Attachment for PSY 220 check point assignment

18 Chapter 2 • The Meaning and Measure of Happinesschief goal of life is the pursuit of happiness andpleasure. Within psychology, this view of well-beingis expressed in the study of SWB (Diener, 1984;Diener et al., 1999). Subjective well-being takes abroad view of happiness, beyond the pursuit ofshort-term or physical pleasures defining a narrowhedonism. Subjective well-being is defined as lifesatisfaction, the presence of positive affect, and a relativeabsence of negative affect. Together, the threecomponents are often referred to as happiness.Research based on the SWB model has burgeoned inthe last 5 years (Ryan & Deci, 2001). Studies havedelineated a variety of personality characteristics andlife experiences that help answer questions aboutwho is happy and what makes people happy. Amajor portion of this book is devoted to reviewingthe research and theory on SWB.Eudaimonic HappinessIs happiness enough for a good life? Would you becontent and satisfied if you were happy and nothingelse? Consider a hypothetical example suggested bySeligman (2002a). What if you could be hooked toan “experience machine” that would keep you in aconstant state of cheerful happiness, or whateverpositive emotion you desired, no matter what happenedin your life. Fitting the hedonic view, youwould experience an abundance of happiness allthe time. Would you choose to be hooked up? Wemight like it for awhile, but to experience only oneof our many emotions, and to have the same cheerfulreaction to the diversity of life events and challengesmight actually impoverish the experience oflife. And some of what we would lose might beextremely valuable. For example, negative emotionslike fear help us make choices that avoid threats toour well-being. Without fear and other negativeemotions we might make very bad choices. We’d behappy, but we might not live very long. Seligman(2002a) argues that we would likely also reject theexperience machine because we want to feel we areentitled to our positive emotions, and to believethey reflect our “real” positive qualities and behaviors.Pleasure, disconnected from reality, does notaffirm or express our identity as individuals.Above all, most of us would probably rejectthe experience machine because we believe thatthere is more to life than happiness and subjectivepleasure. Or as Seligman (2002a) describes it, thereis a deeper and more “authentic happiness.” Muchof classical Greek philosophy was concerned withthese deeper meanings of happiness and the goodlife. Waterman (1990, 1993) describes two psychologicalviews of happiness distilled from classicalphilosophy. Hedonic conceptions of happiness, discussedabove, define happiness as the enjoyment oflife and its pleasures. The hedonic view captures amajor element of what we mean by happiness ineveryday terms: We enjoy life; we are satisfied withhow our lives are going; and good events outnumberbad events.In contrast, eudaimonic conceptions of happiness,given fullest expression in the writings ofAristotle, define happiness as self-realization, meaningthe expression and fulfillment of inner potentials.From this perspective, the good life results from livingin accordance with your daimon (in other words,your true self). That is, happiness results from strivingtoward self-actualization—a process in which our talents,needs, and deeply held values direct the way weconduct our lives. “Eudaimonia” (or happiness) resultsfrom realization of our potentials. We are happiestwhen we follow and achieve our goals and developour unique potentials. Eudaimonic happiness hasmuch in common with humanistic psychology’semphases on the concepts of self-actualization(Maslow, 1968) and the fully functioning person(Rogers, 1961) as criteria for healthy development andoptimal functioning.What kinds of experiences lead to eudaimonichappiness? Waterman (1993) argued that eudaimonichappiness results from experiences of personalexpressiveness. Such experiences occur whenwe are fully engaged in life activities that fit andexpress our deeply held values and our sense ofwho we are. Under these circumstances we experiencea feeling of fulfillment, of meaningfulness, ofbeing intensely alive—a feeling that this is who wereally are and who we were meant to be.At this point, you might ask whether hedonicand eudaimonic views of happiness are very different.Aren’t activities that bring us pleasure also generallythe ones that are meaningful because they express ourtalents and values? Waterman believes that there aremany more activities that produce hedonic enjoymentthan activities that provide eudaimonic happinessbased on personal expression. Everything from alcoholconsumption and eating chocolate, to a warmbath can bring us pleasure, but there are fewer activitiesthat engage significant aspects of our identity andgive a deeper meaning to our lives.

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