What are the keys to happiness? What makes us happy?
It’s a tricky issue and everyone seems to have different opinions.
Me, for example, thinking that becoming a porn star must be the best job ever. However, some will argue that it’s such a bad job it can’t possibly be consented and therefore has to be prohibited.
I think marriage is a trap to mitigate disparity of sexual desirability. Many people are unhappily married. Again, some religious fundamentalists will argue that it’s the only way to find happiness that any information that suggests otherwise are dangerous for minors and should be censored.
There is always a shortcut, like drug, of course. But what’s the normal way?
There are two credible theories that we know so far about happiness.
The first is consumerism. You gain happiness by buying products or service. This theory is very useful in the economy class. Not only this gives some form of ideas of what good and happiness is, it makes happiness as something measurable.
For example, say you are willing to spend some money to buy an apple. Then that apple is good for you. Not only that, we know how good the apple is for you by observing the amount of money you’re willing to sacrifice for that apple. Things go further.
In the process of maximizing your happiness, you will allocate your money in ways that maximize your happiness. If you spend the same amount of money on an apple and an orange, you will get the same amount of happiness on all marginal areas of allocation where you spend your money.
For example, say you spend $1 to buy an apple and then $1 to buy 2 oranges. Then the happiness that you get from 1 apple must be the same with the happiness that you get from the 2 oranges. Why? Say 1 apple gives you more happiness than 2 oranges, then you wouldn’t spend any money on oranges and will use all your $2 to buy apples instead.
This understanding has a long application in deciding whether our economies run efficiently or not. Each of us maximize a certain factor, called utility function. For humans that means happiness, for firms that means profit. A well efficient socio-economic system will be one where what maximizes each firms’ profit is what maximizes productivity as a whole. That system, is not very far from libertarian free fair market mechanism.
Under this theory, humans are presumed to maximize their happiness. Hence, under this theory, nobody can be made better off by usage of coercion that limit his choice. Of course, the theory is not perfect. I still remember when I was firesold a worthless water filter for a hefty price of $500.
However, such cases where our informed decission is not our best interests are quite rare. On average, we can be assured that we’ll achieve more happiness when we have more choices than when we do not.
This doesn’t explain why people think of becoming a porn star is a bad job or why information suggesting alternative happiness outside marriage should be censored. It seems that people will be better off if they have more choices, including becoming a porn star. If they do not want to be a porn star, or do not like porn, then they can simply choose not to. How can anyone be made happier by prohibitions that restricts human freedom?
Moreover, the more well informed we are, the more we know what we’re getting when we make a decission. So, all information, including porn, should be good for anyone. Why people insist that some information are so dangerous it should be prohibited?
Now it comes another theory of happiness. Namely, evolution theory.
Under this theory, we reach happiness by maximizing the number of copies of our genetic material. Pursuing happiness is our guidance to survive in the gene pool. Under evolution theory, those preferences are hard wired within our genes. Those whose hard wired preferences lead to gene pool survival, such as those that enjoy sex, and good food, are those that are around nowadays.
That’s why males like to mate with as many females as possible. That’s because males that mate with many females live more decendants and hence that’s the kind of males that survive in the gene pool nowadays. That’s why females prefer rich smart males. That’s because females that prefer rich smart males give birth to sons that are rich and smart. Such sons will attract more females and live far more decendants.
An example of a very succesful, and hence, very happy, male is Genghish Khan. One out of 4 people in the earth share the same y mutational chromosome with the one Genghish has. That means 1 out of 4 people are decendants of Genghish Khan. Understanding Genghish Khan’s nature will then be a good way to understand males’ nature. Males are greedy, plucky, mean, cruel, evil, inhuman, selfish, retaliotary, militarisitic, and so on. Just like Mr. Khan.
Evolution theory explains the holes that consumerism doesn’t explain. Consumerism doesn’t explain that women may have different preferences than men. Evolution theory teaches that. Evolution theory goes one step further. It teaches that keys to happiness, in significant part, consist of stuffs that lead to unhappiness of others.
Think of it this way, to gain happiness, males want as many females as possible. When one male gets plenty, the others don’t get any. Hence, all the other males have preferences to prevent others from being succesful as part of their strategy to survive in the gene pool.
That’s why, it doesn’t matter that all you do is consensual and mutually beneficial. Some people will try to stop you because they do not want you to be happy.
Your happiness correlates with your gene pool survival. Gene pool survival of those most fit to survive hurt the gene pool survival of those who are less competitive. This then correlates well with unhappiness of envy bigots.
And that’s also why we have a different of opinion on what constitutes happiness. Some people will be happier if free sex is legal. Those people are those that are highly attractive. Of course, freedom means competition. Others are not competitive. So they do not want to compete, and hence they hate freedom.
And that’s why many people are happier when porn, prostitution, and free sex is illegal. Those people are not happy that someone else is happy. They become happier when others are prevented from pursuing happiness. However, people needs justification to prohibit others’ freedom to pursue happiness.
So what’s their justification? Their justification is that such things are prohibited for the sake of the consenting parties. That’s of course not true. Prohibitions are rarely made to serve the interests of the consenting parties. Prohibitions are usually there to serve the interests of disgruntled competitors and envy bigots.