“What Happiness Is” by Eduardo Porter Short Summary

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Eduardo Porter in the essay What Happiness Is argues several point of views on the true significance of felicity and how people strive to obtain it. After several descriptions of happening felicity. Porter claims “we prosecute what we think makes us happy” ( Porter1 ) and that most people “expend tremendous sums of clip and energy prosecuting more money” ( Porter3 ) . claiming people get happiness out of stuff ownerships. Cynical as Porter may look by this statement he wrote earlier in his essay. “it remains by and large true that we pursue what we think makes us happy” ( Porter2 ) . so stating money and ownerships while non the lone route for felicity. is the most common. Porter’s thesis that “Happiness is a slippery construct. a package of significances with no precise. stable definition” makes us see that because so many people see happiness otherwise in what makes us happy. how we find happiness. and what each single perceives as proper felicity that there genuinely is no 1 true manner to happen felicity and everyone must find for themselves what felicity is.

As Porter claims a common construct of felicity is make fulling your life with material ownerships and money. for some this is a valid beginning of felicity. Randy Frost of Smith College supports the claim that ownerships make us happy by reasoning “Our ownerships all have charming qualities. Many. if non most. of the things we keep have an kernel that goes beyond the physical character of the object. ” ( Frost ) Continuing on to state that by roll uping. keeping onto souvenirs. and deriving the satisfaction of having specific objects becomes something that makes people experience safe and unafraid and relives anxiousness. Looking at a souvenir old ages after can remind us of that happy clip in our yesteryear leting us to re-live those minutes. and maintaining some kind of aggregation as a avocation and actively seeking out more objects to turn it give the satisfaction of difficult work.

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An interesting point Frost makes is that half of what makes us happy about our material is “our ability to free ourselves of stuff possessions” . Frost claims as we grow and alteration. we besides change the material we hold on excessively and what we regard as of import. that casting these things of our past we are able feel satisfaction. When person matures and gets older or hold made positive alterations in life they are able to experience felicity by acquiring rid of parts of their yesteryear. Just as some are satisfied by a rhythm of points. others refute the claim that stuff points breed felicity and prefer to populate chaste lives free of ownerships.

Contrastingly an every bit popular manner of thought is that material ownerships make us unhappy and that merely by non trusting on them will we happen true felicity. In fact the thought that material ownerships are damaging to happiness is such an old construct that it presents itself even in world-wide faiths. Those that follow this political orientation believe that felicity is found through experiences that last with you. instead than the felicity found in ownerships which fade over clip. Ryan Howell of San Francisco State University conducted a survey in which out of 154 people stated that exhausted money on experiences such as a concert. seminar. or category where still acquiring happiness out of that experience than people who bought “things” ( Howell ) .

Psychological criterions province people lose involvement in an object in “four to six weeks” while people that can take a lesson from something take more from the experience in the long tally. These two different chases of happiness contradict each other wholly in footings of stuff and religious felicity. nevertheless people that purely follow them all experience different signifiers of felicity. Simply picking one way of felicity might work for one but could go forth another wholly suffering. There is no 1 manner to happen felicity ; it’s an infinite construct for which there will ne’er be a concluding reply.

James 3

Landau. Elizabeth. “Study: Experiences Make Us Happier than Possessions. ” CNN. Cable News Network. 10 Feb. 2009. Web. 24 Dec. 2014.

MacVean. Mary. “For Many Peoples. Gathering Possessions Is Just the Stuff of Life. ” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times. 21 Mar. 2014. Web. 24 Dec. 2014.

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