I have recently started reading a book called ‘Happy‘ by Derren Brown. I figured if I’m ever going to read a book to change my outlook on happiness and how to find it, it should be sooner rather than later.
Plus if theres anybody that can make you see in a different light, its going to be Derren the mindfucker.
I’ve only made it around a third of the way in so far but there was one particular and simple perspective on happiness that I quite liked and took to; Two Selves.
Now this is about our experiencing self and our remembering self, Applied to every decision we make, we sometimes subconsciously decide on which self to favour
If we look back on a memory with happiness despite how boring the memory was at the time, its for our remembering self and if we do something in the moment but later regret the decision, its for our experiencing self.
These two selves are said to be the separation of happiness and pleasure.
The example given in the book is:
“You might choose to spend an afternoon attending to a sick relative rather than go out to a theme park with friends, choosing the least ‘pleasurable’ option and leaving your experiencing self less fulfilled. But this choice might furnish your future remembering self with a better story of how you spent your afternoon and even contribute to a wider sense of happiness regarding what you did with your life”
Although such a simple example, and although many of us already apply, whether it be consciously or subconsciously, to our decisions, it opened my eyes to the fact that even though my choices may not be favourable at the time of making them, it could pay me in happiness in the long run for my remembering self.
I spoke to my Dad about this and him being a very black and white person said he thinks it not telling us anything we don’t already know, true in a way, when we hear this method, its simple and we already make decision like this subconsciously, although this thought may not be at the forefront of our conscious mind when making decisions that could lead to happiness and by reading or hearing about this method of thought could make it more present in everyday life
Kahneman prefers not to say which self we should favour, although I agree with Derren and believe my remembering self is what I should treasure.