Everyone talks about happiness. Books, conferences, coaching, mentoring … are some of the products that people can buy today in the supermarkets of happiness. Most are usually a collection of nice phrases, motivational tips, and framing aphorisms that can be motivating when you read them but have no long-term practical use. The problem is, happiness is such a complex thing that it’s very difficult to research it.
Daniel Kahneman, one of the most influential psychologists of our time, reveals this in the final chapters of the book that led him to the Nobel Prize. current scientific findings on well-being and happiness.
Kahnmeman and his idea of happiness
essentially Kahneman’s studies reveal that there is no one-size-fits-all concept of happiness. This psychologist tells us about the existence of two “I”: the “I who experiences” and the “I who remembers”. Both are of great importance to how we value our happiness.
While the experiencing ego is responsible for recording how we feel about events as they occur, the remembering ego is making sense of those experiences.
To illustrate the two concepts, he gives the following example:
“A comment I heard from an audience member after a lecture illustrates the difficulty in distinguishing memories from experiences. He recounted how he listened in ecstasy to a long symphony recorded on an album that was crossed out towards the end. . And it made an outrageous noise, and how that disastrous ending ruined the whole experience. “
But the experience was not really spoiled, only the memory of it. The reality of the spectator had been really pleasant most of the time; however, the noise of the finale made the overall rating of the viewer experience outrageous.
The “I” who has pleasantly enjoyed the course of the symphony in the present moment is the “I who experiences”. On the other hand, the “I” which considered the unpleasant experience is the “I who remembers”.
Logics of memory
In this example, Kahneman shows the dilemma between direct experience and memory. It also shows how different these two happiness systems are that are satisfied with different elements.
The “experienced self” takes into account everyday emotions in the present moment. As you have experienced most of the day, the thrill of a date with a loved one, the comfort of a nap or the release of endorphins in sports.
“Self-remembering” measures the overall satisfaction with our lives. When someone asks us how we’re doing, how about vacation, work or just we take stock of our lives. He is a narrator who values specific experiences based on what we consider relevant to life.
Another example that shows the difference between the two is the following: imagine that on our next vacation, we know that at the end of the vacation period all our photos will be destroyed and that we will receive amnesic medicine so that we do not let’s not do it. won’t remember anything. Now would you choose the same vacation?
If we think about it in terms of time, we’ll get an answer. And if we think about it in terms of memories, we’ll have another answer. Why do we choose the holidays we have chosen ?, is a problem that leads us to a choice between the two jos.
Well-being has more than once
As the reader can verify, happiness is presented as a complex and problematic concept in light of these studies. As Kahnemam says:
“Over the past ten years, we have learned a lot of new things about happiness. But we have also learned that the word happiness does not have a single meaning and should not be used as it is used. scientific progress leaves us more perplexed than we were before “.
For this reason, there are no tips, phrases, or lessons in this article on what makes our lives the most rewarding. Only relevant scientific findings that should make us more critical of authors who sell quick and easy solutions to leading a life of satisfaction and happiness.
- Kahneman, Daniel. Think fast, think slow. Barcelona: Debate, 2012. ISBN-13: 978-8483068618.