Following on - in a strange sort of way - from the previous post, I heard this morning that there are committees set up in the current British administration whose sole job it is to measure and assess levels of 'happiness' amongst the population.
Various criteria are employed aside from the scientifically measurable ones like financial well-being, and these include variables such as 'days of sunshine', etc. which do not - as yet - fall into a taxable bracket.
I imagine that any fool can accurately assess whether or not someone is unhappy, not least because that person will usually tell you about it by volunteering the information without prompting - in fact it's usually impossible to stop them in my experience.
So I sat there drinking my coffee at about 7.45 am, trying to pin down what - in my life - makes me happy. You should try it some time, it's not as easy as it sounds.
I came to a conclusion (albeit an rather vague one) that tangible 'happiness' is entirely dependent on social conditions, by which I mean other people. If you were to find yourself stranded alone on a desert island, then you would have days when you were (having accepted your predicament) joyfully happy, but this happiness would surely be an abstract emotion, unconnected to any particular event - rather like when you wake up sobbing for no reason at all. Somehow our brains need to run through various stages of highs and lows, and if there is no external trigger that causes them, why, they just carry on anyway.
The satisfaction with material objects (in my case, antique glass and candlesticks...) is not happiness at all - just the reverse. It is a form of mental illness and a substitute for the 'here and now' which we find the most unpalatable on certain (most) days. Abstract happiness can drive you to abstraction, like the chronic depressive in whom the first signs of an oncoming attack is euphoria.
I'll tell you what makes me the most happy - although not without fear - it is my loved ones; the other people in my life. To know you are loved is the greatest solace for us sociable creatures, which is why everyone watches 'It's a Wonderful Life' in tears every Christmas. I know it's a cheesy thing to say (again) but it's true, isn't it?
I saw a quotation printed on something the other day, and it said "The only way to make friends is to be one".