HAPPINESS AND BASIC HUMAN NATURE
Happiness, as we’ve come to see, is simply an emotion.
But what is an emotion? Why do human beings have emotions at all? Why is there such a thing as happiness? Psychologists have been intrigued by such questions, and the answers they have discovered provide extraordinary insights into the most fundamental nature of human existence.
We human beings have a fascinating and complex emotional life. Emotion follows us throughout life, it is a part of almost every experience we go through. Emotions come and go — some good, others bad. Some emotions come and leave quickly, others hang around for long periods of time, and as life progresses our emotions weave an intricate tapestry that adds complexity to our personality and meaning to our lives.
But what is an emotion? How many emotions are there? Do emotions come and go in a regular cycle? Do we learn our emotions, or are they innate? What causes emotions: outside events or inside body rhythms?
And what about happiness? How does it relate other emotions? How do people decide if they are happy? Are some times in life more happier than others? How happy are Americans, and how happy are people in other places in the world? There are some of the unanswered questions we shall explore…
To truly understand happiness, we first need a background in basic psychology and the role emotions serve. To do this it might be fun to try and construct a surviving machine. In doing this we can provide a basic view of human psychology. Our view will be a drastically oversimplified one, but I believe it will be one that accurately reflects the current understanding of modern psychology.