A ​Hierarchy of Happiness

‘Was chatting with a friend about happiness some time ago. So I thought to reflect on why we get happy, and why our happiness might persist. This piece tries to addresses the first question directly.  

I identify four kinds of happiness, speak of a happiness personality test, and end with a hierarchy of happiness (Maslow style). I’ve used happiness here as the pleasant emotional sensation or feeling that comes with, and because of gratification or the anticipation of it.  

The happiness for enjoyment:- Because of activity and participation; as getting a fix. E.g travelling, dancing, knitting, drugs, sex, drink, sports, games, marriage, etc.  

Could she still be happy without enjoyments?  

The happiness for possession:- Because I received, have, or own some one or some thing. E.g, cars, connection(s), gifts, girlfriends, friends, boyfriends, experiences checked off the checklist, celebrity status, spouse, friend, degrees, trophies, houses, etc.  

Could she still be happy without possessions and enjoyments?  

The happiness for events:- Because something that pleased you happened. E.g. birthdays, weddings, news of passing exams, visitors, and general good news, D. Trump wins? etc.  

Could she still be happy without pleasant outcomes, possessions and enjoyments?  

The happiness for achievement:- Because I finished or was rewarded. E.g. degrees, awards, promotion, meeting goals, hitting targets, putting your kids through school, marriage, wedding, etc.  

Could she still be happy without achievements, pleasant news, possessions, and enjoyments?  

Looking at our happinesses, which of these four has supplied most of them at various periods in our lives. 

According to your lifestyle, if you were to rank these in order of power, permanence, or personal significance, how would you arrange them — top to bottom. That tells us where we are, in a way. Or, perhaps, where we might want to ‘improve.’ Like a happiness personality test.  

Why did we order them the way we did? Nature, or nurture? I’d say that nurture started it all, with ‘life happening’ as an accomplice, and volition plastering it on nature. 

Finally, considering the foregoing, and following the pattern of Maslow’s hierarchy or needs, here is my hierarchy of happiness. (First choice: PosEvAchEn; second choice: PoAchEvEn.) The first choice, in order of need:  

Possessions:- Happy for what you have, that you have, or that you are. 

Events:- Happy that some thing happened.  

Achievements:- Happy that you made something happen.  

Enjoyments:- Happy that you participated in something that tickled you.  

Pressure Points

Addiction
Care
Conscience
Desire
Esteem
Foolishness
Greed
Happiness
Humour
Hunger
Knowledge
Loneliness
Longing
Love
Mania
Naïveté
Nonchalance
Pain
Passion
Perfectionism
Phobia
Pride
Respect
Responsibility
Righteousness
Simplicity
Survival
Temper
Thirst
Wisdom

Our Glories

In the middle of the night
Reminiscing about the past
With gratitude and nostalgia
About the glories gone by

In the darkness before dawn
Projecting towards the sun
With gratitude and motivation
Towards the glories that come

His classes were a bit tedious

His classes were a bit tedious, bringing some students through periodic mental odium for the course. Comprehension seemed a steep hill to climb every session, and a soft unknown dread filled every thought of the next lesson. In some sort of desperation, trying to fathom the lessons and the man’s methods, some students, who’d fancied themselves brilliant enough to handle the rigour, but still out of sorts on the course, sought for comfort in texts of old, those that might’ve been used by that professor in his school days. “This course is hard” they retorted severally. To which their tutor responded with little spoken near disgust at their poor IQs and foundations. He’d thought the school had taken majority of the students for their money and nothing else. He knew so.

They we’re mere customers, devoid of aspiration beyond the certificate. We would give them what we would, and then the certificate if they passed. After all, it is what they think they need. He’d agreed to their statistical suitability using the science of admissions. That’s why they could be admitted in the first place. But his main irk was that they were too many for comfort, for standards—his standards. He’d been overruled by the need for money first. They needed money to pay his superstar salary—being a research titan—and buy equipment. These should directly translate to reputation, which they would sell for grants and like, use to justify higher tuition, and attract the most suitable students for their objectives. It’s the way the system works so we play the cycle as it is, pure business.

One day, a known face walked into the class. The students had seen him around. They’d heard of him: dry, exacting, serious and temperate, and also, extremely organised and brilliant. Soon they added effective teacher to this list. He was taking the latter part of the course as previously arranged. The students were soon sure that the first professor, whose lessons had been a hard book to read, had somehow contributed to their slow comprehension by his delivery. Maybe it was a way of making the best students stand out or inspiring something in the students that they didn’t immediately appreciate. That professor would go on to focus on his research, a scheduled conference, and other responsibilities.

After about an hour, he asked them to ‘take five.’ Instinctively, one student said, “please sir, continue, we’re not tired.” Then it hit the rest of the class. The new guy is good! He interrupted their murmurs and sudden conference. “I’m taking my five minutes break. You drink some water and chat or something.” The concepts, and ideas, and associated tasks in the course hadn’t got any easier, but they had a better teacher, a better tutor, and a better communicator. To his chagrin, they took him back to topics previously covered by the other professor; it upset him because it wasn’t efficient to do so. He balked. When he was threatened with incessant office visits, he advised that they should work hard at it and that it would be more efficient to treat those issues in a review class at his convenience. He was a stern man, almost military. He’d more or less issued a command, and that ended the matter.

You continued till it was done

The time came near
With the shudder of pain
Was there another way

Feeling as abandoned
through shame and crux
You continued till it was done

Within our humanity
There was something we should be
More than we knew

Stranger at home
Counting it joy
You were glad to be with us

Like I am
You saw what I see
Knowing how I feel

Holy Son Christ
You came for life
But then first to die

Hades you visited
Because you returned
My life has come

It’s not enough

It’s not enough
Let’s make it go a far as possible
It’s not enough
We do something to add to it

It’s not enough
Sorry we won’t share
It’s not enough
Painful but have some

It’s not enough
We need to get out
It’s not enough
Why stay in and endure

It’s not enough
That’s all we have
It’s not enough
It is now

It’s not enough
Is it really
It’s not enough
How should we make do

It’s not enough
Drop it
It’s not enough
Make the best of it

It’s not enough
We shall have some more
It’s not enough
Let’s make more from it

It’s not enough
Still we’re content
It’s not enough
So long as there’s fuel to burn