Torbjörn Tännsjö

The day starts when my alarm clock goes off. I leave a state of dreamless sleep and, for a moment, my situation is worse than it would have been, had the alarm bell remained silent. When I brush my teeth I begin to see some meaning in my life, however, and as soon as I taste my morning coffee the situation looks quite pleasant. However, once I start to read the morning newspaper things become worse. I am reminded of the miserable state of the world (in many respects). In particular, when I read about a famine in the aftermath of a war in Sudan, I feel despair. But when I catch the tube and embark on my journey to work, once again I feel fine. However, when I leave the tube station near my office, I see a child being knocked over by a car. I rush to her rescue and for a short while I stand there, holding the unconscious child in my arms, feeling the weight of her head on my shoulder. I feel miserable. An ambulance arrives and the child is taken care of. I continue my walk to my office. I start preparing a lecture. I call the hospital and learn that the child has not been injured seriously. I give my lecture and get a stimulating response from my audience. I go home by tube and prepare the dinner. My wife, who is a nurse at the hospital, returns home in the evening. We have dinner together, I tell her about the accident, and we go to bed early. The last thing I feel, as wakefulness merges into unconsciousness, is intense well-being.

Torbjörn Tännsjö, ‘Narrow Hedonism’, Journal of Happiness Studies, vol. 8, no. 1 (March, 2007), pp. 81-82