Thursday, December 22, 2011

It Depends How You Look at It

Today's post is going up unreasonably early due to a busy day travelling. Earlier this week I mentioned that I was planning on writing a blog post about another Questionable Content strip. Here is the strip, and this is the post. I have actually been thinking about writing this post since much earlier than this week; at some point during last semester I had a really good week and I felt kind of happy, but I couldn't think of anything definitive that had been different.

Experiences like these highlight how much our mood affects how we experience what happens to us. It is true, I read it in a Cracked article somewhere; is a sentence I never wish to utter seriously. I cannot find the article now, so I shall not link to it, but that might actually be a public service if you have as much trouble leaving Cracked once you start reading articles as I do.

Anyway, at the time I was a bit upset by this phenomenon. It is one thing to think you are unhappy because of something, if that is the case then you can work to change it, or wait to get over it, or whatever the appropriate remedy may be. However, if you are happy for no particular reason at all, then it sort of indicates that you are probably also unhappy for no particular reason at all, and what is one to do about that?

To make matters worse, it is not simply the case that how we feel and what happens to us may be unrelated, sometimes what happens to us is caused by how we feel. More accurately, the way we experience and remember our day will be affected by our mood, so "good things" will happen to and be remembered by happy people. As the comic points out, this does call into question our ability to experience an objective reality.

As much as I might wish to be the suave dude in the plaid, I am much more a curious and freaked out Hannelore. But I'm actually doing pretty ok with the idea that that my experiences are dependent on my mood these days. If nothing else, it is a good reminder not to take other people's perspectives for granted, and it helps me to understand that there is probably a reason behind their interpretation of events, no matter how much it may differ from my own.

No comments: