A quote from a TED talk given by Dan Gilbert, the Harvard professor and author of Stumbling on Happiness:
Natural happiness is what we get when we get what we wanted. Synthetic happiness is what we make when we don’t get what we wanted.
In our society, we have a strong belief that synthetic happiness is of an inferior kind. Why do we have that belief? Well, it’s very simple. What kind of economic engine would keep churning if we believed that not getting what we want could make us just as happy as getting it.
A shopping mall full of Zen monks is not going to be particularly profitable because they don’t want stuff enough.
But I want to suggest to you that synthetic happiness is every bit as real and enduring as the kind of happiness you get when you stumble upon what you are aiming for…
We have the capacity to manufacture the very thing we are chasing.
So the question becomes, do we really want to spend so much of our precious time chasing after the things and stuff that, in their manufacture and distribution, harm the habitat we depend upon for our health, happiness and security?