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    Default What proportion of people are happy?

    I have a friend and one day our conversation turned to the prospect of happiness in this life. He said that he didn't think anyone was truly happy, and he cited Hollywood celebrities as people exemplifying fake happiness. I think this might be a bit misleading, for movie stars are artificially selected to be good liars and thus it should be no surprise if their poses of opulent bliss are extremely inflated.

    I think otherwise to my friend. I think happiness is possible in life, and by happiness I don't mean grim duty or the mere absence of pain and anguish. I mean something like:

    Birth of your child
    Tender moments with your child
    Tender moments with your spouse
    Tender moments with your friend
    Joy in accomplishment
    Infatuation
    Wedding day
    Marital warmth
    Joy of discovery
    Joy of helping a stranger
    Joy of apprehending beauty
    Losing oneself in a good book
    Losing oneself in a musical performance

    How many of these experiences does one need to have, or need to have within a given interval, to be said to be happy? There's no standard, because everyone “tunes in” to these experiences differently. Someone might win a war and feel nothing. Another might learn a ditty on the piano and be thrilled. So, part of happiness is being tuned into the happy things one meets in life. If a person tunes in sufficiently to these things, so that they never experience moments of despair, because their happiness is riding roughshod over the unhappy things in their life, then that person must be happy, if anyone is.

    Given that standard: one's joys riding roughshod over one's pains and sadnesses, no matter one's fortune, over an indefinitely long period of time, such that the person can maintain this joy indefinitely and will never succumb to any defining unhappiness, and never despairs, even of they aren't always as happy as humanly possible—what proportion of the population is happy like this?

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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?

    Happiness is a way of travel, not a destination, we are never truly happy we just have happy moments in our life.
    I'm not a native english speaker and I'm dyslexic(that doesn't mean I have low IQ quite the opposite actually it means I make a lot of typos).

    So I beg for forgiveness, patience and comprehension.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    It's like somewhere along the way, "freedom of speech" became "all negative response is censorship".
    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    ."Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking), and your humility is stunning"

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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    I have a friend
    Well brag why don't you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    and one day our conversation turned to the prospect of happiness in this life.
    Ah yes. As humans do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    He said that he didn't think anyone was truly happy, and he cited Hollywood celebrities as people exemplifying fake happiness. I think this might be a bit misleading, for movie stars are artificially selected to be good liars and thus it should be no surprise if their poses of opulent bliss are extremely inflated.
    Certainly misleading but not for your conspiracy theory grade idea. It's misleading because "happiness" isn't a thing that happens all the time and saying someone is being "fake happy" to cover up never being happy is...absurd.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    I think otherwise to my friend. I think happiness is possible in life, and by happiness I don't mean grim duty or the mere absence of pain and anguish. I mean something like:
    I certainly think it's possible but again, Happiness isn't something you have and never get rid of. It's fleeting by the nature of emotions. I'd certainly think that the absence of pain and anguish would make me a happier person though.

    But this is, startlingly, a time you give examples so let's look at them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    Birth of your child
    Would certainly make someone happy if they wanted said kid but I doubt this is a universal thing that would make people happy. I wouldn't be happy if I was having a kid as I don't want children.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    Tender moments with your child
    See above.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    Tender moments with your spouse
    Tender moments with your friend
    Tender moments with yourself?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    Joy in accomplishment
    Getting close to that Grim Duty thing above. But people generally feel better when they've achieved something sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    Infatuation
    I suppose if it's reciprocated. If it's not, I doubt it would make you very happy. I'd think the very opposite. Unrequited love is...brutal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    Wedding day
    Marital warmth
    Are you getting married soon? Because a lot of your examples center around it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    Joy of discovery
    Joy of helping a stranger
    Joy of apprehending beauty
    Losing oneself in a good book
    Losing oneself in a musical performance
    If people enjoy these sorts of things sure.


    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    How many of these experiences does one need to have, or need to have within a given interval, to be said to be happy?
    Happiness isn't like gaining a level in a video game. It's weird because you literally answer yourself.


    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    There's no standard, because everyone “tunes in” to these experiences differently. Someone might win a war and feel nothing. Another might learn a ditty on the piano and be thrilled. So, part of happiness is being tuned into the happy things one meets in life. If a person tunes in sufficiently to these things, so that they never experience moments of despair, because their happiness is riding roughshod over the unhappy things in their life, then that person must be happy, if anyone is.
    MUST they? Despair isn't the opposite of happiness. Indifference is. You can do all of these things and not be happy. Boredom is a thing. Depression is a thing. Diminishing returns is a thing.


    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    Given that standard: one's joys riding roughshod over one's pains and sadnesses, no matter one's fortune, over an indefinitely long period of time, such that the person can maintain this joy indefinitely and will never succumb to any defining unhappiness, and never despairs, even of they aren't always as happy as humanly possible—what proportion of the population is happy like this?
    Unquantifiable because your measurement of happiness isn't the same as everyone else's. Not to mention you'd have to poll a significant amount of people, assume they're not lying or overselling themselves and their experiences and...yeah.

    The answer to your question is that your metric is shoddy and biased.

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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?

    Can I just say that from what I observe after they are past the little cute phase kids are more a source of annoyance and unhappiness then joy. :/

    We sure can minimize suffering by getting detached with material things or strong emotions. That's what the stoics used to say or something.
    I'm not a native english speaker and I'm dyslexic(that doesn't mean I have low IQ quite the opposite actually it means I make a lot of typos).

    So I beg for forgiveness, patience and comprehension.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    It's like somewhere along the way, "freedom of speech" became "all negative response is censorship".
    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    ."Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking), and your humility is stunning"

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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Razade View Post
    Well brag why don't you.....

    Reading that made me happy (momentarily).



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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    Reading that made me happy (momentarily).



    Thanks Razade!
    Sarcasm and depricating humor is as valid a form of happiness as any other. And it makes other people unhappy. Wonder how that would sync up with Donna's typical philosophy?

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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?

    The World Happiness Report assigns each country a happiness score from 1 to 10. We can assume that citizens in each country are thus, on average, that happy. We can place those numbers against the population of each country to get the amount of happy people in each country. The happiness report people didn't go to every country, but they went to most (about 500 million people are unaccounted for).

    Of the countries they did visit, the total population is 7.375 billion of which 3.864 billion are happy, about 52.4%. That number is probably lower if you account for the missing half-billion, since they are largely from poor, dangerous nations.

    So let's call it even and say roughly half of the people in the world are happy. Math!
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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?

    Nobody is always happy... So, what would qualify for someone to be "truly happy".

    Is your friend suggesting that people aren't even momentarily happy... at any point in their life? That's a depressing world view.

    To be honest, being "happy" isn't something I really strive for in life. My goal is to be "content"

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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid View Post
    Nobody is always happy... So, what would qualify for someone to be "truly happy".

    Is your friend suggesting that people aren't even momentarily happy... at any point in their life? That's a depressing world view.

    To be honest, being "happy" isn't something I really strive for in life. My goal is to be "content"
    He would say that no one is happy enough to warrant the term; in this life there are just momentary thrills, but everything ultimately is a cheat.

    You don't find aiming for mediocre brain states to be depressing in its own way?

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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    He would say that no one is happy enough to warrant the term; in this life there are just momentary thrills, but everything ultimately is a cheat.

    You don't find aiming for mediocre brain states to be depressing in its own way?
    "Content" isn't mediocre. In my opinion it is better than happy. Happy is fleeting and too energetic for my liking (at least if it is sustained, brief events are good)... Content on the other hand is calm peaceful and longer lasting.

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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid View Post
    "Content" isn't mediocre. In my opinion it is better than happy. Happy is fleeting and too energetic for my liking (at least if it is sustained, brief events are good)... Content on the other hand is calm peaceful and longer lasting.
    What proportion of people do you think are content?

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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    What proportion of people do you think are content?
    Depends entirely where you are. If you live somewhere with warfare or violence as a constant backdrop... it is hard to be content when you are afraid for you life (or the lives of your loved ones). If you live surrounded by poverty and/or unemployment, it can be hard to be content when you are busy worrying about food and shelter.

    I think Flickerdart's link is a pretty good representation of that.

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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    He would say that no one is happy enough to warrant the term; in this life there are just momentary thrills, but everything ultimately is a cheat.
    That's as dumb a point as I've ever seen, if you're representing it at all fairly. If we're going to talk about "ultimately", then "ultimately" we're all dead, and anything we felt in life is irrelevant anyway. As Pratchett points out once or twice, the whole of life is basically just postponing the inevitable.

    At any given time, probability says, a significant proportion of everyone is happy, even if "only" transiently.

    I've been pretty happy since I got married, and more so since we had kids. Sure, in that time I've also been unhappy. Frustrated, angry, bored, terrified, disgusted, sad, you name it. All emotions are fleeting, like life itself. But - just by comparing the last ten years of my life to the previous 20, I would say I've been, on balance, happy for that time.
    "None of us likes to be hated, none of us likes to be shunned. A natural result of these conditions is, that we consciously or unconsciously pay more attention to tuning our opinions to our neighbor’s pitch and preserving his approval than we do to examining the opinions searchingly and seeing to it that they are right and sound." - Mark Twain

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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?

    Being "happy" or feeling "joy" are always just fleeting feelings of the moment. It´s more important to be content with life or even lead something that could be counted as a fulfilling life. This in turn makes it easier the feel happiness or joyfulness when it comes up, because frankly, stressed-out or depressed people tend to not find those things in the "small things" when they happen.

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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?

    I would call myself overall happy, but I certainly have my unhappy moments.
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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?



    1-Pick one
    2-Follow it.
    3- ???
    4- Be happy.

    I belive you would be fine in a mix of Platonism, stoicism, theism and confucianism, but only you can find your own philosophy.
    Last edited by Suttle; 2018-02-14 at 07:40 AM.

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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid View Post
    "Content" isn't mediocre. In my opinion it is better than happy. Happy is fleeting and too energetic for my liking (at least if it is sustained, brief events are good)... Content on the other hand is calm peaceful and longer lasting.
    I was going to write a long spiel about the difference between happiness and being content, but this hits it much more succintly than I can.

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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post

    1) Norway
    2) Denmark
    3) Iceland
    4) Switzerland
    5) Finland
    6) Thr Netherlands
    7) Canada
    8) New Zealand
    9) Australia
    10) Sweden

    Aha!

    I know of exactly one Dane on this Forum (Denmark is #2 on the list), and he's always putting "smilies" in his posts!

    Any Norwegians (Norway is #1) at the Playground?

    The only non-cold nations in the top ten are

    The Netherlands (#6),

    New Zealand (#8),

    and

    Australia (#9),

    but mostly it's small nations that are closer to the North Pole, so obviously those are where Santa Claus is going first!

    Conclusion: Christmas presents are the major source of happiness.

    Also yodelling (Switzerland is #4).

    Bicycling? (Copenhagen in Denmark, and Amsterdam in the Netherlands are famous for lots of bikes).

    Sheep (New Zealand).

    And Mad Max movies (Australia).

    So to be truly happy, have a ticket to see "Fury Road", bicycle to the theatre, sit with a lamb, and yodel during the screening on Christmas day.

    -Your welcome.

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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?

    Maybe coldness is also a factor?

    Or lack of religion?
    I'm not a native english speaker and I'm dyslexic(that doesn't mean I have low IQ quite the opposite actually it means I make a lot of typos).

    So I beg for forgiveness, patience and comprehension.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    It's like somewhere along the way, "freedom of speech" became "all negative response is censorship".
    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    ."Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking), and your humility is stunning"

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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?



    Norway!



    Being all happy, just grinds my gears it does!

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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?

    Isn't Bhutan the happiest place on earth?

    I'm sure I heard this time after time.
    I'm not a native english speaker and I'm dyslexic(that doesn't mean I have low IQ quite the opposite actually it means I make a lot of typos).

    So I beg for forgiveness, patience and comprehension.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    It's like somewhere along the way, "freedom of speech" became "all negative response is censorship".
    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    ."Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking), and your humility is stunning"

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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?

    Quote Originally Posted by S@tanicoaldo View Post
    Isn't Bhutan the happiest place on earth?

    I'm sure I heard this time after time.

    Bhutan invented the Gross National Happiness concept as a goal, but they don't rate the happiest, that would be the most contented kingdom the world has ever known, called 'Happy Valley' ruled over by a wise old king called Otto. And all his subjects flourished and are happy, and there are no discontents or grumblers, because wise King Otto had had them all put to death along with the trade union leaders many years before. And all the good happy folk of Happy Valley sing and dance all day long. And anyone who is for any reason miserable or unhappy or who has any difficult personal problems is prosecuted under the 'Happiness Act'.

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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    That's as dumb a point as I've ever seen, if you're representing it at all fairly. If we're going to talk about "ultimately", then "ultimately" we're all dead, and anything we felt in life is irrelevant anyway. As Pratchett points out once or twice, the whole of life is basically just postponing the inevitable.

    At any given time, probability says, a significant proportion of everyone is happy, even if "only" transiently.

    I've been pretty happy since I got married, and more so since we had kids. Sure, in that time I've also been unhappy. Frustrated, angry, bored, terrified, disgusted, sad, you name it. All emotions are fleeting, like life itself. But - just by comparing the last ten years of my life to the previous 20, I would say I've been, on balance, happy for that time.
    It might make it clearer to consider whether a given life is worth doing over again, not to correct or improve it, nor to simply live the exact life over again (which would be logically impossible--how do I know I'm not reliving it right now?), but rather to live a life of equal happiness over again. Would it be worth doing so? Or would it be better to pass on to whatever one thinks one will pass on to?

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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    It might make it clearer to consider whether a given life is worth doing over again, not to correct or improve it, nor to simply live the exact life over again (which would be logically impossible--how do I know I'm not reliving it right now?), but rather to live a life of equal happiness over again. Would it be worth doing so? Or would it be better to pass on to whatever one thinks one will pass on to?
    Since existence is the only way we know to exist I'm sure it's impossible to compare since we have no other reference on how to live and exist.
    I'm not a native english speaker and I'm dyslexic(that doesn't mean I have low IQ quite the opposite actually it means I make a lot of typos).

    So I beg for forgiveness, patience and comprehension.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    It's like somewhere along the way, "freedom of speech" became "all negative response is censorship".
    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    ."Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking), and your humility is stunning"

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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    It might make it clearer to consider whether a given life is worth...

    Your trying to figure out if a life is "worth" living?

    Get a motorcycle.

    Ride to where others riders congregate, such as "Alice's Restaurant" in San Mateo county, and "The Wall" in the hills above Berkeley.

    Learn the other riders names.

    When you don't see them anymore ask what happened to them.

    You could also try:

    Hearing gunfire and seeing the muzzle flash on city streets.

    Have loaded firearms pointed at you.

    I think those will give you some idea of how much you value a life.

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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    Your trying to figure out if a life is "worth" living?

    Get a motorcycle.

    Ride to where others riders congregate, such as "Alice's Restaurant" in San Mateo county, and "The Wall" in the hills above Berkeley.

    Learn the other riders names.

    When you don't see them anymore ask what happened to them.

    You could also try:

    Hearing gunfire and seeing the muzzle flash on city streets.

    Have loaded firearms pointed at you.

    I think those will give you some idea of how much you value a life.
    I'm presuming you speak from experience. If so, what are your conclusions?

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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?

    Quote Originally Posted by S@tanicoaldo View Post
    Since existence is the only way we know to exist I'm sure it's impossible to compare since we have no other reference on how to live and exist.
    You have an imagination don't you? Your life isn't a single undifferentiated line of sameness, is it? So, it should be possible to consider a bad period of one's life and expand it to fill one's entire life, and then ask whether that would make life not worth living or not.

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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    You have an imagination don't you? Your life isn't a single undifferentiated line of sameness, is it? So, it should be possible to consider a bad period of one's life and expand it to fill one's entire life, and then ask whether that would make life not worth living or not.
    Sometimes it sure feels like :/

    Anyway, I was referring to afterlife stuff.

    But what makes a life worth or not worth living is hardly the events but the internal structures, that's why we have people with terrible existences, with drugs, sadness, war and hunger that are positive and looking forward to a better life and people who are rich and have everything and are suicidal.

    That's why I have great problems with the idea of heaven, a perfect existence sounds so dull and boring, we need to conflict to feel alive.
    I'm not a native english speaker and I'm dyslexic(that doesn't mean I have low IQ quite the opposite actually it means I make a lot of typos).

    So I beg for forgiveness, patience and comprehension.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    It's like somewhere along the way, "freedom of speech" became "all negative response is censorship".
    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    ."Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking), and your humility is stunning"

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    Default Re: What proportion of people are happy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    I'm presuming you speak from experience. If so, what are your conclusions?

    That deaths are to be feared and mourned not welcomed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnadogsoth View Post
    ....it should be possible to consider a bad period of one's life and expand it to fill one's entire life, and then ask whether that would make life not worth living or not.

    I encourage you to share your feelings at the

    Personal Woes and Advice
    thread,

    and to read the

    What Do You Do For Fun?

    and the

    What do you enjoy?
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