Reflective Summary of 3D of Happiness by M. Alhammadi

1

/ 12

Part 1: Hedonic Dimension

The author starts the first chapter by lending an overview of his past living conditions and
poor circumstances such as having no modern housing or heating, no running water, no variety of
food nor clothing, etc… Oddly enough, it is stated that despite these abysmal living conditions, many
these people were satisfied. It is believed that it is because no other house had these luxuries so it was
difficult to complain. Furthermore, studies have indicated that humans adapt very rapidly to living
conditions. Those with running water, for instance, would get used to having running water and take
it for granted thus having both ends of the spectrum on the same level of satisfaction. Life in the
village, as previously stated, was devoid of many things. However, the villagers were very happy and
content with deprivation; ignorance was a bliss. The author, however, was not satisfied due to being
aware of how well off other individuals were around the world. Thus, that is how the journey of
achieving happiness had started. However it would only lead to what he now refers to as the DEAD
loop (depravation, emulation, achievement, disappointment); a loop that he would circle multiple
times.
The journey began with depravation and emulation but ended with achievement and
disappointment. The author searched for happiness through delicious food as he believed the rich to
be very pleased because of their being able to eat a wide variety of foods. The author began his
experience in the hedonic dimension by having. According to him, H1 = U (Having). However, as he
finally achieved the ability to satisfy any craving, disappointment was waiting at the end as he had
lost the pleasure of having it. This is mostly to do with the different reference points the author
experienced. When at the village, everyone had similar living conditions and thus all were content. In
the town, however, he knew what was missing and thus was unsatisfied. According to economics,
people are fated to enjoy less as they have more. “When we are hungry, the pleasure of eating the first
slice of pizza is high. As we eat additional slices, the pleasure keeps diminishing”. The author then
comes to the conclusion that pleasure of eating can never bring lifelong satisfaction. There seems to
be a sort of balance that will always prevail. The author refers to this balance as an invisible hand that
provides an even level of pleasure regardless of income. Or, in other words, the law of diminishing
marginal utility. After food, the pursuit of clothes was next.
Despite not having much to start with, the author never stated to be very dissatisfied due to all
those around him having similar living conditions and clothes. He states the second reason according
to him was the adaptation principle which he continues to mention. Once he was able to buy whatever
clothes he wanted, he began losing interest in them. “I feel like I am wasting my time over something

1

/ 12