Mouse: What does that mean?
Cypher: It doesn’t mean anything.

I went with my dad to a concert at the Goethe Institut yesterday. Well, we tried to. We learned, upon arrival, that the German piano-cello-violin trio had canceled their brazilian tour at the last minute. Nothing else to do, and as they had this german-styled bar at the Institute's entrance, my dad invited me to a German beer, an offer I promptly accepted.

My German teacher, Magda, once explained her views on what a typical German considers to bring the most profound happiness - in her view, that was the sense of accomplishment. As I sat and drank my beer(s), I pondered over that idea. All my tasks for the day had been successfully carried off, and that indeed allowed me to enjoy the evening all the more. Of course, I could have had a good time even with tasks still open - which has, for sure, happened on other occasions - but the perception of relative freedom certainly amplificates this feeling.

Which then brought me to the second pseudo-philosophical issue of the evening - motivated in part by my recent readings of the development of the quantum theory - "how reality is defined by how we perceive things, and not necessarily by the facts themselves" (*). The old question of the glass being half-full or half-empty, I guess. Given some random fact, I can either examine it under a negative light, or give it a positive spin and try to make the best out of whatever can be made of it. Some time ago, I made a choice to try and follow the second route whenever I could. Sometimes the situation looked grim, and my choice had to be reminded, most frequently by my closest friends, which would then put myself back on a positive spiral (aren't my friends great?). Accomplishing lots in different fields did help keep my spirit high - so even if I get less-than-stellar results in one area, I can usually more than make up for that in another. Again back to the tune of accomplishment - for good or worse, being analytical in nature, I tend to measure myself. Still, sometimes the most genuine happiness comes from little, unmeasurable things. As wisely put by Moni, allowing one to enjoy those little moments - and to do it often - that is the ultimate goal in, or meaning to, life. :-)

(*) One may ask, indeed, if an underlying reality exists at all. In Physics, I tend to favour the Kopenhagen interpretation, and I'll consider to hold a similar position to answer, in the broader sense, the question I posed.

1 comment:

monimay said...

I'm so glad that psychologists aren't the only ones questioning themselves about the perception and the reality. Let's include the virtual reality and you really have a problem! :P
In the end, I guess it's not important if the reality really does exist or not, because all we can perceive of it is what we DO perceive! :)
What i try to say is: there are lots of things that exist, although we cannot explain them, so we rather deny their existence. Perhaps they will some day be explained, and we won't be there anymore to see it.
But as certain as depression works as a vicious circle, happiness does it as well.
People are just so occupied with sorrows that they forget what life is there for... Thanks for reminding us! ;)
(My happiness yesterday was a _little_ dress i tailored for my niece! :) )