After Christmas Break, we began our newest project, the Truth of Happiness. Our first assignment was reading the novel, "Brave New World," written by Aldous Huxley. We both annotated and wrote about the book to increase our understanding. Continuing this, we performed a seminar, asking the question, what are our new insights on the truth of happiness? After this we began on our independent research project, where we were given the ability to choose what we wanted to learn and research. While creating our annotated bibliography for the research project, we conducted individual experiments to increase our happiness. Using all the information we learned in these many mini projects, for example, (what happiness and meaning mean to us personally, the differences between happiness and meaning, and how we can increase both of these feelings), we got into groups and began working on the creations of our videos on the truth of happiness. The people in our groups were people with similar ideas on what the truth of happiness is. My group and I believed that compassion was a powerful way to increase your happiness. After this we were given free reign to work at our own pace. For two weeks we both filmed and edited videos we believed to be worthy of showing to the public. This allowed us to take control of our lives and show Sarah we were responsible. Now, after all of that Sarah assigned us to write this DP update, to reflect on our own personal journey.
Annotated Bibliography Class Research
Belic, Roko. “Happy (2011).” IMDb, IMDb.com, 3 July 2013, www.imdb.com/title/tt1613092/. The main argument of the documentary: Happy, is that happiness is free to all as it is caused by helping others, striving to improve your self, sports, and compassion. In the documentary, the narrator explained many key ideas that related to certain places on the globe. To begin, the movie showed a man that was completely content with his life though he lived in a poor neighborhood in Africa. The narrator stated that the man was happier than the average American. Then It explained that genetics control 50% of a person happiness, 10% are social status, money, etc, and 40% is in our control to change everyday. After this, It was explained that our brain is similar to a muscle because it needs to be worked out. Doing things that makes us happy can work our brain. For example, being “In the zone” while doing sports or similar activities can create happiness. Later on in the movie, It was shown that a truly happy person can recover from tragedies and problems in their life. Close companions and close family members are also prevalent in happy people's lives. In Denmark, there are communal homes where all sorts of people get together and become one large family. This is one reason Denmark is the happiest country in the world. As humans, we have two main types of goals: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic goals are goals that need to be satisfied and are chosen by us. Buying new shoes are an example of this. Intrinsic goals are goals that every human has and are satisfied just by living. For example, learning to play an instrument. And lastly, being authentically you can also increase happiness. Personally, I think this is a very strong source. This is because it has many known scientists and experts in the field working on it. All of it’s evidence is cited from strong sources and first hand witnesses. This source helps me answer the essential question by giving me clear ways to achieve happiness for me and others.
2. “There’s More to Life Than Being Happy” Smith, Emily Esfahani. “There's More to Life Than Being Happy.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 9 Jan. 2013, www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/01/theres-more-to-life-than-being-happy/266805/. The main argument of the article, “There’s more to Life Than Being Happy”, is that meaning is more important and necessary than happiness. It first began by telling the heroic story of Viktor Frankl, a jewish psychiatrist and neurologist. Through the concentration camps, he learned that there was one thing that separated people between life and death; Meaning. He saw that people with a meaning in life were far more resilient to suffering than those who did not. The text stated, “He knows the why for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any how.” After this the article explained that the books ideas on suffering and meaning do not fit with today’s society. As our society is more interested in making ourselves happy, not others. This is prevalent because 4 in 10 Americans does not think they have a meaning. But nearly 60 percent are happy. It then makes the bold claim of, “The single-minded pursuit of happiness is ironically leaving people less happy.” This is because happiness can lead to a selfish and self-absorbed life. Which causes the person to become less happy. Since from a social perspective, happier people are “takers” not “givers.” Givers, or people who have usually found meaning in their life, are “serving something they believe is larger than themselves.” That best way to live your life is to find happiness in meaning. To conclude, We should give to the world in our own personal way. You must “ acknowledge that there is more to the good life than the pursuit of simple happiness. Again personally, I feel this is a good source filled with information. But one problem I had with it was that it was a little biased. For example, it was very “blacken-white” as it said everything as a fact. This source helps me answer the overall question by showing me a more biased view. This shows me that sources can try to prove an idea.
3. The New Era of Positive Psychology Seligman, Martin. “The New Era of Positive Psychology.” TED: Ideas Worth Spreading, TED Talks, Feb. 2004, www.ted.com/talks/martin_seligman_on_the_state_of_psychology. The main argument of the TED talk: The New Era of Positive Psychology, is that the best life to live is the meaning life. For It results in a much more full life, rather than an empty life. In the beginning of the TED talk, Martin Seligman explained that psychology was angled towards on trying to fix the “looney.” He also explained that he felt psychology as a whole was lacking, since it didn’t address your average person. The author stated that psychology should be used to “make miserable people less miserable” and the so-called loonies. This can be achieved by building on the best thing in their lives. To create happier people in society, Martin Seligman states greater levels of social interaction would work wonders. This is because extremely social people are usually the happiest. One of the greater points in the TED talk is that there are three lives that can be achieved to create happiness, the pleasant life, the good life, and the meaningful life. Each life is unique in its own way. The pleasant life is the most selfish life, for it is the single minded goal of having the most pleasures. The good life is somewhat of a combination of the two. And the meaningful life is unsurprisingly the most meaningful. The meaningful life is also the most full and happy life. Again I find this source both strong and helpful. Since Mr. Seligman is a known psychiatrist, I can find his information true. But as with almost all sources, it could be biased from the beginning. However, I personally believe this source to be practically free of biases. This source helped me understand the question by giving me insight into a psychiatrist’s view into happiness and meaning. Also since he believes that there are 3 lives, each relating to either meaning or searching for happiness.
4. Why Are Our Kids So Miserable Anderson, Jenny. “Why Are Our Kids so Miserable?” Quartz, Quartz, 21 Mar. 2016, qz.com/642351/is-the-way-we-parent-causing-a-mental-health-crisis-in-our-kids/?utm_source=atlfb. The main argument of the article: Why Are Our Kids So Miserable, is that children from a young age are not allowed to truly learn about the world in a hands on way. This inhibits them from learning crucial skills such as coping with failure and setting boundaries for themselves. The article begins by using a powerful quote which reads, “Something in modern life is undermining mental health.” After this it says that the majority of teens today are significantly more depressed than in the 1980s. Researchers, to find out what's going on, gave several realistic explanations. 1. “Kids aren’t learning critical life-coping skills because they never get to play anymore.” 2. There is increased stress from school 3. Parents and society have much higher standards. Continuing, Peter Gray explains, “ My hypothesis is that the generational increases in externality, extrinsic goals, anxiety, and depression are all caused largely by the decline, over that same period, in opportunities for free play and the increased time and weight given to schooling.” Later, the article states that humans should not mess with this natural process, or consequences will occur. One example of this is that students can do school related activities, but had problems with social behaviors and coping with emotional conflicts. Parents are also to blame, as many can either control every part of their child's life to giving complete free rain to do anything. Gray explained that things could be fixed from this downward spiral, ‘“ Parents and educators need to understand that free play is not optional,” he says. “It’s essential to their healthy development.”’
I found this source also quite helpful and trustworthy. Again this source has known psychologists and behavior analysts explaining this information and then backing their claims up with evidence.
This source helped me to understand that we are set back in terms of finding happiness from the beginning of our lives. Also that our superiors, such as parents and educators, change much of our lives.
Research Question : How can trimming down our "stuff" affect our meaning and happiness
Getting Rid of All Your Stuff Feels like Taking A big Dreamy Dump
“Getting Rid of All Your Stuff Feels Like Taking a Big, Dreamy Dump.” Deep Dish, Deep Dish, 27 Jan. 2018, thedeepdish.org/getting-rid-of-all-your-stuff-minimalism-101/.
The main argument of the article, “Getting Rid of All Your Stuff Feels like Taking A big Dreamy Dump”, is that getting rid of any items you don't use on a daily basis will allow you to relax and in turn become more happy. To begin, the author explains that she grew up in a very cluttered and overly packed house. Once she moved out of her parents house, Her own apartment became cluttered too. After getting fed up, she purge almost all of her possessions. The text explains, “Instead of having to lug all that stuff around until the end of time, it’s all tucked away safely in a string of ones and zeroes.” Continuing the article explained several reasons in which to go minimalist. 1. Stopping the Ongoing Costs of Purchasing Things 2. Increasing the Space Around You 3. Sustaining the Earth's Resources. To finish, she explains what the Hedonic Treadmill is. She feels she has stepped off of it.
I found this source to be a trustworthy source as it was just your “average joe” explaining that she felt better. Not a big company trying to influence or control the reader. It also has less biases because the author went from a hoarder to a minimalist.
This source helped me understand that stepping off the so called “Hedonic Treadmill” can increase our happiness contrary to what society tells us. Because society tells us that the “Hedonic Treadmill” will increase our happiness, it was interesting to see that the reverse is true.
2. Minimalism & Happiness Through Scientific Eyes
Hughes, Lee. “Minimalism & Happiness Through Scientific Eyes.” The Minimalists, The Minimalists, 6 Sept. 2015, www.theminimalists.com/scientific/.
The main argument of the article, Minimalism & Happiness Through Scientific Eyes, is that materialism sets you into a vicious cycle of buying to be constantly “happy.” The article begins by explaining a study done in the 1970s by P. Brickman. He concluded that happiness can not be achieved through major financial gains. The text shows, “He found that those who had won millions on the lottery were no happier than his control group who meet their basic needs.” Continuing, the article explains the roots of materialism and what it can do to a person. “According to a study from Chaplin & John (2007) there is a strong link between low self-esteem and materialism (usually derived early in childhood) and that low self-esteem causes materialistic tendencies,” the article stated. After explaining what materialism is, the article explained what minimalism is. It is a “reassessment of your priorities so that you can strip away the excess stuff—the possessions and ideas and relationships and activities—that don’t bring value to your life. “ Since a consumer has stopped purchasing, they would be greeted with an income that is not being wasted. The consumer should use this extra money to invest in experiences, which according to a survey increase happiness. The survey asked, “how happy their purchase had been (one group had brought a product, the other an experience). The results clearly showed that the group who had described and rated the purchase of an experience had higher levels of positive moods.” After this, Hughes Lee explains that as social creatures, he would assume we find more happiness in experiences with people, rather than a product, (which is not social). To conclude, the author explains that Minimalism as a whole can not be sure to increase happiness, but it can be used to create experiences to generate sure happiness.
I found this source to be a reliable source packed full with information. This information is backed up with plenty of evidence from trusted sources. But it is probably biased because it comes from a website called “The Minimalist.”
This source helped me understand what minimalism and materialism are, and use those concepts to see how they could fit into our emotional well being.
3. Want happiness? Practice Minimalism
Hoque, Faisal. “Want Happiness? Practice Minimalism.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 5 Feb. 2015, www.huffingtonpost.com/faisal-hoque/want-happiness-practice-minimalism_b_6603202.html.
The main argument of the source, “Want happiness? Practice Minimalism,” is that minimalism leads a direct path to spirituality, which in turn can result in a happier, stress free life. To begin, the article uses a quote from Tokugawa Ieyasu (January 31, 1543 - June 1, 1616), which reads, “Life is like unto a long journey with a heavy burden. Let thy step be slow and steady, that thou stumble not. Persuade thyself that imperfection and inconvenience are the natural lot of mortals, and there will be no room for discontent, neither for despair. When ambitious desires arise in thy heart, recall the days of extremity thou has passed through. Forbearance is the root of quietness and assurance forever. If thou knowest only what it is to conquer, and knowest not what it is like to be defeated, woe unto thee; it will fare ill with thee. Find fault with thyself rather than with others.” The author of the article explains that he completely agrees with this quote. Continuing, He explains balance must be achieved in your life, you can’t be completely disconnected from society's values, but you must distance yourself. The definitions of minimalism and spirituality are then given to show how both are related and linked, but how they are both different too. For example, “Minimalism seeks to clear up time and space so that you may lead life in an organized, joyful manner. It helps us to determine what is meaningful to each one of us, just as spirituality leads us to find meaning and purpose. It is a path to finding inner contentment, just as spirituality leads the seeker inward.” After this he explains his four main concepts he uses in his life. They are Just be, Less stuff=More time, Know thyself, and Positive vibrations. He believes that minimalism reduces negativity and stress. Because of this he also has five ways to minimize negativity in your life. These five ways are, “ Keep conversations short and sweet when in contact with negative people, Limit myself when watching news and other negative programming, Listen to uplifting music and read inspirational material, And Continue to search for people with a positive, uplifting attitude.” I found this source to be a somewhat reliable source. This is because he doesn't quote any know professionals: just his own know how. But as your average joe, he seems very knowledgeable about the subject. Lastly, This source helped me answer the main question by showing another way to achieve happiness and seeing the view of an “average joe.” This also shows another way to achieve both happiness and meaning. Because the meaning comes from giving needed items to others, and opening yourself spirituality. Happiness Experiment Hypothesis: I think I can increase my happiness by cleaning up my room a little everyday because cleanliness will bring calm and serenity to my life, increasing my happiness levels. Procedure: At the start of the week I will take the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire and record my happiness level. Each day before I spend time cleaning an area of my room, I will rate my happiness on a scale from 1-10 ( 1 being very unhappy and 10 being extremely happy). Spend time cleaning up my room Right after I spend time cleaning up a part of my room, I will rate my happiness again. At the end of the week I will take the questionnaire again to see if my happiness level increased Monday: 2/19/18 5.2 5.6 After finding a couple of clothing items I didn’t use anymore and packing them up for my friend, I felt more organized and cleaner.
Tuesday: 2/20/18 5.54 5.58 I feel the same amount of happiness as yesterday in the morning.
Wednesday: 2/21/18 5.35 5.56 I wasn’t really excited for sex-ed so my score dropped a bit in the morning.
Thursday: 2/22/18 4.2 2.36 I am feeling sad because my pet died. I have had him for 5 years so It doesn't feel very good.
Friday: 2/23/18 4.1 4.7 I am feeling better than I did yesterday, so It’s a little nicer.
Saturday: 2/24/18 5.4 5.6 After giving away a couple jackets, I feel “cleaner.”
Sunday: 2/25/18 5.4 5.5 I have notice giving away an item increases your happiness for a moment. Also since I am already very happy person, It’s hard to improve it that much.
(Before): 5.2, which is a means very happy. According to the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire, “Between five and six: Very happy. Being happy has benefits beyond simply feeling good. It’s correlated with advantages in health, with better marriages, and with attaining your goals. A base of happiness allows you to broaden and build toward greater success.” (After) 5.5, which also means I am very happy. But even happier than above. Conclusion: The data supports my hypothesis as shown above, I started a 5.2 and ended a 5.5, which is an increase in happiness. Through the experiment, giving away stuff I don’t use definitely made me feel “cleaner.” Which in turn resulted in being happier. One flaw was that my pet died during the experiment, dropping my happiness.
Reflection: In my personal opinion, the truth of happiness is that happiness can not exist without pain and suffering. To prove this, I show Brave New World, in which their whole society is based of the absence of pain. The population, except for the outcasts of society, all live through life believing a false lie, and in turn are never truly happy. Through this whole project, everything has pointed to a truly happy and meaningful life, requiring the need of suffering to contrast it. The greatest challenge in this project was figuring out the truth of happiness, since it is both a very important and complex question. Also, since there could be almost infinite answers to the question, each based on a single persons views. For example, in the beginning of the project, when Sarah first told the question to the class, I was both unsure of myself to answer such a question and bewildered on what she meant. To fix this, I asked questions to get a better understanding of it, so I could rap my head around it. Throughout the entirety of this project I grew as a group worker because I both worked with others I have never worked with and had to take charge of said group, and lead us to success. As an example, I had never worked with Alexis or Sebastian, and this wasn't any small project, this was a two week finale for our Truth of Happiness Project. But I took charge and I feel we created a powerful project that shows the world our opinion on the Truth of Happiness. After thinking back through the entire project, Brave New World through experiments to videos, I would refine bits and pieces of the process. One refinement on my part, would have been to work outside of school on reading and video creation to create less stress on my part. When creating the video, I barley worked on it outside of school, which created stress and lots of work near the end of it. Same thing with Brave New World, I read only in school, but I did get it all done.
Socialization and Mask Project
This was a project centered around how we have been socialized and what masks we wear in our lives. We all fit into seven identity catergories: Race, Class, Gender, Ability/Disability, Religon, Sexual Orientation, and age. Throughout our lives, we have all been put into these catergories like it or not. Each one of these can dramatically affect your lives, because we are either agents or targets. Agents are the majority favored by society, and targets are the minority shunned by society. There are another type of agents in society, these ones are the people and things that socialize us. For example, school, parents, and friends.
My Mask: Pictured below My Essay, Through My Life: Pictured below
Through My Life
The cycle of socialization is a system that teaches how to be “human”, good or bad.To understand socialization, we must know socialization is a cycle that depends on the people it controls to be afraid and unaware of it to survive. The reading, The Cycle of Socialization, written by Bobbie Harro, explains, “ We get systematic training in “how to be” each of our social identities throughout our lives. The cycle of socialization that follows is one way of representing how the socialization process happens, from what sources it comes, how it affects our lives.” In the cycle, there’re agents, (the majority which are favored by society) and targets (the minority who are looked down upon) that either work together or against each other. An Example of an agent is a white, upper class, adult man who identifies with the main religion of the area. Through socialization, we are put into seven identities, gender, race, ability/disability, age, social class, and religion. In all three categories, I am classified as an agent because I am the majority favored by society. The most effective way to help fix the negative connotations of socialization is to bring realization to the sheer existence of the cycle. The cycle of socialization has affected me in three main identity categories, race, gender, and class; As a white person, society wants me to be white washed and xenophobic, as a male, I am influenced to be emotionless and dominating, and finally, being upper middle class, I am supposed to be frivolous and ungrateful of my wealth. Growing up in my life as a white teen, I have been bombarded with messages both good and bad, such as being superior, to being equal to other races. Being born white in turn has given me privileges and tools to secure a happy future. Peggy Mcintosh, Author of “White Privilege- Unpacking the Invisible Backpack” states, “As a white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something which puts others at a disadvantage, but had taught not to see one of it’s corollary aspects...which puts me at an advantage.” Similarly to male privilege, white privilege is not seen from the white person, they only see how it affects others around them. This “white washing” is prevalent to me now, as before the reading I knew slightly of my advantages, but after it is very obvious. White privilege has been unveiled to me as a invisible backpack that assists me. Society has shown my race has powerful and dominating. In the media, I rarely see representatives of other races portraying their respective races. But in my family, I am taught all races are equal and should be treated with respective. But learning it is there has taught me to help underprivileged targets in society and use my privileges for good. After being born a man, I have been given certain privileges and messages from the agents of the cycle of socialization. These messages, both good and bad, have shaped me into the person I am today. Tony Porter, in his TED talk: A Call to Men, explained, “... we were taught that men had to be tough, had to be strong…, no pain, no emotions…, that men are in charge, which means women are not.” Through the video, I believe this “Man Box” is a box metaphorically, as it traps men into these uncaring stereotypes. The no emotion part of the box prevents you from fighting the box, meaning you can’t get help. This trapping of emotion is self-destructive and potentially explosive. I find most forms of socialization towards gender are negative as they portrayed the negatives of each gender… For example, people have criticized my long hair and ask/prod me why I don’t like team sports. I see society showing me to treat women as objects and enjoy liquor. But, in my home, I’m given a positive place to express myself. Though men are agents in society, the “Man Box” and messages from the media create a hostile environment to express yourself as a man. Because of my parents efforts, I have grown up in a middle class environment filled with prosperity. I have learned to be thankful and gracious. In the video, “Wealth Inequality in America”, the Narrator explained that the results of the answers of a sample group, “92% said it should be more like this, in other words more equitable than they think it is now.” Both my mom and dad have shown and taught me about this unfair wealth distribution, causing me want to heMy family has taught me to buy things only if you need them. But the media, tells me to buy, buy, buy things I don’t need. But through my parents efforts, I have grown up being thankful and have learned to give away things. Living in the negative shadow of socialization has resulted in me being fed up with the system, I realized to combat the bad cycles, we need to remove our connections to the “bad stuff.” This cycle puts individuals into boxes where they can not be accepted if they are themselves. As mentioned above, society, especially the media, portrays only the negatives of both agents and targets. Women are portrayed as slutty objects for men, men are egotistical slobs obsessed with sports and beer. White people are pictured as racially blind idiots while African Americans are dumb, poor criminals who live in ghettos. For example, The media, the main spreader of these stereotypes, needs to be removed and shut off from you as an individual. The Cycle of Socialization Essay, concludes, “this chapter suggest ways for interrupting the cycle of socialization are taking charge of our own lives.” By removing the harmful cycles of socialization at first from yourself, you can inspire others to do the same.But to truly combat and break these negative cycles, we as individuals need to bring realization to the cycle of socialization.
Throughout the project, I grew in many ways as a writer. For one, I learned how to write in a clear, more understandable way for my readers. I used better evidence when defending my claims. For example, “As a white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something which puts others at a disadvantage, but had taught not to see one of it’s corollary aspects...which puts me at an advantage.” In the end of the process, I am a more confident writer. After completing the socialization project, I have several large takeaways from this project. I now better understand how I have been socialized. I can see my privileges and how they affect others. Before the project, I knew I had several privileges because of my parents. Such as my class, gender, and race. But after the project, I can see how I’m either a agent or a target. For example, I’m a target in religion and a agent in my gender. I learned how to put together a exhibition, since I have never done it before. It was a great introduction to the whole process since I was helped by my partners and project managers to pull it off. Because Sarah gave us our groups, I learned how to work with people I usually don’t work together. This helped me because I have social anxiety and don’t like working with people I don’t know. I feel I have grown as a project worker as I have been forced to work with others. As stated above, I don’t usually work with people I don’t know well. So it is a leap for me to successfully work with others. For example, this year I haven’t work with Colby and Amelia much, so working to pull off a exhibition together was a great experience. Specifically, Chris and Jade helped me with my room after Colby and Amelia left. They tried to help run my game, and clean my room off. While setting up the exhibition, I led my group and kept us under control. Since our room was a quick setup, Colby and I had to build a complex room with limited time. Also, Amelia wasn’t there until later to help us. After a while, everything sorta fell apart because Colby and Amelia left me so I had to run it by myself. It didn’t work at all, so I, with the help of Jade and Chris, closed off the game area and let the parents into the information area. Soon after, the exhibition was over, and I stayed to clean it up. Luckly it didn’t take long to do it. If I were to do it again, I would want a game I can run alone in case of emergencies.