01/13/2014 08:39 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Daniel Gilbert And Laurie Anderson Reflect On The Realistic Pursuit Of Happiness

How do you define happiness -- and is it realistic?

Each one of us has a different idea of what it means to be happy. For some, it's solace in a warm cup of tea and a few relaxed moments. For others, it's a day full of family activities. But no matter its meaning, is the definition of happiness the same for everyone? According to psychologist Daniel Gilbert, it is possible to succinctly describe happiness -- without changing its personal meaning.

"The best definition I've ever stumbled on is it's what you're experiencing when you don't want things to be different than they are," Gilbert said.

Gilbert spoke with performance artist Laurie Anderson about reality and how our perception of certain moments shape what we believe to be true -- including why we feel happy and the time in which it occurs. Gilbert explained that what we're really seeing is a composition of scenes and moments sewn together, which are the main influencers of how we feel and when we feel it.

"The brain's job is to fool you," Gilbert said. "Our brains do create this fiction called the present ... [but] the present is what human beings bring to time."

For more on reality and the pursuit of happiness, check out the video above.

happy meal

Experience these fascinating conversations LIVE at the Rubin Museum in New York. Visit www.rmanyc.org/programs. The 50th ticket buyer referred from Huffington Post GPS for the Soul receives a free catalogue Worlds of Transformation: Tibetan Art of Wisdom and Compassion.



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