Professor Joshua Belknap | Co Req ML | Fall 2023

10/25/23: What is Happiness? Writing activity

We will be thinking and talking about this more later today. Please write at least two detailed paragraphs (not just one-sentence answers) that explore the following questions:

  • If you had to define happiness, what would your definition be?
  • What are the most important features of living a happy life, in your opinion?
  • Does money buy happiness? (Remember Michael Norton’s “Money Can Buy Happiness” from last class) Whether you your answer is “yes” or “no,” explain why and think of some examples.
  • What is the relationship between money and happiness?
  • Can money protect us from certain kinds of unhappiness? What kinds?
  • Is the happiness of others connected to our happiness? If so, how? If not, why not? Explain in detail. Post as a reply here in the comment section.


  1. Jguarango21

    What is Happiness? Writing Activity

    Happiness is a state of mind in which we are free, comfortable, and pleasured by an external factor. They’re the little things in life in which we take value. It’s an emotion that comes and goes like any other emotion we experience.  The way to live a happy life would be to have a meaning in life. What I’m trying to say is that we must find our purpose in life to continue with it. We must find our, passions, and follow them as well as have healthy habits such as exercising, having a good diet, and sleeping the correct number of hours. No of course not, money does not buy you happiness, if it would many things in the world would be different, and there would be peace.  But money does bring happiness with the things we may purchase. Such as food, tickets to a concert, inanimate objects, properties, etc. Buying a state of mind of pleasure is not possible. It comes and goes and what brings you happiness may be the things we ought to search for.

     As previously mentioned, it gets you things to bring happiness temporarily. It can ease basic needs, work, purposes, and psychological well-being. Obviously, it can help prevent us from going homeless or going to bed with an empty stomach, treating ourselves with food or anything else. It can help us avoid any debt issues or loans, and not worry about money in the future or for future generations. But I’d say it can keep us away from poverty. I can’t say if it’s connected but rather shared. An example can be entering a relationship with a lover. When this relationship begins, we must be certain of ourselves and be secure with what we are doing, we must be happy so in that way we can share it with the other person. If one were to be happy only, that state of mind doesn’t just pass on to the other. Happiness comes and goes but only we can create our happiness.

  2. Dave Desrivieres

    If I were to define happiness, I would say that there are no adjectives or words to describe it, but most people express themselves in a way that shows that they are always in good shape or mood with themselves and the people around them. The most important aspect of living a happy life, in my opinion, is getting along with everyone and everything, such as making money and doing your best every day. As a result, in the last video, I disagreed with the experience of sharing money with someone and hope that they do something good or terrible with it. Personally, your money is yours to do anything you want with it; no one should tell you what to do with it or how to spend it; but I completely agree with sharing it with others in need. For example, the last time I gave my money with a buddy who needed it, I was grateful because I knew I did something nice with my money, and no one told me what I should do with it. Additionally, money can shield you from certain things you wish to purchase. When you feel content, such as when you purchase items for your children, remember that those angels cannot afford those items for themselves, therefore as parents, we must uphold our ethical guidelines. “Great figure” overall, I am happy when the people around me are happy.

  3. MD Azizur

    Happiness, in my view, is a state of emotional well-being and contentment that stems from meaningful relationships, health, purpose, and life’s simple joys. It’s about feeling secure, experiencing joy in our connections with loved ones, and having a sense of mental satisfaction from a purposeful life.

    The most important features of living a happy life, in my opinion, include strong and positive relationships with family and friends, good health, a sense of purpose or fulfilling work, and the ability to appreciate life’s little pleasures.

    Money can buy some elements of happiness, as suggested by Michael Norton’s “Money Can Buy Happiness,” particularly when you perform acts of kindness without any expectation and generously donate to those in need. It makes sense that it feels better in your soul when you do something for some needy people or homeless people who actually need help with shelter and food. Furthermore, if you consider the idea that money can buy happiness, it relates to providing a sense of security and enabling access to certain experiences. For instance, it can facilitate travel, provide access to education, or ensure quality healthcare. However, true and lasting happiness cannot be solely acquired through money; it’s more about the quality of our relationships and our mental well-being.

    But sometimes, money can’t buy you happiness. When you have plenty of money and you don’t know how to spend it, or when some people only target you for your wealth or try to take advantage of you in a relationship, it can also escalate your desires and expectations. You end up wanting more and more, desiring luxury items, and trying to showcase your wealth to others. It’s like a treadmill; your desires and expectations seem never-ending. This cycle continues, and that’s one of the drawbacks of having money.

    The relationship between money and happiness is complex. While money can enhance certain aspects of life, it doesn’t guarantee happiness. Often, it’s how we use our money and the values we prioritize that matter more.

    Money can protect us from certain kinds of unhappiness, primarily related to financial stress and insecurity. It can provide a safety net in times of need, preventing worries about basic needs like food and shelter.

    The happiness of others is indeed connected to our happiness. Positive and strong relationships contribute to our well-being. Additionally, helping others and making a positive impact can bring a deep sense of satisfaction and joy. When those around us are happy, it often creates a more positive and supportive environment, which can, in turn, boost our own happiness.

  4. Diana Grande

    Feeling good, calm, excitement to still be there and feeling good about everything around you and feeling pleasured. To live a happy live surrounding yourself with the right people and doing the stuff that you love the most can all feature you living a happy life. Money does buy happiness, whether you buy something you really like or you go somewhere that you’ve really been wanting to go when you accomplished stuff like that you feel happiness but none of that would’ve happened if you didn’t have any money. Money and happiness has a relationship between each other almost as if they were twins, they come in a package. Money can most surely can protect us from from certain kinds of happiness even in other countries even when if were in danger money can save us. Happiness of others can also bring us happiness, when people connect and have a bond within each other and create happiness.

  5. Jimin Yoon

    Happiness for me is enjoying, relaxed, and satisfied with something or someone. The most important feature of living, in my opinion, is to enjoy every moment we are living and be thankful that we woke up in the morning, we never know when can we die or how we die therefore we have to every second and minute. Also, I think money can buy happiness, but like they say if you have a huge amount of money you will lose people around you or they might take advantage of you, and be obsessed with buying better stuff than the things you own. However, I think it’s better than having no money and living a repeating lifestyle, working every day. As well, if you work hard and lose people around you, but after that time there’s always a reward following that. Money can protect you from a lot of unhappiness, for example, you can buy something of your choice, and that will make you happy, and friends, of course, you can make friends. Money can make a lot of people happy, and that’s for sure. I think it’s different if one feels connected to our happiness. There are people that don’t and people who do. 

  6. Fairlay

    If i had to define happiness, My definition of it would be being happy and proud of what you are doing in life. There are many features and factors to being happy but to me the most important features are Money, relationships, mental health and satisfaction. I think money does not necessarily buy happiness but it is a big factor in being happy. Having money can protect us from certain happiness like not being able to buy things that you would want to buy if you had money. I also think the happiness of others is connected to our happiness because personally, seeing others happy makes me happy.

    Money, family, relationships, mental health and satisfaction are the most important features to being happy because, Money can buy things that you really wanted and needed that you would not be able to afford if you did not have money. Some examples of this are your favorite cars, your favorite shoes and other things. Money could also make you memorable experiences by going on trips, vacations and other things. Relationships are also important whether it’s a friendship or a sexual relationship, seeing someone you love would definitely make someone happy. Mental health is important to being happy because having good mental health means that you are happy. Satisfaction is also important to being happy because watching your favorite sports team win or seeing your favorite artist drop an album after a long time could make someone happy.  The reason  why i think money does not necessarily buy happiness is because you could have money and have terrible relationships which affect your happiness in a negative way. You could have money and also a bad mental health which could affect your happiness in a negative way. Having money not being satisfied could also impact your happiness in a negative way. Money could also outweigh having bad relationships, having a bad mental health and not being satisfied and make you happy. The reason i think  the happiness of others is connected to our happiness is because seeing others happy could make a person happy. For example, if you gave a homeless man money and saw him smile, i feel like that could make someone happy. Another example could be giving your seat to an old person or a pregnant lady in the bus or subway, i feel like that could make someone happy. All these reasons are why i think money does not necessarily buy happiness but it is a big factor to being happy.

  7. Akobir

    1)If you had to define happiness, what would your definition be?

    This is the question I have asked myself for several years, yet can’t find the answer…

    2)What are the most important features of living a happy life, in your opinion?

    Maybe peace, harmony, friends, music. I haven’t fully figured it out yet.

    3)Does money buy happiness? (Remember Michael Norton’s “Money Can Buy Happiness” from the last class) Whether your answer is “yes” or “no,” explain why and think of some examples.

    It’s a tricky question because it does buy happiness for some people but doesn’t for others; If you ask me, my answer is no; money won’t bring me what I’m looking for and won’t make me happy

    4)What is the relationship between money and happiness?

    Supportive. Maybe money won’t make you happy, but it can HELP you become happy 

    5)Can money protect us from certain kinds of unhappiness? What kinds? 

    Yes, it can. Without money, you won’t be able to feed yourself, have a roof above your head, and not even have clothes on you 

    6)Is the happiness of others connected to our happiness? If so, how? If not, why not? Explain in detail. Post as a reply here in the comment section.

    “Children are the flowers of life” is, a famous Russian quote; The Happiness of parents depends on the happiness of their children, therefore they’re connected.

  8. Susana

    If I had defined happiness, my definition is to be happy, relax, and stay with the people who I love the most. In my opinion, the most important features in a happy life are health, honesty, and money because being healthy allows us to enjoy life and stay with family and friends. In addition, honesty is also important because honesty helps me feel more relaxed in life and treat people kinder. Also, money is also very important. In my opinion, money is not everything, but having no money is absolutely impossible. No money means it becomes very difficult if we want to do anything or get something. If I have money, I can at least be greatly satisfied with my material desires.

    Personally speaking, money can buy happiness. In addition, it allows you to survive in society, meet some of your needs in life, and also allows you to go where you want to go. The relationship between money and happiness is the more money you have, the more happiness you can bring. Furthermore, money can protect us from certain kinds of unhappiness’ things. Such as, food, shelter, clothing, phone bill. These basic needs require money to do. Is the happiness of others connected to our happiness? To me, other people’s happiness is somehow connected to our happiness. For example, when I see others feel very happy because of my help, I will also feel happy.

  9. Emely

    I define happiness as a way of feelings of contentment, joy, and overall well-being. My consent to live a happy life is to live a comfortable life wherever there are worries about material things. Having my family in a good state, and always being with them and making them happy for me so I didn’t have worries that they were having a good life would make me be living a good life. However, we aren’t in a good place right now so I would say that yes and no, money can buy happiness because I would say that we have everything to be happy simplicity things but the short amount of Monet take our happiness way since we have to pass for more stuff and make us stress. For example, when you are stressed and want to go out and have fun in another country for vacation, you need money to have a good time and have one of the best trips that could make you happy. In my opinion, if I didn’t have my situation in my situation, I would say that I would be the happiest if I could take my family and Ami on vacation to another country eating good food and having the best time without worries.

    In addition, something that money to make you happy couldn’t buy is someone who really loves you for who you are and not for how much you have in your wallet. Many people who are rich have everything but what they lack is that person, some try to buy others with material pains but in the end, they only end up just like when they started that why I

    think Money can contribute to happiness up to a point, by providing for basic needs and security, but beyond a certain threshold, Additional wealth has diminishing returns on overall happiness. Other factors like relationships, purpose, and well-being become more important for long-term happiness. They would always say that my happiness is related to my mother’s because if she is going through moments where she could be on the floor, my happiness would be away because in some areas we are one.

  10. marylin

     Happiness, anything that makes us feel satisfied with what we have. It would be described as anything anti negative involved in our lives. One of those features of happiness would be maintaining a good balanced routine which involves consuming a healthy based diet , associating with happy people when communicating, and most importantly taking care of yourself, these are one of the features that involves happiness since it involves positive actions that we as a society would do. As you do these positive actions it’ll make you feel like you’ve accomplished something for the better. When it involves money, others might have different perspectives if it truly makes them happier or not. As we live in a society based on money, I agree money can make us happy. Besides, it can benefit us in so many ways that involve any conflict in our lives. Overall it helps us in our basic needs in our daily lives. 

       When it comes to the relationship between money and happiness, there is a connection between these two, money leads us an easy access to things we want and one of the purposes of what we are all working for since it can provide us a lot from what we want in this society which leads us to happiness, especially when it comes to unexpected situations and basic necessities in order to survive which brings us protection due to money. The happiness of others does connect towards happiness, an example would be of others treating you with respect and kindness, which will make you do the same actions they’ve done which builds a connection within being positive and happy with one another.

  11. Rojina

    Happiness, for me, is a feeling of contentment with everything that is going on around me, reassurance, and security. Moreover, happiness means being healthy and waking up without being sick every day. Family, children, and money are all counting sources of happiness. The most important feature of happiness is that smiling causes the brain to release dopamine, which makes us happier. This does not mean I have to walk around with a fake smile on your face all the time, but next time you are feeling low, smile and see what happens. exercises, get enough sleep, choose better food every day, be grateful, take deep breaths, see friends take me outside.  

    Happiness and money are separate from each other and do not affect each other. However, some studies have revealed that money can bring happiness and increase it under certain conditions. Money does not only buy happiness, but it guarantees you a “decent life” in which you live without needing people and in which you learn, eat, dress, drink, receive treatment, and everything. Justifying poverty or showing poverty in a beautiful way is nothing but selfishness. Money is a necessary element of life and livelihood that is indispensable to a person. It includes everything, has material value, and benefits according to prevailing custom. With money, a person satisfies his basic needs of food, food, clothing, housing, and transportation. Money protects us from certain kinds of unhappiness as privity deprives us of many necessities to give up. Absolutely true the happiness of others connected to our happiness. Despite of our family, Do not allow your happiness to be lost on the face of the earth, because people come and go, so do not feel sorry for anyone if he goes, and this does not mean that you hate him after he is gone, but rather your love for him remains, but enjoy life and feel it alone. 

  12. Fernando Fernandez

    I never look happy and I never have fun. I like to be alone and some people feel bad for me but what makes me happy is being alone, doing homework, playing video games and watching shows. The happiest time of my life has been when I went to a resort because I don’t really go out a lot so it feels different there. During the pandemic i was even happier because i was at home and i could play video games all day and talk with my close friends, it was normal and i could be a child again. But I do really feel happy because I have my family who is always there for me and my close friends who are like 3 friends and I don’t want more than that. I’m just surrounded by family and I like it because I’m a calm person and like to be chill. My ideal life would be just having a nice house with my own room because right now I live with 5 family members and I share my room with my cousin and I would like to have my own room, something like that will just make me happier. The conditions of my life right now are better because I’m not just at home and doing the same thing everyday, now I’m in college studying and it doesn’t feel like hard work because I really love it and I really like going because I like what i’m doing. I like my life and I could change something. It would be more social because even though I like being alone sometimes I want to have fun in public but I just sit down. 

  13. Fernando Fernandez

    If i had to define happiness i would define it as being satisfied. The most important features of living a happy life are living the moment, just go for it, life is only one. Money can buy happiness if you spend it right, maybe buying a good gaming laptop or a pc looks like unnecessary but it gives you happiness because if you love gaming you use it a lot or when you have time, for money do can buy happiness because i don’t have a lot of money and if i wanna get something for me, when i finally get it, i would be so happy. The relationship between money and happiness are different, because with money you just give you a reward, but happiness is in your heart, happiness is doing what you love to do, and spending the money on things you love also can make you happy so they can be related, as michael nortons said in from the article “money can buy happiness”.Can money protect us from certain kinds of unhappiness?” i was going to say “yes” but if you have money and you are alone, you can’t buy happiness, you will still feel alone and bored even if you go to the happiest place. Is the happiness of others connected to our happiness? If so, how? If not, why not? Explain in detail. I really don’t be looking at people, and if they so happy i can’t tell, but here in nyc when i go to play basketball and i see someone laughing and jumping, when someone says a joke they run away and come back, people like that looks happy but they are not nice to other people, they looks the happiest but be doing some crazy things. That’s why I hated highschool because it was full of people like that.

  14. Anja Rrasa

    Happiness, in my view, means feeling calm and content inside, especially when I’m with people who make me feel this way. The key to a happy life, according to me, is having this inner peace and being financially stable. 

    As for money buying happiness, it can’t directly do that, but it helps when it keeps life stable. For example, money can make sure we have what we need, like a safe place to live and access to healthcare, which can reduce stress and add to our inner peace. And when the people around us bring us this inner peace, their happiness connects to our own because positive relationships boost our sense of well-being. 

  15. xin chen

    1. If you had to define happiness, what would your definition be?

    if i had to define happiness, i would say happiness is a mood whenever you feel comfortable and have a good mood. 

    2. What are the most important features of living a happy life, in your opion?

    i belive the most important features of living a happy life is freedom and money. 

    3. Does money buy happiness? (Remember Michael Norton’s “Money Can Buy Happiness” from last class) Whether you your answer is “yes” or “no,” explain why and think of some examples.

    i believe that money does not buy happiness but it can eliminate some of the sadness. for instance, some people need money to cure the diseases, in this case, the enough money can eliminate their sadnees in their ecomomy, but it might not buy them the happiness. i believe happiness is always appear whenever you satisified and you believe you have happiness. 

    4. What is the relationship between money and happiness?

    i believe money can buy the happiness that is very superfacial, such as luxuries, houses, cars, but it cannot buy a persons’s proudness when they achieve something, the proudness of the knowledges that they have in their brain. 

    5. Can money protect us from certain kinds of unhappiness? What kinds?

     i believe money can protect us from some kind of unhappiness, such as some people they need to work seven days a week for money or people getting fight because of money. 

    6. Is the happiness of others connected to our happiness? If so, how? If not, why not? Explain in detail. Post as a reply here in the comment section.

    i believe the happiness of others does connected to our happiness in most cases, such as sometimes feel happy from doing donations, or we feel happy when the people we hated feels not happy. However, personally, i feel the happiness of others does not connected to my happiness because i believe we are always independent, i only care about my happinese and how can i spend the things on my self to make myself more happy,, doing something for myself, and i get happinesee from it is double happiness as help others.

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