The View Is Always the Same on a Hedonic Treadmill

February 5, 2015 9:34 PM

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The View Is Always the Same on a Hedonic Treadmill

I laughed during the movie Groundhog Day at Bill Murray's frustrations. Day in and day out, the same events occurred until he made the right choices for his life. How many of us are doing the same on our own hedonic treadmill? Brickman and Campbell coined the term in their essay "Hedonic Relativism and Planning the Good Society" in 1971 and in the late 1990s, the concept was modified by Michael Eysenck, a British psychologist, to become the current "hedonic treadmill theory," which compares the pursuit of happiness to a person on a treadmill who has to keep walking just to stay in the same place.

My introduction to this phenomena was at age 16 while experiencing the thrill of financial victory as I bought a $400 VW Rabbit with my own money. I remember, 30 years later, that feeling of freedom and self-sufficiency when driving off the used car lot. However, I also remember the thrill wore off ...

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