Happiness and Technology

Any TV show ready to go at anytime or be only able to watch one show at a specific time and never again.  Which would you choose?  Most of us have chosen the former or have had it chosen for us.  It sounds like the better choice on paper just like every other advancement of technology that we have seen.

I would define happiness as a mood that comes and goes rather than a prolonged state of bliss.  The more advanced technology becomes the more difficult it is to be happy.  We used to be scared of starving to death and once we successfully found a meal it brought us immense joy.  Now we take pictures of our food and put it on the internet which probably angers every starving African family out there.  Finding food these days doesn’t make you feel like a winner.  Most of the time you feel like a loser for stuffing 2 Big Macs in your face.

Happiness has always been relative to how difficult something is to attain.  Technology has taken away the fear and difficulty of almost everything.  When you’re not scared and feel very little anticipation, not only do you not feel happiness, you don’t feel anything.

There are so many TV shows available to me that I don’t watch any of them.  If there was only 1 then I would have watched it long time ago.  My mental process tells me that they will always be there so who cares.  I don’t have to keep a mental note that a show is on Tuesday at 8pm and if I miss it, I will have to wait forever to be able to see it again.  The phrase, ‘I’m going to miss my show’ is or will be extinct.

I guess one solution is to cut it all out but then you will either feel like an idiot or die of stress thinking about how you could have something so easily.  It doesn’t really work when you know you have options.

When a song I like comes on the radio, I am much happier than when I play it off a CD because a CD takes away the element of surprise and your willingness to appreciate the moment.  When something is not scarce it does not matter.

Maybe this is life’s way of pushing the evolution of happiness.  Or life’s way of making humans less human.  Whatever it is, it’s doing something. It’s doubtful that I would be writing this post though if my favourite show was on right now and I couldn’t record it, download it later or have the knowledge that it would be available in some other way in the near future.  I’m not sure if that means anything but it might.


3 comments on “Happiness and Technology

  1. cctyker says:

    Instant gratification wins every time. To me that is OK when deciding about behaviors that have little future consequence.

    But I see most people seeking instant gratification when deciding the direction of their future. Many people seem to think they have to have it now.

    So they commit future income to today’s instant gratification, never thinking the future may not be as they expect it to be. (And with this Ebola problem our future may not be as it has been.) Example is buying a new car using a loan. Buying a TV with a credit card. Even buying a soft drink with a credit card. Etc.

    To me those people have now become a slave to the finance company. The demands of the financial company come first, the sickness of their child, or themselves, is paid for after the finance company. In effect they just lowered their disposable income.. A hunk of their future dollars has been committed to some stranger who has the law on their side, and doesn’t give a dam whether you need medical attention or not. You signed a contract, obey it. That’s all he cares about.

    And to me that is all he should care about. The borrower signed the contract voluntarily. It is assumed the borrower is behaving in his best interests. But is the borrower?


    • MrJohnson says:

      I think instant gratification is part of our wiring from the times when we could have died anytime. The fact that we know we are likely going to be around for the next 30 years makes things difficult.

      Ya, that credit card debt can really mess you up for life. It’s hard for most people to recover. It just becomes part of their life like a dependent. I guess that is one situation where optimism is no good for you.

      After knowing a enough people who buried themselves in debt, I’ve come to realize it’s like an addiction. What an odd but effective business though. Relying on people to borrow too much and not be able to pay back the money they borrow.


      • cctyker says:

        MrJohnson said: “I think instant gratification is part of our wiring from the times when we could have died anytime.”
        I had not thought of that possibility and I agree with you.


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