It can seem—and it has to me—that if happiness studies show lowered expectations are key to the relatively greater happiness of, say, The Danes, why not drop them altogether?

But expectations of some level can keep us motivated, expecting just a little consistency or even decency can hold the cads and careless on our lives accountable. Even holding ourselves accountable is one small reason to have a base level of expectation. So, not the moon, but some kind of light, however small.