Gretchen Rubin has a good post this morning at The Happiness Project about Carl Jung and his perspective on happiness…
In 1960, journalist Gordon Young asked Jung, “What do you consider to be more or less basic factors making for happiness in the human mind?” Jung answered with five elements:
1. Good physical and mental health.
2. Good personal and intimate relationships, such as those of marriage, the family, and friendships.
3. The faculty for perceiving beauty in art and nature.
4. Reasonable standards of living and satisfactory work.
5. A philosophic or religious point of view capable of coping successfully with the vicissitudes of life.
Jung, always mindful of paradox, added, “All factors which are generally assumed to make for happiness can, under certain circumstances, produce the contrary. No matter how ideal your situation may be, it does not necessarily guarantee happiness.”
I did disagree strongly with Jung on one point. He said, “The more you deliberately seek happiness the more sure you are not to find it.” I know, Carl Jung vs. Gretchen Rubin, who is the authority? But though many great minds, such as John Stuart Mill, make the same point as Jung, I don’t agree.
For me, at least, the more mindful I am about happiness, the happier I become. Take Jung’s five factors. By deliberately seeking to strengthen those elements of my life, I make myself happier.
Source: The Happiness Project: Carl Jung’s Five Key Elements to Happiness.
If Gretchen can disagree with Jung, so can I. My issue? The list appears random – I think there’s a sequence to these 5 steps that is important. I would reorder the list like this;
- A philosophic or religious point of view capable of coping successfully with the vicissitudes of life.
- Good physical and mental health.
- Reasonable standards of living and satisfactory work.
- Good personal and intimate relationships, such as those of marriage, the family, and friendships.
- The faculty for perceiving beauty in art and nature.
Maybe I had too much of Maslow and his hierarchy of needs but it seems to me that there are certain items in the list that need to build upon the other, in other words, 1 affects your ability to do 2-5. How about you? What’s your take on Jung, Rubin, Maslow and me?