Quote on Happiness and Consumerism

Your favorite books and links
Post Reply
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:53 pm

Post by gibberade »

"Since the purpose of business is to satisfy existing desires, or stimulate new ones, if everyone were genuinely happy, there would be no need for business any longer."

— Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Love to have a good discussion on the quote, and Csikszentmihalyi's work in general. What do you think?

Posts: 505
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:43 pm

Post by Maus »

Genuine happiness starts to diminish when I get hungry. And it isn't ameliorated by having to hunt, gather or till to feed myself. So we're gonna need businesses that produce and retail food. I suppose my point is that his equation of happiness with the complete satisfaction of desires is a little too broad and reductive.
If I recall, this is the guy who originated the concept of "flow." So it may be that for him genuine happiness is such a compelling state that the demands of the body become inconsequential as long as the state of flow lasts.

Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:53 pm

Post by gibberade »

I don't think Csikszentmihalyi is trying to reduce happiness to simply desires at all. Rather, I think that the quotation is showing how shallow and unfulfilled society is by seeking consumer pleasures over genuine gratifications.
I think the ERE community is all about gratifications that provide true happiness - the "flow" activities that Csikszentmihalyi has brought to light. These satisfactions do not require money :)

Posts: 391
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:58 pm

Post by Matthew »

I have not read this, but I think we would all be surprised at how much work/business goes into just meeting the necessities of life.
Farming seems simple when you see a combine moving across the field, but when you realize all the people involved with creating a combine and industries to keep them running you realize there is still tons of work required to make it happen. Most of this grain does not even directly feed humans.

Site Admin
Posts: 13322
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73

Post by jacob »

I'd agree if the word business was substituted for consumerism.

Post Reply