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Graph Your Happiness?

February 11, 2012
wack or wise? you decide.

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About halfway through residency, the above object appeared on the sink of the righthand hallway bathroom.

At first I dismissed it on grounds of New-Age typography. The fortune-cookie-style strip; the Comic-Sans-ish font; the capitalizing of every word in a sentence. Semi-watercolor background. Like every label of every decontextualized crystal, healing oil, or incense stick in Berkeley. Not to mention the spiral of prayer beads, disembodied and ornamental, like a hippy-fied Tiffany’s ad.

But a couple days later, I realized that I kind of agreed with the message. I’ve often thought it would be wise to chart one’s well-being, day by day, in order to study and understand emergent patterns over weeks and months. Visually relate to those ups and downs that seem at the time like all-too-fleeting highs and everlasting throes. Get to know the middle ground, too. Vicissitudes. Know what I mean?

Maybe it’s time for a new chart project. Thanks to whoever left this on the sink!

By the way, anyone got insight into the prayer beads, and how they might relate to “measuring happiness?” My impression was that they’re used for counting prayers, which seems different.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 11, 2012 11:18 am

    I enjoyed this Tricycle article about worry beads. Perhaps there will be some insight there for you. http://www.tricycle.com/-practice/worry-beads?page=0,0

  2. February 11, 2012 11:19 am

    Count your blessings.

  3. Dennis permalink
    February 11, 2012 11:26 am

    <>

    Perhaps the pattern is more significant than the beads… Perhaps it is a hint that measuring Happiness is not a linear proposition. But you already knew that…

  4. February 11, 2012 11:34 am

    Interesting! Thanks, Max. I didn’t know about this philosophy behind the mala practice:

    For a Buddhist, delusion is the only legitimate source of worry. Worrying about money or health is, by comparison, relatively pointless. There will never be enough money in the world (that seems to be the point of money), and our health is guaranteed to fail in the end, no matter what we do. The wordless message of the Buddhist mala is “Don’t worry about things; worry about the fact that you are so worried all the time, and address the root of that.” The mala is a teaching in itself.

    Dennis, that’s a good point on the non-linear approach. Especially now that linear ideas about happiness are gaining traction in Western bourgeois economics, which equate more happiness with higher profits:

    Harvard Business Review cover Jan 2012

  5. Sequana permalink
    February 11, 2012 11:59 am

    Methinks who left it was your dorm-mate. Perhaps the one who snored?

  6. February 11, 2012 12:05 pm

    So wise of snoring dorm-mate! :)

    Do you measure your happiness? How?

    (Also, once again, congrats on your reading of your play. I wonder what your ‘happiness index’ would have read just afterward?)

    <3

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