"The source of modern unhappiness is, as it always has been, the belief in happiness."
Which is pretty much wrong.
I mean, there is an element of truth in there, because to a certain extent what you believe matters, however, there are also other ways to be unhappy that have nothing to do with your mindset, for example, (and this is something you can test) you can stub your toe. You could also break a leg, fall off a cliff, or convince someone to punch you in the face, all of which can be pretty unhappy.
Regardless of your mental outlook, pain is unhappy.
(For most people. Yes, there are people that have mismatched wires that think pain is super, but there are also all sorts of people with mental health issues, so for sake of argument, let's just assume that pain is a type of unhappiness.)
So let's define a couple of relationships then:
- Physical Happiness = Pleasure
- Physical Unhappiness = Pain
- Abstract Happiness = Triumph
- Abstract Unhappiness = Grief
On the flip side, grief is a mental unhappiness, from the loss of a great job, to losing it all in the stock market, to getting kicked out of college. Maybe you gave up on that problem because it was too difficult, or you just realized your poetry is horrendous. Your nephew might have just been killed in a car crash, your team went 0-16, you lost the election for class president, or one of an infinite number of abstract situations that you feel terrible about.
(I am aware that situations that can cause triumph and grief can and often do invoke pleasure or pain. For example, if a loved one dies, not only do you feel the mental anguish of them passing, but you also feel physical pain from that grief. This is because these labels are not mutually exclusive, meaning you can take pleasure and triumph from something, just as you can take pain and grief from something. Just be aware that because there is a link between the physical world and our minds, so too is there a connection between these emotional states.)
Let's add one more piece to the puzzle:
Assumption #1: There is nothing outside of Physical + Abstract.
What this means is that I am assuming that there is nothing outside of our existence that matters for the purpose of this discussion. I'm pretty much saying, "If you can't sense it or comprehend it, then who cares?" So that said, let's add up what we've thought about so far:
Happiness = Physical Happiness + Abstract Happiness
Happiness = Pleasure + Triumph
Unhappiness = Physical Unhappiness + Abstract Unhappiness
Unhappiness = Pain + Grief
Now, you may be saying, so what? What's the point?
Well, for starters, I can fix my Facebook post to mean something more truthful. Something like:
"The source of modern unhappiness is, as it always has been, pain, and the belief in triumph."
Which leads me to the third state of being, which I will leave for another post.