The Meaning of Happiness This Emotional Life - PBS

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The Meaning of Happiness

Perspective Overview

  1. Happiness demystified

    Award-winning comedian, actor, and writer Larry David explains why religious people are happier and reveals two essential elements of happiness.

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  2. Life's a rigged game

    Cartoonist Roz Chast claims that life is a "rigged game" and wonders if happiness is even possible.

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  3. Fleeting moment or state of being?

    America Ferrera ponders whether happiness is an experience that comes and goes or perhaps is something more lasting.

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  4. The $20M key to happiness

    For Chevy Chase, happiness is found in his family and pets...well, maybe not all the pets.

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  5. That juicy state of happiness

    For Alanis Morissette, happiness is a temporary but "juicy" state.

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  6. Moments of absolute absorption

    Writer Adam Gopnik finds happiness in being "vigilantly absorbed in some activity."

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  7. Quit wasting your time

    Comedian Joan Rivers claims we've got too much time on our hands to think about whether or not we are happy.

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  8. Happiness? What happiness?

    For actor John Leguizamo, happiness is finding enjoyment in life's struggles.

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  9. A cookie with Russy

    Rev Run finds happiness in sharing a cookie with his son.

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  10. Porcupine Love

    Elizabeth Gilbert on relationships

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The Meaning of Happiness

The Meaning of Happiness Some well-known creative people who participated in This Emotional Life offer their perspectives on happiness.

To actor John Leguizamo, happiness is dealing with life’s difficulties; to recording artist Rev Run, it’s sharing a cookie with his son; and to writer Elizabeth Gilbert, it’s creating her own sense of humanity. Some well-known creative people who participated in This Emotional Life offer their perspectives on happiness.

  1. Larry David

    Chapter 1: Larry David

    Happiness demystified
    According to Larry David, religious people are happier, at least as long as they are having sex and enjoying their jobs.

  2. Roz Chast

    Chapter 2: Roz Chast

    Life's a rigged game
    Cartoonist Roz Chast claims that life is a "rigged game" and wonders if happiness is even possible.

  3. America Ferrera

    Chapter 3: America Ferrera

    Fleeting moment or state of being?
    America Ferrera ponders whether happiness is an experience that comes and goes or perhaps is something more lasting.

  4. Chevy Chase

    Chapter 4: Chevy Chase

    The $20M key to happiness
    For Chevy Chase, happiness is found in his family and pets...well, maybe not all the pets.

  5. Alanis Morissette

    Chapter 5: Alanis Morissette

    That juicy state of happiness
    For Alanis Morissette, happiness is a temporary but "juicy" state.

  6. Adam Gopnik

    Chapter 6: Adam Gopnik

    Moments of absolute absorption
    Writer Adam Gopnik finds happiness in being "vigilantly absorbed in some activity."

  7. Joan Rivers

    Chapter 7: Joan Rivers

    Quit wasting your time
    Comedian Joan Rivers claims we've got too much time on our hands.

  8. John Leguizamo

    Chapter 8: John Leguizamo

    Happiness? What happiness?
    For actor John Leguizamo, happiness is all about learning to love life's struggles.

  9. Rev Run

    Chapter 9: Rev Run

    A cookie with Russy

    Rev Run finds happiness in sharing a cookie with his son.

  10. Elizabeth Gilbert

    Chapter 10: Elizabeth Gilbert

    Porcupine love
    Elizabeth Gilbert finds the secret of happiness in Schopenhauer's story of the relationships of porcupines.