To contrast this exercise, I lugged out my compact Oxford English Dictionary. Don’t let the word “compact” fool you. The book weighs 15 pounds. No joke. The students call it “Big Papi,” which I’m sure I’ll need to look up in the Urban Dictionary before I continue to use that handle. Anyway, looking the word up took roughly seven minutes and five seconds because I had to use the magnifying eyepiece to first find the word and then to read the text.
So the primary Google definition of the word sits roughly 4th on the list of usage according to the OED, and there are more than twice as many definitions, which, we noted, deal mostly with chance, cocaine, and booze. This did very little to soften our cynicism of the concept. SATISFACTION, however, we discovered, was the key word for us to adequately define “happiness,” which the Google definition neglects entirely. Why satisfaction? Satisfaction is deeper than pleasure and connotes that the recipient of said happiness actually needed to work a bit… pursue that happiness. Happiness is not “instant,” despite what the Internet teaches and tells us. I don’t know about you, but I want my kids to connote happiness with satisfaction, not pleasure; to have the discipline to engage in activities in which there is a delay in gratification. The distinction could come down to the difference between becoming another opioid statistic, versus, say, reading a damned book.... or learning how to love and let love in. One is a gateway to instant pleasure, the others are challenging paths toward satisfaction and meaningful self-discovery.
May your days be filled with satisfaction, friends.