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Researchers are referring to the overall sense of well-being as subjective because it is based on experiences – both negative and positive – and the ability the person has to adapt to them. It is also because a person’s sense of well-being is based off their own perception of it as well as what is socially acceptable. The construct is also measured by a person’s perception and socially accepted concepts of “well-being”. A person’s well-being is what they make of it. The ability to find happiness does not come from outside sources. However, the ability to equate one’s sense of well-being is influenced by outside sources. People have the tendency to trust what is shown to them through advertisements and shows of what is the proper amount of well-being. In truth, this is different for each person. Asking to give a moderation or value to it does have its psychological benefits, but it can also provide for a conflict in a person. We seek to be what we are supposed to be. Part of that is seeking to be happy and have that sense of “well-being”. Quantifying it, or trying to, in any sense will always be subjective because we are all different, having our own perceptions, and our own scales of positive and negative.

2. On p. 18 of your textbook, the authors present the hypothetical possibility of being hooked up to an ‘experience machine’ that would guarantee a constant state of happiness and positive emotion. Would you choose to be hooked up to such a machine? Why or why not? In your response, differentiate between hedonic and eudaimonic concepts of happiness.

I had to think about this for all of about two seconds before I had my answer. I would absolutely not want to be hooked up a machined that guaranteed a constant state of happiness or positive emotion. How would I be able to evaluate them? How would I be able to appreciate them? Without dark, there is no light, and vis versa. One simply cannot feel a positive emotion without knowing a negative one. I believe that hedonic happiness is a common way that most people would look at happiness. It is the overall sense of fulfillment that has come from life experiences that have been pleasurable, thus needing an outside influence to be happy. Though eudaimonic concepts, self-realization is what brings upon well-being and happiness with one’s life. It is feeling good about your life because of your choices, not what affected you negatively, but what you did about it. With both concepts, being hooked up to an “experience machine” would make the idea of having a fulfilling life null and void. There would be no self-realization to follow eudaimonic concepts because there would be no adversity to make a positive choice from. With hedonic concepts, the outside influences would all be positive, but yet they would have no relation point as to what is positive, thus making everything the same.

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