E = I – R

I heard that formula from Dennis Prager.  It’s the formula for determining happiness, or more specifically, unhappiness.  It stands for; Unhappiness equals the difference between Image and Reality.  To put it the other way around; the greater the correlation between your image (or expectations) of reality and reality itself, the more the happiness.  He’s been studying happiness for some time, and has determined that situation seems to have little to do with a person’s stated happiness, i.e. some people in horrible situations will self describe as fairly happy, while others in what we would think are beautiful situations may self describe as unhappy.

You could substitute image with expectations, or maybe a few other things, but the concept remains the same.  I think he’s on to something.  It’s right along the lines of a saying, which if I’m not mistaken comes from way back in Asia; “Few desires; happy life”.  They’re not identical, but similar.

That brings up the subject of drive (a form of desire, see) which can lead a person to do wonderful things, or horrible things, depending on one’s constitution.  Drive and image are very different.  You may be driven, or inspired, to do something, but if you have a realistic view of reality you have a better chance of accomplishing it and a better ability to deal with it if you don’t accomplish it.  Maybe “few desires; happy life” is an invitation to resignation (get the hope beaten out of you and you’re happy) but it need not be interpreted so.  I prefer U = I – R.

I’ve been on a bit of a departure from Joe’s blog subtitle, but all of this stuff applies very much to politics.  I might bring it around thusly; The angry left is angry (unhappy and blaming others for it) because of a rather serious disconnect from reality.  The next question is; why are the left’s images of reality so far off?  Where do these off-kilter images originate, what put them there and what are the main vectors of propagation?

A slightly simpler formula might be; U = C (unhappiness equals the level of your confusion).  Same thing.  The other would be; H = Ur (your level of happiness equals the degree to which you understand reality).

Hmm; so I guess reason is the path to happiness.  So then I guess we can fight over who has reason and who only thinks they do, and we can kill each other over the question of who is the happiest.

4 thoughts on “E = I – R

  1. My momma told me, “To live is to suffer; to survive is to find meaning in that suffering.”

    She also told me, “You can decide to be unhappy, but nobody else needs to go along with your decision.”

    Smart woman, my momma.

  2. your level of happiness equals the degree to which you understand reality

    I dunno. Looking at the financial situation in the world, and the various laws we live under… I think I understand reality pretty good, and all it does is make me unhappier.

  3. You can want something even while knowing that it can never happen–frustrated personal or career goals come to mind. It may not be rational to keep wanting it, but even while knowing that, there’s this other part of our brains and it can take a while for that bit to fade away. So I think there’s a little more to the equation.

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