Is There an App for Happiness?
One cannot look anywhere anymore without seeing some sort of portable information device. We rely on technology for much of our daily routines. We can do our banking from our phones. We can track calories on our tablet. We can plan Thanksgiving dinner on online bulletin boards on our laptops. While, certainly, this is convenient, are we becoming too dependent upon the cyber-world? Is technology taking over? Is our happiness dictated by our smart devices?
How Happiness is Tracked
Our happiness can be tracked via our game playing habits on our smart phones. If we solve a puzzle, get the bad guy, or level up, it is viewed as a personal achievement. Personal achievements lead to greater happiness. While I understand the concept here, I can’t help but wonder about the people who don’t or won’t use a smart phone. If they are not playing games and earning personal achievements, can they truly be happy?
I worry for that little boy who just hit his first home run. I worry about the woman who just found out she is pregnant. I worry about the man who just made partner at his firm. They didn’t directly use technology to achieve those things, so how could their achievements be tracked? If their achievements were not immediately validated by the cyber-gods, does it mean that they’re not happy?
Why Do We Need Happiness Tracked?
While it seems a bit ridiculous to think that we need to rely on smart phones to track the happiness of society, it has actually become quite realistic. Remember the boy who hit the home run, the mother-to-be, and the man who got promoted? I was worried that they couldn’t truly be happy because their achievements weren’t directly related to a game app on their phone.
But it is possible, even probable, that each of those people logged on to their favorite social networking site just moments after they accomplished their achievements. They probably posted their achievements in a status update. Their statuses were probably “liked” by dozens of people on their Friends Lists. Several of those Friends probably even left comments about the achievements, a modern day pat on the back for a job well done. So I worry no more for the home run hitter, the new mom, and the new partner. They are happy. They have to be; they have “likes” and comments to prove it. And of course we, as a society, are happy. We have technology to thank for it.
In essence, there is, indeed, an app for happiness. Our smart phones offer us that. Whether it’s winning a word game, successfully transferring money to your bank account, finding the perfect recipe, or getting 100 “likes,” we are achieving things. And achievement equals happiness, after all.