Saturday, February 2, 2008

Happiness is an emotion

hap pi·ness n. - state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy

Look at these pictures. Would you say that these pictures depict the emotion happiness? To me happiness involves a smile, a laugh, and bright open eyes. I would say that these pictures are a good representation of happiness.

Not once in my reading of We did I get the sense that anyone was experiencing the emotion of happiness. Some may say that D-503 was happy when he was obsessively chasing I-330 around. He was definitely feeling the emotions of lust, but I don’t think he was feeling happy. Ana spoke of happiness in her latest blog post. She stated that “The numbers don't know love, or hate, or envy or anything resembling emotion, so how can they know happiness? The numbers are not allowed to experience emotions, so they cannot experience happiness. Happiness is an emotion.

The One State, dominated by rational thought, frowned upon emotions. D-503 was diagnosed with having a “soul” because he was experiencing his emotions. Emotions threatened the Once State and that is why everyone had to get lobotomies. In a lobotomy the frontal lobes are removed. It is believed that this is the part of the brain where creation of emotions is believed to take place. So obviously the One State did not want the inhabitants to experience the emotion called happiness.

7 comments:

Brian M said...

I agree that D-503 never felt true happiness. His positive emotions came with feelings of confusion and anxiety, which I know wouldn't make me very happy.

Cheney said...

I imagine it would be hard for anyone to feel a certain emotion without ever having that emotion defined correctly for them. D-503 was never told that happiness is enjoying life, and having someone to love, or having lots of money. The definition of happiness in We would be hard to pin down because I'm sure it wouldn't include any of those things. By our standards it doesn't appear that D-503 ever achieved happiness, but by We standards the way he feels after the lobotomy could be happiness.

Miguel said...

I think the only number who ever experiences happiness is O when she finally escapes beyond the Green Wall. Within the One State,as you said, nobody truly feels happiness because they are taught to feel guilty if they experience something pleasing without a logical explanation (as are many occurences of happiness).

emma said...

i didn't even think about this while i was reading the book. i definitely thought that D was content with his life at the beginning, but then he realized he was miserable after he met I and couldn't be with her the way he wanted to. but i never actually thought "none of these people are happy" even though it makes perfect sense. when he thought he was infected with a soul, maybe he was simply experiencing some level of happiness.

Crista said...

Thanks for all of your cool comments! :)

Scotto said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scotto said...

I think that the Benefactor and many of the citizens in We consider happiness and contentment to be interchangeable. If this is the case, then they consider eliminating desires and achieving happiness to be the same thing, which is not necessarily the case. Everyone defines emotions differently.