I have been doing a fair bit of reading of late on the topic of happiness. The first was Addicted to Unhappiness by Martha Heineman Pieper and William J Pieper. It was rather interesting but I don’t know that addicted is the right word. Essentially what they were saying was that as children we expect the world to be perfect, and whatever we experience or feel as children we come to hold as the norm to be aspired to. So if we experience physical or emotional discomfort as children we seek that same discomfort as adults and that can often manifest itself as self-destructive behaviour like over-eating, excessive risk taking etc. While they made it clear that we shouldn’t blame our parents, as they did the best they knew how, they were fairly critical of conventional child rearing techniques.
I found it quite interesting because I was deaf as a child. I was deaf from some time after I started learning to talk when I was one till I had an operation when I was five or six. I don’t really remember much from then, but I have always wondered what effect it has had on me and whether some of the problems I have today with listening, paying attention and engaging with people stem from then. Maybe I am subconsciously seeking out that same childhood experience of deafness. It’s an interesting theory but I suppose the problem with the psychological is that it is almost impossible to prove.
The second book, which I haven’t finished yet, is called Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert. Again the title is kind of misleading because it is not really about making yourself happy it is more about the way our brains work. It is an interesting mix of psychology and philosophy of mind. Gilbert is essentially arguing that, because of the kinds of brains we have, we can never know what is going to make our future self happy. That our brains don’t actually store as much information as we imagine that they do and when you remember you are actually only remembering one or two key things and the rest your brain imagines, filling the gaps to make the memory more real, and that when you think about what you should do next your brain is doing exactly the same thing – projecting. So we are often wrong about what we remember and about what we imagine. I think I need to finish the book before I make any conclusions about that one.
As for progress on goals
BMI – no change
Words written – none
New places visited – none
Blocks made into things – some small progress towards a quilt top
DIY efforts – absolutely disastrous. I took the skirting board off in my lounge and found absolutely no reason why it might be sprouting dirt. I can’t take the pipe off the outside of the house because my screwdriver is too large to fit in the space between it and the air conditioner, when I put my curtains in the washing machine to wash they have started to dissolve and my can of carpet cleaner ran out after only doing half the carpet.
Positive thinking though. It is only just past 10 am on a Saturday. There is plenty of weekend left to make more progress.