Quote on Happiness and Consumerism

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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?

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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.

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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 :)

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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.

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Post by jacob »

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

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