The science of happiness

Antonio Sanchez Gonzalez.

The end of the holidays is approaching, and for many of us it will be a time when we seek out the moments of joy with family that we didn't always have a way to allow ourselves during the year. But can we talk about “happiness”? After the already long list of pseudosciences – history, political science, education, etc. – some psychologists claim that there is a “science of happiness” that would allow us to speculate on this matter.

It seems to me that a little common sense should be enough to understand that this is a mirage, that happiness is something so subjective and its existence so fragile that it cannot be scientifically defined, although I have my doubts, because the merchants of happiness are increasingly numerous. Happiness claims to possess “true facts,” documented in such formulas as: “Research teaches us that…”, “Research teaches us that…” Researchers have proven that…”, “Studies show that…”, repeated phrases Endlessly in Messages of Happiness in Fifteen Lessons, as if it was enough to mention “research” without citing the slightest source to dazzle the reader or listener.

In this spirit, one of the most prominent contemporary psychiatrists, Christophe André, said in a recent article entitled “The Science of Happiness? (in Cervo et al psychoMay 2013), confirms that “ Contemporary science has made happiness a fruitful topic of study. In fact, happiness has never been so well known in every element, nor has the path to it been so well defined. Unfortunately, the rest of the article is confusing – to me at least – to say the least, as his definition of happiness quickly seems as vague as it is far-fetched.

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Let us judge for ourselves: “Most scholars Our doctor continues, without giving a name or specifying what science it might be. By studying what constitutes the perception of having a happy life, they showed that this feeling corresponds to the repetition of small pleasant moods; We feel happiest when we regularly experience those “small” joys that poets desire, rather than the large but rare moments of intense joy: a moment spent with a loved one, a walk somewhere beautiful, a stimulating reading, a piece of poetry. Music that moves stops your activity for a moment, enjoys it and feels happy…”

As the truism goes, that's at least one definition of blissful happiness! Basically, we are happy when we are happy, when life is fun, when it offers us good times, but be careful, when it becomes too intense or too much work or too difficult, well, inevitably, things don't go well. Yes!

The problem is that in order for any branch of science to obtain the title of “science,” it must at least be able to precisely define its subject of study. Happiness, contrary to what our new spiritual guides suggest, should not be confused with pleasure, which is always fleeting, nor even with a series of small moments of joy that are essentially perishable and fragile. Since ancient times, its definition has included the idea of ​​a satisfaction that is both comprehensive and permanent, even as Spinoza said: “eternal joy, So the promise of true happiness only makes sense from a religious perspective.

As Rousseau clearly stated, it is unattainable to modern shamans: “Happiness is a permanent state that does not seem to have been created for man here. Everything on Earth is in a state of constant flux that does not allow anything to take a fixed form. It cannot be said better and any individual who thinks a little will understand that if we can experience pleasures and moments of joy in our lives, even periods of serenity, then happiness is, as Kant said, merely “an idea“, a “Ideal for imagination” It is not a truth accessible here, and even less a subject of science.

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Although unhappiness is easy to define, it is also clear that for us humans, nothing can be stable or permanent here on Earth, so our joys are necessarily ephemeral and fragile. Therefore, let us remain vigilant in the face of miraculous promises, and remember that illusions make us miserable and that clarity alone is the condition for joy.

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