Looniversity Now Offers Degree in ‘Happiness Studies’

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A university in New Jersey–lived here all my life, and never heard of it–is now offering a degree program in “Happiness Studies” (https://www.foxnews.com/us/university-announces-masters-degree-happiness-studies). If you’ve got $17,500 to piss against the wall, you can get one! (A degree, that is; not a wall.)

Centenary University, in Hackettstown, has set up a “Happiness Studies” course directed by a “happiness expert.” The last one they hired committed suicide, or so I’ve heard.

This is brilliant. Because “Happiness Studies” is about nothing, and has no reason for existing, you can fit it in anywhere! I mean, what could it hurt, if your plumber had a degree in… happiness?

NOTE: Unfortunately, having a degree in “happiness” and actually being happy are two different things. I wonder how long it’ll take the students to find that out.

6 comments on “Looniversity Now Offers Degree in ‘Happiness Studies’

  1. Everything is a “study” these days in our Wonderful World of Waste, aka universities. Remember the comment I posted a day or two ago, about my old department’s re-revamping of the English major? Well, I just got a look at the agenda for the next dept meeting, and guess what new “study” they’re introducing? Sustainability Studies! Yay! A whole new line to hire more faculty and staff into, and a new set of courses to finish swamping and wiping out all literature courses. Don’t even ask what sustainability studies are, or how they’re different from the ecofeminist, econarrative, and environmental literacies courses already being offered. Oh, how glad I am that I retired when I did.

  2. It sounds like the people that dreamed up this course derive much of their happiness from congratulating themselves. What a bunch of nonsense! I would consider myself a happy person, but getting to the point came at a cost, which is to say that I needed to build life experience, before I could even recognize happiness.

    There was a time when buying a new car seemed like a happy thing, but with experience in life, I came to realize that possessions have to be weighed against ongoing costs. Sure, I could run up to town and drive home in a new Corvette, but I’d be a slave of car payments, insurance costs and license costs, none of which would add to my happiness.

    Some people think that happiness is to be found in finding an unusually attractive mate, but that too can have hidden costs. A good friend was married to a very attractive woman, and I thought that maybe I was missing out on something. Years later, he told me that she was unfaithful, demanding and unpleasant to deal with. What had appeared desirable turns out to have been very undesirable. I didn’t know that when I was 20 years old, but it makes a lot of sense.

    There was a time when I thought that excelling at various creative endeavors was the key to happiness, and while one can rightly extract satisfaction from creativity, there’s no guarantee that creativity will be recognized or appreciated by others. One of the most brilliant musicians I ever knew of lived a life of frustration and poverty, because even though he was nationally known, he could barely support himself. He died of a heart attack at a relatively early age.

    None of these life lessons can be taught with nearly the degree of effectiveness that they could be lived. In my own case, I learned over time that a flashy car, a flashy wife or being able to play flashy licks on a guitar may have seemed like keys to happiness, but were fairly hollow. To me, happiness if being at peace with my Maker, being able to support myself, and knowing, at the end of the day, I made some positive contribution.

    And one more thing, which may be the most immediate way to feel better, is learning how to treat others well. Entertainment would have us believe that heroes put others in their place and somehow come away better for this, but in most of life’s transactions, I have found that if I can leave others feeling good, I am more effective. Even if someone is wrong, it’s a lot more effective to correct by example, instead of confronting someone and trying to force a change upon them.

    Simply leading by example seems to be much better. Occasionally, as part of my work, I find myself in the position of having to explain to someone that they are mistaken and that is why they are unable to do the things they need to do. Frequently, a person in that situation will sheepishly admit that they were in error, and I always try to reassure them that it was an easy error to make and completely understandable. I come away from the transaction happy and so does the other party. The next time I deal with that person, they will almost invariably be pleasant and cooperative, in great part because they know that they do not have to be on guard when dealing with me, and they know that I’m not going to sell them out to their boss or try to make them look bad.

    As Cynical as I might have been in my younger years, I derive a lot of happiness from simply treating others with kindness, respect and trying to leave them feeling good about themselves.

    1. One thing that many people don’t understand is that “happiness” is not a free-standing product in itself: it is a by-product of other things. You’d be surprised (well, okay, maybe you wouldn’t) at how hard this is to explain to people who want “happiness” without doing anything to make themselves and others happy. I knew a Ph. D. who NEVER understood this. He would’ve had a lot better life if he had.

    2. The first step to happiness is in removing ourselves from being the center of the Universe. When life ceases to be all about you, immediately new sources of happiness appear, because we can begin to see life from the perspective of others. We literally can share in the happiness of others, once we realize that what we experience is not the be all and end all of existence. If my efforts make life better for others, that is a source of happiness, in and of itself.

      It’s common to feel somewhat at a loss as to what to do next, but as soon as you realize that everyone experiences this, you realize that no one has a perfect handle on life. From that point on, it becomes a lot easier to take responsibility for one’s own decisions. If a person recognizes their own limitations and is willing to correct bad decisions, this becomes a powerful tool in decision making, responsibility and in respecting the decisions of others.

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