Happiness in the digital age: Free PDF with the complete 9th chapter of my book ‘Technology vs Humanity’!
My 2016 book Technology vs Humanity is still going strong; in fact it’s roaring, with new translations such as Russian and Chinese, and others coming soon. Many topics first mentioned in the book have become mainstream and global memes, such as Digital Ethics. Last week, I launched a new speaking topic ‘Happiness in the Digital Age’ and I figured I should now share the related chapter from my book more widely – so here it is! PS: click on the play button above to watch an excerpt of my 2016 film, pre-dating the book:)
(From the chapter) I strongly believe we must put the pursuit of happiness and human flourishing at the centre of this man-machine debate. What purpose would technology serve if it does not further human flourishing? And yes, I think it is possible for us to design our future in such a way that we don’t just depend on luck, but rather create the best possible circumstances for happiness.
When I started researching what happiness actually is, I repeatedly ran across a distinction between two different types of happiness. The first, hedonic happiness, is a positive mental high point, usually temporary, and often described as pleasure. It may be fleeting, it may be momentary, and it often leads us into habits. For example, some of our hedonic pleasures can lead to addictions such as food, alcohol, and smoking.
Social networks such as Facebook have often been described as a “pleasure trap,” a mechanism for hedonistic self-presentation and pleasure facilitation. (Note: I quit Facebook in March 2018).
The second type of happiness is known as eudaimonic happiness, a kind of deeper happiness and contentment. Wikipedia explains eudaimonia (or the Anglicized version, eudaemonia, which I will use in this book) as follows: “Eudaimonia is a Greek word commonly translated as happiness or welfare.”163 “Human flourishing” is another popular meaning of eudaemonia and may serve as a more accurate terminology for the purpose of this book.