The End of Happiness
The End of Happiness is a psychological thriller set in the modern-day city of London. Set in a fictional community, Happiness depicts a subtle battle between class and ethnicity, as well as an impending apocalypse. A disease, the “Happiness Virus,” spreads throughout the world and causes people to drink uncontrollably. Panicked residents of the city shut down all communication channels to protect themselves from the “dangerous” disease.
Kahneman’s research shows that the way we experience something influences our level of happiness. Two classic experiments show this. In one, he and his colleagues showed that people rated their experience of being cold water as painful, but they rated it as pleasurable at the end. In another, Kahneman showed that participants rated a painful experience as “happiness.”
The idea of a truly happy life is not new. Aristotle first introduced the idea that happiness is a virtue, while the pursuit of happiness is a function of virtue. According to him, the highest form of human happiness is intellectual contemplation. While the exercise of reason separates humanity from animals, it is not possible to live a contemplative life without the appropriate social environment. Furthermore, the end of Ethics serves as an excellent segue into his subsequent work on Politics.
The pursuit of happiness has become an industry, with Nixon McInnes happy balls tracking employee happiness. Action for Happiness and TED talks are also tracking happiness at work. Happiness consultancies are also popping up everywhere. But as cynics, we see all these efforts as attempts to entice people to buy happiness pills or buy the latest electronic gadget. What’s the point in all this? It’s all a scam.