Why getting what you want won't make you happy

Desire, happiness and the next best thing

Much of our lives are spent chasing what we desire. We think that satisfying our desires, achieving our dreams, making money, finding a partner will make us happy. But all too often, once we attain what we think we want, we become bored of it, no longer want it or our desire for it is replaced with a crushing fear of losing it. If thus happiness is impossible, wisdom is the next best thing, writes David Hoinski.


If human happiness is possible, it must be consistent with desire because there is no human experience without desire. Yet desire might appear inconsistent with happiness, especially if we think of desire as a feeling of lack and of this feeling of lack as painful. Desire has often though not always been understood thus in the history of western philosophy. This conception of desire as painful coupled with the realization that it is also incessant led the 19th-century German philosopher Schopenhauer to the pessimistic conclusion that humanl

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