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Where I am Happiest

mbackus's picture

Today I took a walk around the Bryn Mawr campus visiting five different locations and discovering where I found myself happiest and why.

a.) In order of where I found myself most happy to least happy:

  1. Morris Woods
  2. Room 20, Park Science
  3. Glass Staircase in Dalton
  4. English House
  5. Campus Center Parking Lot

b.) As I was visiting each location and exploring my reaction to each new enviornment I focused on two, in my mind, distinct feelings. I focused on my feelings of happiness and my comfort level in each envionrment. For me, the two feelings are sepereate because I believe you can feel one without feeling the other. However, they can influence each other. I felt happiest in Morris Woods because of the fresh air, the openness, and the mystery I felt in the woods. It was exciting to be there because there was so much to be discovered. I felt clear headed, peaceful and centered. Although I was very happy in this enviornment, I wasn't entirely comfortable. I was afraid of the unknown to a certain extent, but I was excited at the prospect of it. It surprised me that the next place I felt happiest was in the Park Science lab room. Once I thought about the feelings I experienced in each location, it made more sense. In both places I had the same feeling of excitement at the prospect of learning something or discovering something. The enviornments are completely different, however the feelings were similar. The next place I felt happiest was in the Dalton glass staircase. I felt happy there because I had full visual access to the outside world, in the comfort of being inside. This is where I felt most that comfort and happiness were most in sync with each other. I was comfortable with the familiarity and civilization of the building and excited by the world on the other side of the glass. I ranked the English house as number four because I did not feel happy there, but I felt comfortable. I was comfortable with the building because it felt familiar, but I wasn't happy there. I felt like I was trapped in the small, enclosed enviornment. Lastly, I did not feel comfortable, nor happy in the Campus Center Parking Lot. The smell of the car fumes and asphalt made my head hurt and my stomach churn. It is loud, dreary, and uninspiring. 

c.) In order of where I imagine plants would be happiest from most happy to least happy:

  1. Morris Woods
  2. Campus Center Parking Lot
  3. Room, Park Science Lab tied with Glass Staircase in Dalton
  4. English House

d.) I think that plants are most happy in places where they survive most easily and successfuly. I think because they lack cognitive structure I imagine their biggest concerns would be amount of sunlight and water. Morris Woods satisfies both of those needs very well. Plants not only survive but they thrive, which is why I believe plants there are happiest. Even though I did not find the Campus Center Parking lot enjoyable, I believe the plants there are probably happy. They have water, sunlight, and extra CO2 from all the cars driving by. Plants would probably somewhat happy in the Park Science lab because there is access to sunlight and humans to provide water, however they would probably be very unhappy if there were any experiments being performed on them. Plants probably wouldn't be too happy in the staircase at Dalton, but they would have plenty of sunlight and water provided by humans. These places are tied in my opinion because plants have the same potential for suvival in each place. Lastly, I think plants would not be happy in the English House. It is cramped, and gets little sunlight in comparison with the other locations. I don't think plants would survive very well in that building.

e.) Plants and humans are similar in that they both feel happy in places that they can survive. It is a very basic need that all organisms need from their enviornment. They both feel comfortable where their needs are being met and they are safe.

f.) The biggest difference between plants and humans is that humans not only what their physical needs to be met, but also their mental and emotional needs. In my case specifically I felt happiest in places where I felt mentally challenged. I want to grow mentally in many of the same ways that plants want to grow physically. This is how we are similar and different. I don't believe my answers to e.) or f.) would be different if I were comparing other-than-human animals with humans, but my answers would definitely be different for c.) and d.). Animals would most likely be unhappy anywhere other than the woods and maybe the parking lot. 



mtran's picture

Happy vs. comfortable

Yes comfort and happiness are two separate feelings because while comfort refers to the level of physical convenience, happiness refers to emotional feelings. One can be very happy at a place because there is something she likes/loves, even though it might not be a physically comfortable place to stay. For example, I remember doing voluntary work back home, at a school for children with autism, where the rooms were very unorganized and smelled badly. However, I was happy to spend time with the kids, listen to their stories and clean up the space. I think your claim also explains why I wrote in my post that the place where we feel the happiest reflects well one's personility.