Materialism and Satisfaction


Materialism and Satisfaction

Materialism and Satisfaction - which has more significamce?

Materialism Materialism refers to considering materialistic things and physical components rather than spiritual and moral values. It contrasts wit


Materialism refers to considering materialistic things and physical components rather than spiritual and moral values. It contrasts with the philosophy of idealism and similar to the philosophy of physicalism.

The philosophy of materialism states that mind and consciousness are by-products or epiphenomena of material processes (such as the biochemistry of the human brain and nervous system), without which they cannot exist.

Types Of Materialist Theory

Mechanical materialism is the theory that the world consists entirely of hard, messy material objects, which, though perhaps imperceptibly small, are otherwise like such things as stones. (A slight modification is to allow the void—or space—to exist also in its own right.) These objects interact in the sort of way that stones do: by impact and possibly also by gravitational attraction. The theory denies that immaterial or immaterial things (such as minds) exist or else explains them away as being material things or motions of material things.

Materialism is closely related to physicalism—the view that all that exists is ultimately physical. Philosophical physicalism has evolved from materialism with the theories of the physical sciences to incorporate more sophisticated notions of physicality than mere ordinary matter (e.g. spacetime, physical energies and forces, and dark matter). Thus, the term physicalism is preferred over materialism by some, while others use the terms as if they were synonymous.


Satisfaction means the feeling of pleasure that you have when you have done, got or achieved what you wanted; something that gives you this feeling

What is the Meaning of Life Satisfaction?

Life satisfaction is a bit more complex than it seems; the term is sometimes used interchangeably with happiness, but they are indeed two separate concepts. Life satisfaction is the evaluation of one’s life as a whole, not simply one’s current level of happiness.

There are a few different working definitions of life satisfaction, including well-being and life satisfaction researcher Ed Diener’s:

“An overall assessment of feelings and attitudes about one’s life at a particular point in time ranging from negative to positive” (Buetell, 2006).

Another popular definition of life satisfaction comes from another highly regarded life satisfaction scholar, Ruut Veenhoven:

“Life satisfaction is the degree to which a person positively evaluates the overall quality of his/her life as a whole. In other words, how much the person likes the life he/she leads” (1996).

Finally, Ellison and colleagues define life satisfaction as:

“A cognitive assessment of an underlying state thought to be relatively consistent and influenced by social factors” (1989).

Although there are small differences between the definitions, the underlying idea is the same: life satisfaction refers to an individual’s overall feelings about his or her life. In other words, life satisfaction isa global evaluation rather than one that is grounded at any specific point in time or any specific domain.

Is There a Difference Between Happiness and Life Satisfaction?

Although related, happiness and life satisfaction are not the same things.

Happiness is an immediate, in-the-moment experience; although enjoyable, it is ultimately fleeting. A healthy life certainly includes moments of happiness, but happiness alone usually does not make for a fulfilling and satisfying life.

According to Daniel Gilbert, professor of Psychology at Harvard University, the meaning of happiness is “anything we pleased” (Gilbert, 2009). It is a more transitory construct than life satisfaction and can be triggered by any of a huge number of events, activities, or thoughts.

Life satisfaction is not only more stable and long-lived than happiness, it is also broader in scope. It is our general feeling about our life and how pleased we are with how it’s going. Many factors contribute to life satisfaction from several domains, including work, romantic relationships, relationships with family and friends, personal development, health and wellness, and others.

Another difference between happiness and life satisfaction is that the latter is not based on a criterion that researchers deem to be important, but instead on your cognitive judgments of the factors that you consider to be most valuable.

This is also the main difference between well-being and life satisfaction; many scales produce great measures of a person’s well-being, but well-being is generally more strictly defined and based on specific variables.

Life Satisfaction Theory and Psychology

There are two main types of theories about life satisfaction:

Bottom-up theories: life satisfaction as a result of satisfaction in the many domains of life.

Top-down theories: life satisfaction as an influencer of domain-specific satisfaction (Heady, Veenhoven, & Wearing, 1991).

Bottom-up theories hold that we experience satisfaction in many domains of life, like work, relationships, family and friends, personal development, and health and fitness. Our satisfaction with our lives in these areas combines to create our overall life satisfaction.

On the other hand, top-down theories state that our overall life satisfaction influences (or even determines) our life satisfaction in the many different domains. This debate is ongoing, but for most people, it is enough to know that overall life satisfaction and satisfaction in the multiple domains of life are closely related.

The theories and discussions that are drawing more interest are those about how the mechanism of evaluating one’s life works. How do we decide that we are satisfied with our lives? How do we determine that we are not?

Researcher Jussi Suikkanen’s theory of life satisfaction is an intriguing one: a person is satisfied with her life when “a more informed and rational hypothetical version of her” would judge that her life fulfills her ideal life-plan (2011). This theory avoids one of the main issues that plague the simpler version of this theory—that a person is happy when she judges that her life fulfills her ideal life-plan.

The reason this simpler version of the theory fails to truly capture life satisfaction is that it could inappropriately indicate life satisfaction in a person who is only temporarily or spontaneously happy but does not make any effort to consider how her life is going (Suikkanen, 2011). There’s certainly nothing wrong with being spontaneously happy, but it takes more than just feeling momentarily happy to have life satisfaction!

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