Nephew: Here is one thing you can’t disagree with. And yet, you will, because that’s what you do. You live to disagree with people.
Uncle: Out with it.
Nephew: Good health is necessary for happiness.
Uncle: I do disagree. Sort of.
Nephew: See! I knew you would disagree! Sometimes I think you try to be difficult. Good health is important for happiness! Everyone knows that. ‘Your health is your wealth’ goes the saying.
Uncle: Obviously, if you are suffering from the eye-bulging pain of dengue fever then no, you won’t be happy. But that’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? Should a key to core happiness be ‘Avoid catching the Black Death”? Yes, having bad health will make you unhappy, obviously, but that doesn’t mean the reverse is true, that good health makes us happy. There are plenty of healthy, glum people about.
Nephew: I can see what you are trying to say . . .
Nephew: You’re saying that having bad health makes you unhappy, and when you’re well again you return to the core happiness you had before.
Uncle: Correct. Having good health won’t actually raise your core happiness.
Nephew: Alright. Can someone with poor health be happy?
Uncle: It is feasible that someone with chronic poor health, perhaps even chronic pain, might eventually come to terms with their illness and return to the same level of core happiness they had before. Though naturally, they’d give anything to be well again. But I don’t know.
Nephew: Could someone with a terminal illness be happy?
Uncle: Gosh, again, I don’t know. It is feasible that a person suffering the pain, anguish and the fear of their terminal illness, and who is terribly unhappy as a result, might still consider themselves to be leading a happy life.
Nephew: How? How could that be?
Uncle: Underneath their bucket-load of misery their core happiness might still be intact. They might still consider that despite their suffering, live is worth living. But I don’t know. I haven’t asked heaps of people with chronic pain or terminal illness how happy they are. Nor will I.
Nephew: Any advice then?
Uncle: Get plenty of sleep. Eat nutritious food. Avoid catching the Black Death.