When you boil it right down to its sticky essential gloop, what is life about, if not the aim of being as happy as possible? Even in our most wrong-headed moments, we’re striving to get happy - even if, by doing that, we make ourselves and everyone around us less happy. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
And speaking of a hellish place filled with miserable people desperately trying and failing to be happy: let us glance now at the rectangular glowing portal to despair that is The Internet.
Human beings are inquisitive, instinctive problem-solvers. It makes sense that, when faced with the most fabulous repository of inter-connected information that the known universe has ever created, we humans poke the box to try and find answers to some of the most important questions of all.
And a lot of those questions - whether directly or obliquely - are essentially asking variations of the same thing: how can I be happy? So surely, one can safely assume, the good denizens of the World Wide Web will provide simple, effective help for their fellow travellers in need of soothing.
MONTAG strapped on its trusty Information Superhighway Surfboard and dived into the fabled Series Of Tubes to find out. The answer to the above question, of course, is that the internet just made things a lot, lot worse.
PART 1: Answers dot com: where queries go to trip on angel dust
answers.com is a website that is fundamentally a Good Idea, which somehow over the years, has became the corner of the internet where people high on PCP advise others on the most banal/insane questions of all.
Here are a selection of unedited questions and answers which appear under the wait-is-that-even-grammatically-correct heading of “How Do You Be Happy?”
The questions seem divide themselves, broadly, into three categories: I’m Too Simple To Survive Planet Earth; Shaky Relationship Advice; and Help, I Just Ate All My Weed.
Too Simple To Survive Planet Earth
Here are some of the far-too-basic questions and their accompanying answers. After reading a few of these, your brain may feel like it is being reprogrammed by aliens trying to learn about what it is to be human. This may, actually, be the most palatable of the possible truths behind these interactions.
Why do you get happy?
HAPPINESS IS A FEELING YOU GET WHEN YOU RECIEVE SOMETHING GIVE SOMETHING OR SOMETHING GOOD HAPPENS. For example you gett happy from playing videogames.
Why is it that you are happy?
Studies have shown from Harvard University that the perfect balance of sexual intercourse and honey are directly related to happiness.
Do happy things make you happy?
yes its like if you want a pony so bad u would cry to get one then ur happy cause you got one just like that
Happiness in relationships
As previously discussed on MONTAG: the path to real, deep happiness has been repeatedly proven to be found in meaningful relationships. It therefore stands to reason that curious users are asking nuanced, sensitive questions aimed at furthering understanding between people. LOL, no of course they aren’t: just read this worrying nonsense below. (On the plus side, at least the answer about lesbians begins to address some important real-world happiness issues.)
How too keep a pregnant woman happy?
give her the food she wants. rub her stomach. read to the baby. Ask her if she needs to get anything off her chest. ask her if she worries about the baby and reassure her. Make it a beautiful thing. and if shes still being irritable, buy chocolate
Why are lesbians too happy all the time?
There is no set level of happiness with lesbians. Honestly....A lotof LGBT people don't come out to there family or friends....makingthem unhappy.
How do you get your dad to be happy?
MONTAG NOTE: Every time we read this three-point guide, it gets more awful.
What you need to do is;
Make him his fave meal without being told to
then make him a drink of beer
go in the bedroom....
Jazz! Hippos! How to sing the simplest song in the English language!
Truly, anyone searching for answers on answers.com will not be left wanting for answers, in the loosest definition of the term.
Is jazz happy?
Jazz is a happy and fun to try and experience, my friends taken it on and she really likes it!
Why is happy hippo happy?
Happy Hippo is just a catchy name for the candy. Personally, I think the candy can't be happy or sad. It's just a treat, it's not alive. But they're delicious! I love them so much.
What are the lyrics happy happy birthday?
The lyrics are: Happy Birthday to you Happy Birthday to you Happy birthday dear (name) Happy Birthday to you There are other versions like: Happy Birthday to you You live in a zoo You look like a monkey And you smell like one too
PART 2: Is Too Much Happiness Bad For You? Or, How I Stopped Thinking Rationally And Learned to Love Being Constantly Anxious
Of course, in their search for happiness answers, people aren’t merely farting questions out into the void of the internet and hoping for the best. They’re also Googling the same banal questions - and the mighty #content machine that is the modern media landscape has a ready-waiting, SEO-perfect series of articles that appear to provide the answers you slavishly desire.
And, as ever, there are a staggering number of niche happiness topics covered. For instance, you simply would not believe how many articles have been written on the question, “Is Too Much Happiness Bad For You?”
It’s a journalism adage that if a question in a headline ends in a question mark, the answer is always “No.” Yet here we are, clicking furiously on web-poison, just in case this is the one time the answer to the headline is, “OMG YES! And now you’ll *really* be happy.”
And as there are so many of them, presumably these articles find a welcoming audience of people who are worried that they’re just having too much of a good time.
Appropriate levels of snark aside, there are some actually complex psychological issues at play here: if you are extremely happy, does it matter what you do with your life, as long as it doesn’t negatively affect others? This is all very dependant, it seems, on how heavily you invest in capitalist doctrine.
“Happiness,” begins the final part of this chin-stroking peep into whether Being Happy Is Actually Bad, “generally leads to a deep feeling of satisfaction, signalling to us that our goals are being fulfilled, so we generally tend to slow down and become more laid-back.”
At this point you may be wondering what the problem is. And you would be correct! Slowing down and enjoying the scenery is A Good Thing To Do when you’re happy.
But wait. Terror lurks: you might, heaven forbid, become less driven, less flexible, and accomplish less. It turns out that your happy satisfaction is capitalism’s worst nightmare: because when you become a person no longer striving for something, you can’t easily be sold to.
In fact, the more one reads of these hey-I’m-just-asking-questions-you-know articles, which are packed with snippets of info from real academic studies, the more it becomes clear that: it’s quite difficult to be too happy, and almost certainly not worth worrying about, let alone creating lots of hand-wringing articles about it.
Because when you’re really happy, you’re happy. Happy is good. It just turns out that people being very happy is bad from a boss’s perspective, because happy workers probably laugh at you behind your back when you command that they work faster.
What complete and prolonged personal happiness might do, however, is demotivate you until you’re less naturally inclined to do the specific things that made you happy in the first place, initiating a downward spiral of decreasing happiness.
Luckily, as University of Virginia psychologist Shigehiro Oishi noted, it’s very difficult and rare to be extremely happy in all areas of your life simultaneously. Life, it seems, is complicated and multifarious. Who knew?
IN SUMMATION: SHUT UP, YOU'RE PRETTY HAPPY
Truthfully, it is clear that for long-term growth the oyster-shell of your life needs a bit of grit so that a pearl of happiness develops. However, if you’re looking for a #HappinessLifehack, it’s probably worth aiming for extreme happiness and missing, rather than erring on the side of caution and introducing the painful bits deliberately.
Life is pretty good at taking happiness away without inquiring whether it’s OK with you first. And maybe that’s the best world-view from both a personal and - gasp - fiscal perspective. Endlessly searching the gaping void that is the internet for hacks, tricks and workarounds is probably low ROI when you could just accept that any level of happiness is a fine place to be.
Because happiness is, as even capitalist tome The Economist points out, a pretty good problem to have.