Pancakes and Happiness

Credit: Atfolio

The principles of happinomics dictate that we’re happier when we do things for other people than when we’re selfish. And if you think about it, that makes perfect sense.

Human beings are social creatures. We find meaning and purpose in others and our community, not ourselves.

Our “individuality” is just a portal to our community. Just consider Facebook: we set up a personal profile, but only so that we can access our greater personal network; without others and the community, that profile (and Facebook writ large) becomes meaningless.

But social media also seems to foster relationships that are more egocentric and less focused on communitiy.

Just think about it: Online relationships are based more on niche interests than on shared community space. They tend to be more shallow and less nuanced because they’re less likely to grow beyond the shared, common interest they were built on.

They remain more focused on what we get out of them and less on what we put into them.

But if we’re focused too much on ourselves, and we don’t develop deeper, more meaningful relationships with others, will we be able to say that we’ll miss anyone? Will we be able to say that we’ll be missed?

You’ve probably read (or at least heard of) that Atlantic Monthly article, Is Google Making Us Stupid?, by Nicholas Carr. In a nutshell, because we now Google facts instead of learning, interpreting, and remembering them ourselves, we’re becoming pancake people with much broader, more shallow knowledge bases than we once had.

So is it possible that Facebook (and Twitter and social media in general) is making us unhappy? Are our lives becoming as shallow as our knowledge base? Are we becoming so self-centered that we’re missing out on happinomics?

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One Response to “Pancakes and Happiness”

  1. 5.11 tactical September 16, 2010 at 2:08 am #

    well said, social media sites are just a means to share or interest, but learning and preserving knowledge is something lost today,

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