Monday, December 9, 2013

What is happiness?

This is the monologue for the latest episode of Why? Radio. The topic was "What is Happiness?" and the guest was Sissela Bok. You can hear the whole episode online here.

I’m taking an introductory piano class at my university; I’ve wanted to for years. It’s really difficult. The course is required for music majors, so in addition to being more than twice as old as all of the other students, I am the only one in the room who can’t read music. We had a recital last week and my performance was a complete disaster—a total meltdown. Everyone else did quite well.
But here’s the interesting thing. Despite the failure and the struggle, taking the course makes me extraordinarily happy. I really don’t have the time, I’m the slowest student in the room, I feel out of place, and I’m not convinced I can actually learn everything I need to before the final, but I’m still happy. On today’s episode we are going to ask how this makes sense.