Before any comment, I suppose you need to try and get underneath this – e.g. how scientific was it?
1) Did the answers come forth as those being questioned imagined ‘someone’ might do something about it (in the way that ‘someone’ ELSE always has to do something about something, never YOU).
2) Were the respondants reminded that a state of happiness is not inextricably bound-up with “what you have” – and if not, then the answers were never a true measure of happiness from the outset?
So, onward – to my fourteen years of teaching teenagers. On the face of it, they should be the happiest bunch of souls you could meet; most have the absolute latest gadgetry in their pockets, wide-screen TV’s in their rooms, get driven to wherever they need to go, don’t appear to be hungry, or soaking wet, or exhausted from work, or be worrying too much about money.
What a lot do seem to be assailed by (without their knowing it, possibly) is an unrealistic set of life expectations – that should appear from no-where, just for them to scoop up and ‘have‘ somehow: of social acceptance (it was ever thus) – now warped by Electrical connectivity into branded, blanded, god-knows-what.
But hang on, hang on – this is all so wide, and I’m in danger of hi-jacking a topic to massage my own prejudices – stay off the wine, stay on the coffee Steve.
For what it’s worth – here’s what I think:
I think those who said they were unhappy, did so because they saw others (not them) behaving so obviously “up” and took that to be ‘happy’ – therefore – they themselves couldn’t be described as ‘happy’.
The sight of someone being ‘Up’, ‘flashy-eyed’, ‘fast talking’, ‘swishy-haired’, ‘unbelievably INTERESTED’, dramatically HAPPY etc is channelled into us from every TV screen, every mobile device, every billboard, newspaper, mag, supermarket advert – EVERYWHERE, EVERY FEW SECONDS.
It seems that to just be ‘normal’ – ie: fairly calm, reasonably happy most days – is just SO YESTERDAY.
I firmly believe – that was all we discovered.