Saturday, August 15, 2009

Happiness is not a choice.

So I was reading a blog of a friend of mine. At the bottom of it there was this quote.

"Happiness is a choice, not an event. Success is a goal, not a gift or a right. Victims have no power, people who act have plenty."

I want to focus on the first sentence. There rest of the quote seems true enough, although the victim part may raise my ire. While I also don't think happiness is an event, or at least I don't think that it is, I don't think it's a choice either. At least not for me.

If happiness is a choice why would anyone choose anything but happiness? The fact that there are people who are sad disproves the "choice" aspect of emotions. You feel what you feel. There are a variety of things that cause you to feel what you feel. To some degree you can decide what your response to stimuli is. But there is so much that is beyond a persons ability to do so.

Case in point, me. My brain, or emotions, or both make me feel sad. It's not a simple matter of saying to my self "My brain is inexplicably trying to make me depressed. But I will be happy instead." It doesn't work that way. At least not for me. Maybe "normal" people can out think their melancholy. In that case happiness really is a choice for them. And I can can kind of see how that can work. I've out thought myself away from happiness. I was taking Prozac and it seemed like they were taking the edge off the sadness. As soon as I realized this any good they did stopped working. So I don't know. Maybe that's not quite the same thing.

So then I thought if happiness is not a choice what is it? That's when it hit me.

Happiness is not a choice it's a medical condition.

I'm not choosing to be depressed it's a medical condition. Depression is recognized as such so wouldn't the inverse of it likewise be a medical condition. Makes sense to me. Although it is kind of sad once you think about it. Happy people are not really happy they're healthy. Depressed people are not really sad their sick.

Do I really think this?

I don't know.

But I will say this. Happiness is not a choice. At least not entirely