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Cities can only be made more livable

Updated: 2012-11-28 10:28
By Zhu Yuan ( China Daily)

If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap; if you want happiness for a day, go fishing; if you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune; if you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone else. This is what happiness is all about, at least for some. This is also what I want to say to the reporters from China Central Television, who kept asking people the question: "Are you happy?"

"I don't know" is the initial answer Nobel literature laureate Mo Yan gave to this question. This is a simple but philosophical one. Being happy is theoretically opposite to being unhappy. But in reality not being unhappy does not necessarily mean being happy. Most of the time I feel neither happy nor unhappy.

Special: Mo Yan

Of course, the CCTV anchor must have wanted Mo Yan to say that he was extremely happy after winning the Nobel Prize in literature. But she forgot that for a novelist who has dedicated himself to his writing without ever bothering about the money his writing would bring him, the fortune that came with the prize would not give him greater happiness than the recognition of his status as a great master of literature. Perhaps what Mo Yan felt was far beyond what the word "happy" can express.

Another possibility is that although he might have felt extremely happy the moment he got the news, the disruption to his writing and even his normal life caused by the media interest has greatly compromised his feeling of happiness.

The reality is that people are neither happy nor unhappy most of the time. Even wealthy people do not always feel happy and even the happiest-go-lucky person will feel unhappy sometimes.

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