postTuesday, 22 January 2008

Not So Great Expectations

What do you expect from an article about expectations? Hopefully not much... other than some really neat philosophy that is!

Who cares if he has nothing to do with expectations, Gizmo is cool. Expectations play a major part in our lives. Probably far greater than most of us realize. Somewhere along the course of our existence a ludicrous amount of expectations are implanted into us. Some of these come from formal systems of thought such as religion and art, while others spurn from social interaction and advertising. One could quite easily write a book about the various ways we become entwined with expectations but that is not the purpose of this post.

Rather I would like to take the opportunity to look at expectations and their relationship with pleasure. It is clear that there is a definite link between the two. If ones expectations are met or exceeded there is usually some form of pleasure felt. On the other hand if ones expectations are not met there is usually some form of negative emotion invoked.

One of these negative emotions is anger. If you buy a new DVD player and it doesn't work you will get angry. It doesn't matter if you brought a region 1 DVD player when all your DVD's are region 2, what matters is that you expected your DVD player to play your DVD's. So at first your anger will be directed at your DVD player but then when your realize that it was your mistake you may redirect your anger upon yourself or to the sales-assistant who assured you that it would work with region 2 DVD's.

But maybe you don't get angry. Maybe instead you become disappointed and maybe this leads to serious depression. The point is that when expectations are not met some form of negative emotions usually consume us and obviously this is a relative process – the higher ones expectations and the less they are met the more negative the reaction.

I'm sure almost everyone has been in a situation when they have received test results back and have been rather pleased with their mediocre pass, only to hear how disappointed someone who got 89% is that they didn't get over 90%.

Now if one wanted to make some kind of meta-claim it could be, “Expectations are the root of all evil”. This might be a bit extreme but hey all meta-claims are. Anyway it is fairly safe to say that if you want to enjoy life more lower your expectations.

1 comment:

--Bamboo Blitz-- said...

So true, and this is especially apparent during New Year's Eve or even one's wedding. Once you set-apart one day to be the "biggest party of the year" (ie. New Year's) or the "best day of your life" (ie. your wedding), people become even more distraught when things don't go as planned--like their whole world depended on that one moment or something....

graphical counter