Buried in an article titled “What makes women happy?” I found a bit about desire vs. happiness that gave me a framework for something I’ve been mulling recently. Much of the article could be a rant against accumulation of “stuff”: when the possessions don’t work, we go after yet more possessions. Social scientists call it the hedonic treadmill. … we keep feeding ourselves the wrong things for happiness. Still, the important bit is this: we might desire things that don’t make us happy. I talked to Alexis about the article. She readily identified with this. I like the comparison that Alexis made. She said we desire doughnuts, but they don’t make us happy. Meanwhile, I’ve gotten a lot of satisfaction from cycling 20 miles 3-4 times a week, but it isn’t something that I might desire. When I fill my days with leisure, I tend to be less happy than the days where I work and accomplish something — like the room we just finished painting. If I spend time interacting with my children, I end up feeling better emotionally than if I spend all day tooling around the Internet, going wherever my desire leads me. I’m not sure if this is what is meant by the “hedonic treadmill,” but it works for me. Happiness doesn’t just happen when I try to fill my desires. What I desire doesn’t provide fulfillment. Of course, you should understand that when I think about “desire,” I have in mind the Orthodox concept of Passion. That way of thinking has been helpful to me to begin to discover that happiness is something I must choose to actively pursue rather than an emotion that I can just passivly enjoy.