Sharon Begley in “Happiness: Enough Already” argues that being extremely happy may be a goal of anybody but it also can be “the end of the drive for ever-greater heights of happiness” (455). Begley claims that “being happier is not always better” (455) and an excessive happiness may affect badly to people’s life. She points out that people who reach the highest level of happiness don’t feel motivated to move forward since they are already satisfied. The author goes on insists that happiness does not last long because “negative emotion evolved for a reason” (456).
She presents many cases of famous people who experienced negative emotions to create their well-known works showing the need of sadness in every lifetime. Furthermore, people desire to gain more and more happiness causing them the fear to experience sadness. Therefore, what they once considered normal sadness is regarded as a psychiatric illness now. The author then concludes that everything would be much better if “the single-minded pursuit of happiness as an end in itself” (458).
In the essay “If Money Doesn’t Make You Happy, Then You Probably Aren’t Spending It Right”, Dunn, Gilbert, and Wilson explain why people often fail to make use of money even though it is a helpful tool to gain happiness and recommend eight useful ways to spend money that make people happy. Firstly, they claim that experiential purchases make people feel happier than material ones.
In addition, experiences are more mentally revisited than things so they bring us happiness either when we use them or think about them. Secondly, people who spend money on others are shown to be happier than those people spending money on themselves. They point out that “the quality of our social relationships is a strong determinant of our happiness” (440) so the increase of connections with others will lead to the increase of happiness. Dunn, Gilbert and Wilson continue to suggest people to “buy many small pleasures instead of few big ones” (441) since adaptation to things is inevitable and people tend to take longer adapting to frequent small pleasures than infrequent large ones.
The article further states not to spend money on many extended warranties or overpriced insurances because they “may be unnecessary for happiness and the return policies may actually undermine it” (443). They go on claim that delay consumption promotes happiness in two ways that produce well-being and create uncertainty. Also, the authors state that “think about what you’re not thinking about” (445), “beware of comparison shopping” (446), and “follow the herd instead of your heart” (447) will make people feel happy as well. They then conclude that if money can’t buy happiness then “the fault is ours” (447). Summary of In Pursuit of Happiness by Mark Kingwell
Mark Kingwell in “In Pursuit of Happiness” illustrates the desire to understand happiness. He insists that it is hard to demonstrate what happiness is and “no single answer is good enough” (413). He also compares the tempting to find out the definition of happiness as a mug’s game in which people is more likely to lose than win. The article further claims that another troubling problem in this case is “ask yourself whether you are happy” (414) since it is considered the source of unhappiness and confusion. These people oppose the pursuit of defining happiness by expressing a scientific authority that “one’s achievable degree of happiness is genetically determined” (414). Therefore, they believe that basic genetic predisposition is the most important role in determining level of happiness. Mark goes on argues that genetic theories not only set the limit on how to answer the happiness question but also “mark the end of rational human life” (415).