Perhaps the real question isn’t happiness, but our unhappiness?

In response to some of your comments and Emails, we’re trying a little different approach this week to our conversation about values. In our opening weeks, to test which topics would draw the most response, we introduced as many as 5 new topics each week.
    Some of you told us that the conversation seemed to jump around a lot — and it did by design. But, now, we’re trying to extend some discussions through a few days to see if this helps spark more comments, more votes on our Quick Poll, more people signing up for the longer online surveys (through the email box at left).
    The “happiness” theme this week seems to be quite timely.
    Today, over on the ReadTheSpirit landing page, there’s an interview with an expert on the music of Bruce Springsteen, talking about Americans’ long love affair with Springsteen’s uplifting — but also very melancholy — ballads.
    Also, one of our regular OurValues.org readers commented yesterday that she can pretty much mark the day in her life when she stopped feeling happy.
    We looked back through recent months, and found another reader comment that touched a similar theme, this one from a man living in a rural community, who wrote to ReadTheSpirit: “Somewhere along the way … I began to think about my legacy. What will people remember about me? … I still wonder about that. Once in my life, I was involved in politics, in government, in social justice. I was sure I would leave a legacy. Today, out of government, on the edge of politics and social justice, I wonder if anyone will remember me.”
    This seems to be a theme that runs through much of our American experience with happiness. It’s in Springsteen’s music and it’s in the voices of the two readers mentioned here.

    So, let’s flip around yesterday’s question, which was an invitation to complete the phrase “Happiness Is …”
    And, please, tell us something about your unhappiness — or perhaps tell us about the unhappiness you see around you. If you do feel unhappy, is it because of conditions in your life right now? Because of something that happened in the past, as one reader indicates? Or something about your view of the future as the other reader puts it?
    If you wish to jump back and catch up on our theme this week — feel free to read Monday’s introduction on Happiness (including news about new survey data) or Tuesday’s invitation on “Happiness Is …”

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