexual intercourse, laughter), the dopamine that among so many goodnesses has that of motivation and reward, and finally, oxytocin – the molecule of love – which is segregated in situations of paternal or maternal filial love, in the embrace, in childbirth.

In the scales of happiness consisting of protocols with different variables the following has been detected:

  • In countries with serious and medium economic problems, and with significant levels of poverty, the value of money is relevant to happiness.
  • While in countries where per capita earnings are insured, the economic level is not relevant; that is, it is not one of the variables that ensures happiness.

A living wage from first world countries allows for a good roof, food, education, fun and vacations and an organization that supports that plan. Exceeding that income seems to be that it is directly proportional to the obligations involved in earning it (more time devoted to work, more taxes, change of real estate, acquisition of unnecessary material goods, etc.) and with that, less time to enjoy. Not only depression can be one of the results, but stress, substance addiction, the use of psychotropic drugs, etc.

Earning more money also creates more complication. Not only the time that is spent, but the taxes that are paid, the purchases that increase, the fees that accumulate, the amounts of credit cards that are doubled, the expenses that increase and make control difficult. Win and complicate It is a complementary pair difficult to break.

Material assets or ostentatious assets

In capitalist countries, material goods are transformed into ostentatious goods. For example, a shocking house, a luxury car, brand clothing that can be seen (the brand) because it is synonymous with expensive clothing. Goods that are acquired to show status. You may wonder: Who do we need to show that we are better and that we have more money than the average?

The said "The money does not make happiness » It is a phrase used to counter the force that has the myth of the importance of money (money as a passport to the acquisition of material goods that report alleged happiness).

We live (or have built) a society absolutely exitista, whose success variables are, among others, fame, social recognition, profession or work, material goods, travel, clothing, eternal youth, etc.

We are biologically relational beings that we establish links and that we seek to be accepted and included in groups. The question is Under what parameters do we build inclusion and acceptance? If a strong pillar is placed in the material with the aspirations to be happy, we are making a big mistake and moving away from the right address.

Success refers more to matter to seem to be. Therefore, any material good can be a determining element of recognition.

In this attitude, one thinks more about what the other thinks about oneself, than in one's own well-being. Already the famous psychologist Erich Fromm developed a whole work on Have and be. Therefore, the exitista mistake lies in believing that «through what I have, I am ».

What is not put in evaluation in that crazy race to generate money to have material goods and be recognized is that what you can't buy is time, that which is intended to produce money to sustain an idealized pleasure. A pleasure that is not achieved because time is lacking and because of the sick rhythm to which the human being is subjected to produce. A beautiful and sadistic paradox.

In this sense, we can think that a middle and lower class family that has projects can be much happier than a wealthy couple. Socially, one of the great aspirational engines is the wish and it is the lack of something that causes it to be established the desire. The desiring attitude becomes a great motivator to carry out projects or planning that moves growth. And I speak of desire and not of need.

Although other authors speak of necessity in a biological sense (I need to drink water because I am thirsty or hungry), it is still true that the poorest classes are most in need of basic functions – they need more than they want (but it does not imply that they do not want) – how to work, feed, health, education.

The middle classes (mainly the middle middle and lower middle), such as the upper middle classes, are usually short-term desiring classes. They worry, for example, about changing the car for another one in better condition, a couple of years newer or better mileage; paint the house or buy a loan to buy your own and stop renting. They are not seemingly ostentatious aspirations, but they are great aspirations for these social classes that, comparatively for higher social classes, are goals that are not valued.

Fame, beauty and money: bad destiny

As we see, happiness is an absolutely subjective concept: each socioculture, each context of each socioculture, each family of a context of a socioculture and each individual of each family will elaborate their own concept of happiness.

The higher the social class, the higher the level of exitism and with it the banality. When you have economic power, desire is suppressed, aspiration is naturally lost because there is no fight to get. In addition, the focus is on the recognition that the environment makes, annulling personal values. Thus, it is observed in the neighborhoods «posh » of the cities that people establish a tacit competition for the best mansion (mansion yes, no house) or the car that shows greater purchasing power.

A good example is the Hollywood stars who achieved fame, beauty and fortune and end up in treatments for their addictions or serious depressions, pathologies that emerged when they became famous and millionaires. Precisely because they became millionaires, but not rich, that is, they were able to make a lot of money, but they postponed the affective world.

This was already demonstrated in the world's longest longitudinal research on happiness at Harvard University (it takes 80 years), in which a sample of 3,000 people was used and investigated and followed during his life. The conclusion they reached was that Affective bonds such as fatherhood, partners, children and friends are what provide true happiness. Not the money.

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If there is a lot of focus on fame and money, the affective world inevitably breaks down, since this loses the relevance value that it should have. Also, if the peak of fortune, fame and beauty is reached, where is the desire?

If the engine of aspiration and the project is the motivation that produces desire and this is created by lack, if I do not have that lack, I lose desire and Someone who loses desire loses the axis of its existence and with it the catastrophe.

The catastrophe is a world of addictions, such as alcohol and drugs, depression and suicide, which are inserted in the place of failure. And I say well, in the absence, because these people are not desiring: they believe that they lack nothing. However, they lack the true affections, not the sumptuary of success, but the true love of sincere friendship, of the couple or of the family.

They are alone in the negative sense of the term, as a synonym for abandonment and marginalization of true affections. They worried so much about being recognized, that they have obtained banal and interested affection and not the deep and selfless.

Books like Rich father poor father or The secret, which propose as a main goal in life to become a millionaire, are texts that have become best-seller because they point their theories to epicenter of exitism.

These types of books direct their missiles to the popular ideology of money as happiness, recognition and social status. They seek to delimit guided actions to produce and realize the imaginary of most people. It should not be denied that their authors are congruent with their actions. They are still consistent with what they advocate: these books have achieved wealth for their authors surely because of the royalties of the millions of copies sold and have changed their lives, they have become famous.

At this stage of my development, I must clarify that I am not against fame. I am against the misuse of fame: We all like to be recognized and valued, but another thing is to depend on it and that this is an aspiration in life. It is a very poor goal.

Being happy goes further, it is a philosophy of life, is to know that there is a good side of life despite the catastrophe and that there are always emotionally close people with whom we can say i love you, understanding that love is also a deep component of happiness.