6/2 (五) 思,英語討論會 11: Knowing what’s nice

Discussion Question: What is happiness?

Questions to Think About:
1. Who or what in your life make you feel positive?
2. Who or what in your life makes you feel capable and strong?
3. Who or what in your life makes it feel easy to be alive?

4. Who or what in your life make you feel inadequate?
5. Who or what in your life makes you feel pessimistic?
6. Who or what in your life makes things feel too complicated to deal with?

7. Do your friends support your choice of job? of partner? of living situation?
8. Does your family support your choice of job? of partner? of living situation?

9. When should you listen to other people, and when should you listen to your heart?

10. How do you feel about the world/society/Taiwan after you’ve watched the news at lunchtime?
11. How do you feel when you’ve heard a story where someone has made a huge mistake?
12. How do you feel when your friend tells you about something good in their life?

13. What’s the difference between desire and expectation?
14. Does desire influence happiness?
15. Does expectation influence happiness?

16. How do you know when you have enough money?
17. How do you know when to be satisfied with what you have?
18. How do you know when something is good for you? good for everyone?
19. How do you know when you’re happy?

20. How do you appreciate where you are in your life?

Discussion Question: What is happiness?


Excerpt 1:
http://www.vonnegutweb.com/archives/arc_nice.html
by Kurt Vonnegut
 November 6, 2003

1. It must be kind of spooky to be a student or teacher in a university as great as this one, with its libraries and laboratories and lecture halls, while knowing it is within the borders of a nation where wisdom, reason, knowledge and truth no longer apply.

2. I realize that some of you may have come in hopes of hearing tips on how to become a professional writer. I say to you, ''If you really want to hurt your parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be a homosexual, the least you can do is go into the arts. But do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites, standing for absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.''

3. But actually, to practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it. Dance on your way out of here. Sing on your way out of here. Write a love poem when you get home. Draw a picture of your bed or roommate.

4. And hey, listen: A sappy woman sent me a letter a few years back. She knew I was sappy, too, which is to say a lifelong northern Democrat in the Franklin Delano Roosevelt mode, a friend of the working stiffs. She was about to have a baby, not mine, and wished to know if it was a bad thing to bring such a sweet and innocent creature into a world as bad as this one is. I replied that what made being alive almost worthwhile for me, besides music, was all the saints I met, who could be anywhere. By saints I meant people who behaved decently in a strikingly indecent society. Perhaps some of you are or will become saints for her child to meet.

5. And now I want to tell you about my late Uncle Alex. He was my father’s kid brother, a childless graduate of Harvard who was an honest life insurance salesman in Indianapolis. He was well-read and wise. And his principal complaint about other human beings was that they so seldom noticed it when they were happy. So when we were drinking lemonade under an apple tree in the summer, say, and talking lazily about this and that, almost buzzing like honeybees, Uncle Alex would suddenly interrupt the agreeable blather to exclaim, "If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is."

6. So I do the same now, and so do my kids and grandkids. And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, "If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is."

7. That’s one favor I’ve asked of you.

8. Now I’ve got another one, a show of hands. How many of you have had a teacher at any point in your entire education who made you happier to be alive, prouder to be alive than you had previously believed possible? Now please say the name of that teacher out loud to someone sitting or standing near you.

9. OK? All done? "If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is."

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