August 9, 2007

Seeking Excitement Does Not Create Happiness

This article about excitement made something go "click" in my brain.


Helena said...

I am unsure what you liked about it?
I think the idea of limiting excitement is not new for buddhists. The ideal is to approach every situation with equanimity, isn't it?

I did not like the article because it artificially divided excitements between those that the author deems "good" (reading a book, watching "good" television) and bad excitement (there are the video games again).

It is true that we live in a culture where highs and lows are everywhere. Even 100 years ago listening to a beautiful piece of music was something really special. Now we buy a Mozart CD for 5 dollars and can listen to it every day. That's something to be aware of. But listening to Mozart is (or should be?) just as exciting as playing video games. Playing a sport or a musical instrument can be tremendously exciting, as is reading a book of course. Saying one form of excitement should be encouraged while the other should be discouraged does not make much sense to me.

Besides, anyone who plays video games knows that it is not all excitement. There is frustration, persistance, and finally a sense of accomplishment when you finish a level. It does not differ that much from finishing a project at work to me.

Saying MTV is worse than smoking is just plain incomprehensable and a slap in the face to lung cancer victims.

Tammy said...

Thank you for your comment Helena.

I have to be honest and say you caught me. I didn't read the article in detail. I was just struck with the whole concept of "excitement" vs. "happiness" and how seeking excitement seems like it leads to happiness, but it doesn't.

I don't remember reading specifically about the idea of excitement in Buddhist texts. But it could be that I wasn't ready to understand it yet.