Ask yourself whether you are happy…

Ask yourself whether you are happy and you cease to be so.John Stuart Mill

Go on, try it. If you think sufficiently, you will find it to be true.

This is quite a curious thing. It is difficult to imagine that asking something so simple and so apparently obvious to ourselves would break our notion of happiness. Then again, happiness itself is a curious thing. It means different things to different people at different times. Someone would find happiness just in seeing the sun rise everyday whereas for some, it would be going to a party most nights. Even more curious is the fact that hardly anybody knows why they would find happiness in these things. The conclusive answer is either “It is just me” or “I just like it” or some other variant.

Wikipedia defines happiness as “a state of mind or feeling characterised by contentment, love, satisfaction, pleasure or joy.” Each of these concepts is hard to measure or quantify to provide a meaningful quantity to happiness. Consequently, when one asks whether he is happy, he finds it difficult to quantify these concepts to present as answer. This disability now leads to discontent, dissatisfaction and frustration leading to, most ironically, the ceasing of happiness.

The qualities that make a man rational are the reason that makes it difficult to understand a non-quantified concept. If a thing can’t be measured or quantified, it is very difficult to communicate its boundaries and parameters to oneself and others. We need words to communicate, even for some of our thoughts. If what we are thinking can’t be measured, it will be difficult to explain it with words and hence difficult to communicate.

Obviously, we just can’t be bothered with all this. There we have the common expression: Ignorance is bliss. This ignorance is the reason for our virtual state of happiness. Once we start questioning this with an untrained mind, which is when the happiness ceases to be.