If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is
December 23, 2019 10:14 AM   Subscribe

Kurt Vonnegut, one of the best writers of any lifetime, once wrote a sentence that—if you recite it—can literally expand your capacity for experiencing and retaining happiness. What Kurt Vonnegut Taught Us about the Science of Happiness
posted by COD (35 comments total) 100 users marked this as a favorite
 
I love this; positivity kicks ass!
posted by starscream at 10:32 AM on December 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


Yes! I like this. If you can get over the self-consciousness, putting your body in a new position helps too. Extend your arms outward or up to the sky, smile, breath in a memory worth keeping!
posted by meinvt at 10:33 AM on December 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


Here's the lecture where Vonnegut, among other things, pays tribute to his Uncle Alex and the magical sentence.
posted by josephtate at 10:35 AM on December 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


I think there is a evolutionary basis to retain bad memories because they can keep us from future danger.

This story reminds me of Jack Harbaugh the father of football coaches John and Jim Harbaugh. Apparently growing up dad would ask "Who’s got it better than us?" and the kids would reply "nooo-body". There is something to be said for appreciating and openly acknowledging what you got.

Happy Holidays everyone!
posted by ShakeyJake at 10:41 AM on December 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


this_is_fine_dog.gif
posted by SPrintF at 10:42 AM on December 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


Fitting that this hit the blue today. I have been in a slump for months (long story) and thinking about how I can turn things around. I have done what I naturally tend to do, and just kind of receded into the corner of life...

Something strange happened this morning. I woke up in a great mood, had some natural smiles at little things along the way in to work this morning...I felt, well, happy for the first time in a long while. And I don't mean brief amusement or something funny...just pure happiness. It was really nice.

The trigger? I think it was a movie I watched again last night. The Men Who Stare at Goats. Something profound and strange happened to me while I watched that movie. I can't explain it. But if this isn't nice, I don't know what is.
posted by Chuffy at 10:57 AM on December 23, 2019 [55 favorites]


Chuffy: I hope you have a lot more mornings like that in the future.
posted by hippybear at 11:02 AM on December 23, 2019 [15 favorites]


"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." -Maya Angelou
posted by Bacon Bit at 11:31 AM on December 23, 2019 [32 favorites]


A science of happiness is all well and good but what's the science of guessing adults' birthdates like the cashier?
posted by Easy problem of consciousness at 11:32 AM on December 23, 2019


A science of happiness is all well and good but what's the science of guessing adults' birthdates like the cashier?

You just try the same date every time, and after a few hundred customers you're bound to really make somebody's day.
posted by entropone at 11:55 AM on December 23, 2019 [16 favorites]


>You just try the same date every time, and after a few hundred customers you're bound to really make somebody's day.

Well that (or just picking a random day of the year) plus being able to guess the customer's birth year within a couple of years either way.

Anyway, who cares how it was done in that situation or how it could be done; that's not really the point of that story. Any way you do it, there is a considerable amount of chance involved and getting it right or close to right is an amusing and pleasant small thing.
posted by flug at 12:09 PM on December 23, 2019


Then I went into Target to buy socks and wine. The young female cashier scanned my socks and wine. The computer prompted her to input my birthdate.

Why does Target want your birthdate? Never mind, I know the answer, and it doesn't make me happy. Nor does the fact that it didn't even register on the writer as an offense. It's just the way things are! So much for a feel-good FPP.

What's wrong with me? Why does the computerized corporate intrusion into my privacy overwhelm my possible enjoyment of some random numerical coincidence? Because the former is important and the latter is trivial, that's why.

But the writer buried the lede. I will take this pleasure: the worker understood the offense and took steps to subvert the machine even before the customer had a chance to object. Well, if THAT isn't nice, I don't know what is!
posted by hypnogogue at 12:24 PM on December 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


Why does Target want your birthdate? Never mind, I know the answer, and it doesn't make me happy.

I'm assuming because the writer bought alcohol? Is there a reason to be upset about that? (honest question, just making sure I'm not missing something)
posted by Twain Device at 12:28 PM on December 23, 2019 [20 favorites]


I’ve tried to do this in a small way — when I feel happy to see someone I try to remember to say so. It makes me remember and notice feeling happy, and hopefully it also makes the other person feel good.
posted by eirias at 12:53 PM on December 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


My wife says that since she started a gratitude journal she is much more tolerant of my non-perfection, so I'm in favor of recognizing moments of happiness.
posted by MtDewd at 1:02 PM on December 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


alcohol

Oh. Me so dum.
posted by hypnogogue at 1:26 PM on December 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


Well, now I know what my experiment for 2020 is going to be. Maybe I’ll beat depression. That’d be nice for a change.
posted by drivingmenuts at 1:36 PM on December 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


poo too weet?
posted by exparrot at 1:39 PM on December 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


I try to remember when I wash my hands under running hot water from a single lever tap that I am living in luxury.
posted by Pembquist at 1:40 PM on December 23, 2019 [30 favorites]


if this isn't nice, I don't know what is

Seems legit.

Not unlike

I have wasted my life
.

which I find one of the most invigorating sentiments evar.

(---Merry Christmas! The man threatened. [William Gaddis, The Recognitions])
posted by chavenet at 2:31 PM on December 23, 2019 [11 favorites]


My version of this is to close my eyes, slowly breathe out and just sort of bask in the feeling. I also like Jim and Pam's wedding episode where they took mental pictures of each other while actually making a camera/shutter action with their hands.
posted by soelo at 2:34 PM on December 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


From the movie, Rounders:

In "Confessions of a Winning Poker Player," Jack King said, "Few players recall big pots they have won, strange as it seems, but every player can remember with remarkable accuracy the outstanding tough beats of his career."
posted by Chuffy at 2:57 PM on December 23, 2019


Metafilter: If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.
posted by grimjeer at 3:58 PM on December 23, 2019 [16 favorites]


If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 4:06 PM on December 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


The world badly needs a vin-dit.
posted by MrVisible at 4:24 PM on December 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


I feel happy!
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:47 PM on December 23, 2019


I swear upon my life that Kurt said the two most important things to heed in order to have a good life.

There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- "God damn it, you've got to be kind."

and

If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.




If those don't work, move onto Marcus Aurelius.
posted by vers at 5:03 PM on December 23, 2019 [15 favorites]


Here's another one: "I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different."

When I get too all up in my own brain about if I'm good enough or other some such nonsense, I remind myself of Kurt saying that, too.
posted by jillithd at 7:09 PM on December 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


Still on Team So It Goes, as that counts as the best I can do these days
posted by scruss at 8:56 PM on December 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


"I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different."

I am SO where I belong!
posted by Chitownfats at 11:52 PM on December 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


Sometimes po-tweet is all I can manage. But it’s still something
posted by mgrrl at 1:44 AM on December 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


So I read this this morning and then took the kids ice skating. The outdoor rink just opened today and I was hoping to go early enough that it wouldn't be super crowded. Anyway I took my two older kids, but they are still pretty young (7 and 5), so while they have a good time, they can't really skate and basically I spend the whole time picking them up and helping them move around.

Needless to say this isn't the most fun activity for me. A lot of bending and lifting heavy kids hurts my middle aged back and also, let's be honest, I would like to just freely rip off a few laps but don't have the opportunity because the kids need so much help.

Anyway, there were only a few other people there (we went right at opening time), but after a bit this group of four older guys show up. They are like in their 60s and clearly do NOT know how to skate at all. They are wobbling and falling all over the place, but get this, they were having so much fun. Laughing and hooting and hollering as they slipped and slid around the rink.

Watching them I thought about this article and it brightened my day. It wasn't my enjoyable moment, but I feel like their happiness rubbed off on me in some way, and if that isn't nice, I don't know what is.
posted by Literaryhero at 4:05 AM on December 24, 2019 [9 favorites]


Sitting here reading this beside the wife; sofa's leg rest is extended, purring cat sleeping next to me, hot coffee in my favorite mug.

If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:33 AM on December 24, 2019 [3 favorites]


This isn't nice, but I know what is.
posted by mule98J at 11:06 AM on December 24, 2019


Here's a related article from one of my favorite outdoor writers.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:13 AM on December 30, 2019


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