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When people say that they are happy with their lives, they do not usually mean that they are literally joyful, or experiencing pleasure, all the time. They mean that, upon reflection on the balance sheet of pleasures and pains, they feel the balance to be reasonably positive over the long term.

DANIEL NETTLE, Happiness: The Science Behind Your Smile

Nothing, not even a Utopia, can necessarily make the pursuit of happiness a successful one that ends in capture. The best society can merely allow every individual to flourish in the pursuit.

DANIEL NETTLE, Happiness: The Science Behind Your Smile

The problem with the concept of happiness is trying to make it do enough without making it do too much. If we define it narrowly as a certain type of feeling or physiological state, then we can, in principle, measure it objectively, but it is too trivial a thing to be the foundation of all public life and private decisions. On the other hand, if we define it broadly as something like 'the elements of a good life', then it is so broad as to beg the question, and certainly too broad to be measured in national statistics. Yet we intuitively feel that there is something called happiness, something unitary but not trivial, concrete enough to strive for yet broad enough to be worth striving for.

DANIEL NETTLE, Happiness: The Science Behind Your Smile


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