The happiness imperative : a possible solution to the present day social disconnect.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Today, almost every one of us leads objectively better lives than our parents did. However, along with the dramatic improvements, conveniences, and the freedom that we enjoy, there have been some unintended negative consequences that threaten our quality of life. Marked by a widespread culture of personal pursuits of happiness today, the pursuits of (1) personal strivings, (2) materialistic aspirations, and (3) the satisfaction of short-term affiliative needs are inherently antisocial in nature; and perpetuates our sense of loneliness. Based on recent research findings that identified happiness or positive emotions as a resource that predicts certain life outcomes, rather than following them, I explored the ways in which happiness fits in with the issue of our modern day social disconnect. I identified happiness as the mechanism that (1) maintains our psychological resilience, changes our perception (2) of time and (3) of our social others, and (4) activates our psychological reward systems to translate our intentions for sociality into consequential actions. This theoretical thesis is an attempt to identify the ways in which happiness may reduce today’s norm of social loneliness, and reconnect us with our need for belongingness.