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The hedonic treadmill and our “default setting” taking over Although some people believe it is good to be on the hedonic treadmill and live in our “default setting”, we cannot truly be happy if we continue on these paths. Because of this we should remove ourselves from it. Happiness should not be created by material items, nor should we be in this “default setting”. In order for people to be happier we need to be the “action” in our lives to change things. Happiness is not something that should be created off of material items, and, therefore, we should remove ourselves from the hedonic treadmill that has been placed in front of us to create the sense of happiness. The concept of the hedonic treadmill is “he supposed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness[->0] despite major positive or negative events or life changes” (Wikipedia). True happiness cannot be obtained through material items, nor can it be a feeling a person has. In our society today, we are letting material items shape our world and we are missing what true happiness is. Pianalto states that happiness is not something that is achieved through material items and “if you are pursuing the wrong kinds of things, it doesn’t matter that attaining them make you feel happy” (Pianalto). This is the whole concept of the hedonic treadmill we have been on. We are not looking anymore for any true happiness. We are just looking for the next material item that will make us “feel” happy. In order to achieve the sense of happiness that we long for, we have to remove ourselves to realize what our sense of happiness and see what true happiness really is.
Our “default setting has also shaped our lives. To remove ourselves from our “default setting”, in my opinion, we have to have a bad event happen to us. In The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Jean-Dominique Bauby’s life changed after he had a stroke. Mr. Bauby’s “default setting” was exactly what David Foster Wallace was saying. The “default setting” is to have a negative outlook on things and be unhappy. In the end his stroke made him see that his “default setting” was not the way to live anymore. Camus was a person that achieved a sense of happiness through error. “The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart” (Camus). Camus also had an experience that made him see that this “default setting” that he had been placed in was not the way to live and, therefore, he was the “action” that was the change in his life. Even though we cannot always have error in our lives to make us see something, we have to have an event that has a big enough impact on our lives in order to see that our state of being is not the correct way to live.
In order for us to change our lives we have to be the “action” that changes the situation. Sure we are going to fight to keep to be on this hedonic treadmill filled with all these material items that are suppose to make us happy, but we cannot continue on it. We cannot also continue in our “default setting” either. These are both key idea that are shaping our society and the way we live. We cannot truly get a sense of happiness from it if we are stuck in these two paths, therefore, the action that we need to take needs to come from within ourselves. This action needs to be filled with our own beliefs and not centered around the thought of the hedonic treadmill or our “default setting”. “None of this stuff is really about morality and religion or dogma...It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness…” (Wallace). We need to be aware of this hedonic treadmill and our “default setting” and need to make the adjustments in our lives in order to have a better concept of happiness. Changing ourselves is not the easiest to do. If we make little changes in our everyday lives and like saying “I’m glad to be living today” or “ I’m not going to be on the hunt for the next big thing” we can come closer to reaching a better happiness that is not created by things we have been shadowed by. We are hidden by the “bad things” and material items around us but yet we have a lot of better things that we have around us that we need to focus on.

[->0] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happiness…...

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