Happiness: Is an Interesting Life More Important than a Happy Life?

I’ve been reading Penelope Trunk’s blog, and it fills me with so much food for thought that I don’t know quite what to think or where to start or how to proceed.

I like this a lot in life. I like to have so much to think about that it makes me feel as though the future is endless with possibilities. It gives me hope, and hope is one of the main things that keep us alive. And thoughts are like friends. When I was at university, I missed a lot of lectures, even though I was there in the room, because they were so interesting that they got me thinking!* Like a lot of my favourite bloggers, Sean Carmody, Penelope Trunk and Greg Savage for instance, I think I must be a fairly “promiscuous” thinker, since so many things seem so interesting and seem to have such relevance to the way we work and live our lives.

So, having got so much food for thought, I thought I’d just write about happiness (as if people haven’t been trying to define and understand the nature of happiness since writing and presumably conversation began!).

This is because of a number of reasons: I’ve been thinking about happiness and the role it plays in creativity, I’ve joined an optimism-based LinkedIn Group this week, which has got me thinking from a philosophical point of view, where one draws the line between an unrealistic, silly and superficial desire for un-relentless wishful thinking and positive thought and actual happiness and what it means (and whether I’m a negative thinker for thinking that wishful thinking might be silly – so vexed and such fun!), and, because since I majored in philosophy at university, I’m always trying to be a part of a philosophical tradition of understanding and attaining happiness anyway, especially the Platonic idea of seeking The Good.

I’ve just this minute read on an old post from Penelope’s blog that “New Yorkers think an interesting life is more important than a happy life”. More to think about like: Is there a difference between interesting and happy? Can you have a happy life without interest? Are contentment and serenity the same as happiness? Is happiness possible?

Philosophers have been studying happiness for thousands of years, and there is a whole branch of the more modern discipline of psychology which deals with the psychology of happiness, which indicates that the desire for happiness is at the core of human existence and drives.

In the workplace, much store has been placed lately on the engagement we feel with our jobs, and I suspect that engagement may well be central to happiness generally, not just in the workplace. Certainly, to be a part of something, the moment, a group, society, nature, a team, an intellectual position, or a family, is essential for me to be happy.

Writing a blog and thinking makes me happy. It makes me feel part of something larger, and less alone. It makes me feel engaged with other people and the world of work and ideas. And it makes me feel grateful that so many other people want to share their lives and experiences to help me shape mine.

* I defy you, for instance, to even read the chapter titles from my old teacher Professor Raoul Mortley’s publication From Word to Silence without getting totally lost in the possibilities before you even read anything!

Lynette Jensen

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* This is a personal view and does not necessarily represent the opinion, belief or policy of the company. More posts below.

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3 Responses to “Happiness: Is an Interesting Life More Important than a Happy Life?”

  1. Hi, Lynette, I like your phrase “promiscuous thinker.” And I know what you mean about ideas creating possibilities. I was just thinking, while I was reading the Anthropologie catalog that thumbing through the pictures and descriptions is so stimulating to me – it makes me think about lots of things that have nothing to do with buying stuff at Anthropologie, but the experience creates huge brand loyalty from me because I love when I have the feeling of a rush of ideas.


  2. admin says:

    Hi Penelope,
    “Intellectual Butterfly” also comes to mind! Thank you for your comment and your generosity of spirit for giving me so much to think about.

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