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Philosophy of Happiness, hedonic treadmill aside

January 20, 2016

Philosophy of Happiness, hedonic treadmill aside

by Lushfun

Does it seem a bit odd that when we talk about happiness we tend to look for external anchoring and are readily given rationalizations to provide for them. Hedonic treadmill essentially boils down to something akin of a steady state of happiness for our internal being that more or less fluctuates but keeps at a steady state. Below is perhaps a better perspective.

According to:

“The term hedonic treadmill was first coined in 1971 by Brickman and Campbell in the article “Hedonic Relativism and Planning the Good Society.” It refers to the fact that even though external forces are constantly changing our lives and our life goals, happiness is a relatively constant state. The idea of relative levels of happiness dates back to the time of Stoic and Epicurean philosophers in ancient Greece. Situations may get better or worse, but we will usually report about the same levels of happiness or sadness”

(bold underline is mine to make a point)

Not only does this seem so static in a sense that your place in life is what it is and changing it won’t change your outlook, inside or out is contrary to the human experience to a quiet large degree. I am not even going to go into historical context here too much. Just all those revolutions of the proletariat in Russia, revolutions of the masses in France, revolution of the parliamentarians in Britain, revolution in China, and others. Why do I mention them? well if those people would have quickly adjusted to a median constant state then why the upheaval and the strive for change at the cost of so much blood and treasure? Granted there are other outlooks on life.

What is especially fascinating is external anchoring. If your internally always in strive for a median state of being why do people so easily attach their hopes and aspirations to things around them and carry those to euphoria or desperation via various events. Strange to seek external affirmation or improvement of your outlook on life if you’re having no impact on internal conditioning. This flies into complete bullshit mode when one looks at advertisements and the amount of money spent to keep people in fervor of this product or that, this service or that, or just the general trend and aspiration conditioning.

I actually think Stoics and Epicureans were the opposite of what is mentioned up top. They sought to bring forth internal motivation of the inner mind to what would give one drive in life that is not externally placed upon oneself. Then again perhaps I am wrong and all these historical warps are congruent (sarcasm).

Here we begin to have a clash of certain ideas. If one believes that being comes from thought then changes in thought would bring change in our state. Ergo constancy of internal compass and various emotions attached to it, has to change with thought dynamics. Anchoring to relative experiences with the outside world shifts our worldview. The problem with finding out what you want is that you have already changed what you want on outside stimuli and embraced it as what you want. The more moderate your views the more unbeknown to you these changes are updated in your internal compass and the more your outlook shifts to the enticed ideal your running after. So being more extreme in views actually seems like a more stable internal driver than not, which is curious.


Anchoring and the ability to change ones mind (adjustment) with satisfaction for a specific result rests essentially on comfort with the result. So theoretically the gauge for having something be a certain way can be put forth into a belief system, realistically one has to understand that comfort can always be pushed up or down depending on the outside world, since we are seeking congruence between it and our views. Comfort can be manufactured and is, constantly by society at large and your beliefs of what should or could be. Strange how we are getting closer and closer to Pavlov’s dogs where bells and whistles make us dance and go in a specific hedonistic search as our adjustment is constantly worked upon by stimuli around us. What is also curious is that the more internally oriented you are and extreme in outlooks the less this works. But extreme in outlook is simply a way of saying, unconventional.

To conclude this I am going to simply say that being ‘original’ is the way to go. Since extremeness and unconventionality are simply originality in being unfit into the general mass of behaviors and desires expected. So dear human be more original and hold on to your beliefs whatever they may be, they make one whom one is. Being human is seeking what makes one tick and trying to ignore most of the charade society dances around one’s mind to bend one into a willful follower.

Be happy with yourself dear reader and remember nature is always there to keep the world honest, if not today then tomorrow.

Good song “Desperado” Johnny Cash

Be well.










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