Monday, August 11, 2008

The Value of Dissatisfaction

The Financial Times ran an article yesterday on happiness, arguing that if we all found it tomorrow, our economy would soon be in big trouble:

"Within weeks, the high-tech industry, which feeds on the creation of new and unfulfilled desires, would be in difficulties; the fashion world, which survives by persuading us that our perfectly good jeans are either too baggy or too tight, would start to flounder. The luxury goods industry would surely follow; new cars would be next. Before long, we'd be in a full-blown recession. Give it a decade and we'd be back in the Dark Ages."

"So we should be careful what we wish for," says the article's author Stehen Cave. "Perhaps there's something to say for dissatisfaction."

In Enough: Breaking Free From the World of More (Amazon), journalist John Naish concludes "that we are not designed to have happiness as our natural default state."

Or as Antonio Dini wrote in this review (in Italian): "Happiness, the nirvana of senses and aspirations, kills creativity and innovation that are born from needs and wants." In Naish's words: "Dissatisfaction is the driver of human endeavour".


Joe said...

Good find, I'm going to read the whole article now... Thanks

mr. good said...

that's unfortunate for most.

Schoolin4TheGoodLife said...

aww fuck

Audacious said...

Heavy said...

I'm totaly on that shit. I know too many people that are "satisfied" with themselves and have no ambition. That shit is wack, and boring. That can also be a good thing. The more people that are "happy", the less I have to compete with.

Auston Bunsen said...

Although we are are not "designed" to have happiness as our default state. I feel that for middle class America, contentment is very easily attainable.

Leisure activities have turned into hundred million dollar industries (skateboarding, bmx, blogging, etc).

These things were started people just doing what they love. Just wanting to be content.

I do believe happiness is attainable because I feel happy most of the time. I feel blessed by my family, health and abilities.

This doesn't hinder my motivation (which is purely financial). I'm simply reaching for a higher level of comfort, while millions are simply reaching for my level of comfort.

For hundreds of millions, multiple facets of their lives are poor (emotional state, relationships, financial situation, health) and I believe they are just as creative as myself.

Additionally, the hypothetical situation outlined by the Financial Times is subjective because happiness is subjective.

My definition of happiness is most definitely different from yours and yours is certainly different than Barack Obama's.

In the case of the article, they seem to be treating happiness as "completeness".

Surely, even if everyone were "complete", cars wear out, clothes wear out and every single person on earth has different preferences, so clothing companies would not go under. Technology is CENTRAL to communication in this day and age and innovating communication will not stop for a long time. Luxury goods may suffer, but once again this is a personal preference.

Anyhow, that's just my two cents.

Chicago Marc said...

I'm happy working to achieve more from life! If you have a Benz you have accomplished one goal, only to set another of maybe a Maserati. I believe it is healthy to want more, it only means you have new goals and aspirations to achieve. Without something to achieve and strive for what are we living for?