Since the economic meltdown, I find myself perusing the online Wall Street Journal. Although I have a good handle on the very micro-economics that is my family budget, anything more macro than that is pretty mysterious to me, never having had an economics course. So I find myself drifting away from economic news, and reading things like book reviews.
Hence it was that I saw this review of Seven Pleasures: An Essay on Ordinary Happiness by Willard Spiegelman. It may be my imagination, but there has been a spate of writing on similar topics. Even one of the laid-off former kings of Wall Street had a blog post titled something along the lines of "money doesn't matter." Spiegelman's pleasures are reading, walking, looking, dancing, listening, swimming and writing. Hmmmm. Mr FS and I really need to learn to dance. Otherwise, this is our lineup, with the addition of gardening for Mr. FS.
What I wonder, however, is whether these give everyone happiness? If so, being frugal wouldn't be very difficult, because these are all frugal pleasures.
I read another book review last week on parenting. I can no longer locate it (help if you can.) The gist of the two books under review is that parents of my generation have messed up our kids by having the goal of promoting happiness rather than promoting goodness. Happiness is defined in material terms. I think I may be less guilty of this than many. But I wonder what came first: my frugality or my belief that goodness is more important than material happiness.
This book review also reminded me of a common sentiment of many bloggers and blog commenters. Often, comments about giving up material pleasures now in order to save for a future goal are met with responses like "What if you die? I want to be happy now." And even frugal bloggers often enumerate their purchases. (I have done this myself on occasion).
Once again, I am lucky. But still I wonder if I am so frugal that I promoted goodness only because it coincided with my frugal nature.
So, Dear Readers. I know this is somewhat "out of joint" (quotation courtesy of Hamlet): what think you of the relationship between happiness and goodness? And kids?