“I could see that,” I replied. We are not accustomed to having to go through the work of our mind or emotions to find happiness.”
“What is this happiness?” He asks. “Americans are so obsessed with the idea of happiness. They want to be happy all the time. It’s impossible, what one should aim for is to be peaceful and content. You can’t be happy all the time.”
I had never thought about a culture obsessed with happiness, but since that conversation I realize how much it’s sold to us. A new car will make you happy. A granite countertop will make you happy. Things will make you happy. Pills will make you happy. We are obsessed with instant gratification.
I start to wonder if it’s a unique phenomenon. Other cultures must want to find happiness too but perhaps they are more comfortable in the placid and tranquil contentment. Perhaps they don’t seek the highs we do.
I wouldn’t know; I’m American.