The Social Construction of Happiness, Meaning + a Meaningful Life

A little while ago, my fb friend shared an article from “The Atlantic” about the difference between happiness and meaning (“There’s More to Life Than Being Happy“). This article referenced a “recent research” publication (“Some Key Differences between a Happy Life and a Meaningful Life“)

The latter publication made some rather bold statements — such as:

Meaningfulness may therefore often involve understanding one�s life beyond the here and now, integrating future and past. In contrast, happiness, as a subjective feeling state, exists essentially in the present moment.

Another key difference mentioned is:

Insofar as happiness is about having one�s needs satisfied, interpersonal involvements that benefit the self should improve happiness. In contrast, meaningfulness may come instead from making positive contributions to other people.

Meaning is therefore a socially constructed phenomenon, to wit:

Happiness would mainly be linked to whether the self�s needs are being satisfied. Meaningfulness would be far more broadly related to what activities express and reflect the symbolic self, some of which would involve contributing to the welfare of others (individually or in general) or other culturally valued activities.

I have a hunch that a big part of the reason why happiness is assumed to be a “present state” phenomenon, but meaning is viewed as a phenomenon that occurrs across time, is that socially contructed meaning is not possible in the moment. We must always communicate such meaning to each other, and such communications simply take time.

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Family: Is it good / bad parenting to raise your children with fairy tales / harsh reality?

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Language as a Social Construction of Reality

I don’t know if language is the social construction of reality, but I have litte or no doubt that it is a social construction of reality. Welcome to constructs.info! 😀

I find it fitting that constructs.info is one of the first webites constructed via a magazine publishing platform I am in the process of creating (it is not the very first one, but certainly one of the first ten).  It is the only one (so far) I have decided to use for „beta tests“.

As a sort of incentive to get people interested in „beta-testing“ the platform, I am offering a free lifetime membership to the first 10 people willing (and qualified) to publish articles via this service. The required qualifications are quite simple and easy to fulfill.

First and foremost: You must publish your own RSS feed. The way to do this is to first register your own domain (in your own name – as the domain name owner will be the person receiving the membership, though this could also be a business or organization), and then to use a publishing tool capable of publishing an RSS feed (for example: WordPress). There are other work-arounds, but this is the most simple and straightforward approach.

That is really the only qualification required to participate. The quick and easy way to sign up is to visit zines.tel and follow the directions there.

The configuration of the membership is also quite simple and straightforward – it mainly has to do with settings you choose to share information via your own blog… and you do not even need to use our blogging platform to participate – if you prefer to publish your own information on your own website, then that is perfectly fine (the posts you choose to share via your own blog will be shared automatically with the readers of this website – again: see the sign-up link for more details 😉 ).

I look forward to your participation in our discussions. We have already considered having a reading group to discuss Berger + Luckmann’s „The Social Construction of Reality“ starting this month – so SIGN UP NOW!!! 😛

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