Satisfaction, Happiness, and Meaning

November 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

What is the difference between these terms? How are they linked? Within which can you have a longer lasting positive impact? Is there an umbrella term for all three – or is one the umbrella for the the other two? What are three examples of each? Where are the overlaps? Is the difference in the definition purely or are they results of different actions – is it about perspective?

Is it satisfaction I want to do my project about, or dissatisfaction?

Does any of this link to my anger at our disposable culture? Does mining landfill sites for precious metals have any bearing on satisfaction – is it just to do with my personal satisfaction?

I think I will feel very satisfied when I hear that our government is reusing stuff in landfill. (e.g. precious metals).

I will also feel very happy when I hear that it is compulsory for cafes to recycle their packaging. Why is it just homes that have been targeted to recycle so far when Costa churns out unrecycled recyclable cups almost as fast as coffee – all they need is the rule to have recycling bins and use them.
I feel so strongly about this issue. How does it relate to satisfaction? Is it just my own satisfaction?

Unfortunately there is not much creative scope in the cafe recycling issue that I can see. I won’t do this project about it. There’s not much to say, we just need to implement it, and it’s not interesting to do a conceptual project about it. This is an activist project for after uni, or else if I ever get a chance to be heard by politicians, that will be the time to raise the issue. It’s so so obvious, why isn’t it being done?

But I have to leave this alone until later. The recycling issue I suppose affects the satisfaction of people in the future. A lack of raw materials may create mass dissatisfaction in the future as people adjust to a change in what is available to them. However, maybe the change will come slowly and soon enough to be smoothed over. As long as it is cleverly done, perhaps there will not be much dissatisfaction at all.

‘You could get paper cups to go in the old days,’ we might say to our grandchildren in 2080.
‘People bought new clothes every week from Primark and nobody thought of the child half a world away who made the clothes.’
‘We were happy with our heavy laptops that we typed on that broke within five years. Sometimes we had to wait for films we watched online to load up – they would stop and start and you had to know the tricks to get them to work. Internet connections would break. I had the first computer in my house when I was seven, and we only got internet access when I was nine – we were allowed 15 minutes a week to play on an online game, in which time maybe 10 pages would load. It made us so excited. I was a child when the internet became available to ordinary people, and my parents were alive when the internet was born as an idea.’
How nostalgic will we be of our world right now when we’re old? Will everything seem bright and shiny and new, or will we see new as wasteful? To some extent I see new as wasteful now.

Will we think of ourselves as satisfied in the past? Will we be relatively satisfied with our lives in the future because of the pasts we’ve had?

I am very satisfied with being at Goldsmiths because of my negative experiences at my previous university.

Can I create satisfaction in the now by getting people to remember the dissatisfaction in their past?
‘I was so unhappy then, I’m so glad my life is the way it is now.’
Or would it be better to get them to remember their satisfaction?
‘I was so happy then, I’ve had a lovely life.’
What would make them feel more satisfied in the present?
‘I was so unhappy then, oh my life is terrible.’
‘I was so happy then, my life is terrible now.’

Does it make a difference? Is the real difference whether you are an optimist or a pessimist? Or is it whether or not your life is terrible now regardless of what it was like in the past – does it matter HOW terrible it is?

Lots of questions, I might need to do some studies to find some answers, or maybe there are existing psychological studies. Perhaps I could ask a psychology student/lecturer/graduate friend?


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