Putting altruism at the forefront of happiness

About three weeks ago my friend James Gillum introduced me to an abstract philosophical idea called Sunny Munny.

He was hiking with his dad when the magical four syllables—Sun-ny-Mun-ny—randomly climbed up from the depths of his brain.

Immediately, James saw the power the words contained. He proceeded to turn them into the verbal manifestation of a life philosophy. He sent me a text message “Sunny Munny!” It began.

Sunny Munny revolves around the premise that there is a significant amount of untapped happiness in the world; happiness that is repressed by an underlying current of seemingly acceptable and expected negativity, or at least cautiousness.

Our world is huge, and confusing, with tons of lies and truths, scattered in the same basket, all the same color. It’s scary.

It has become the status quo–or maybe it’s always been normal for a person to repress their fear of all the confusion, and proceed to fill the mental void which consequently appears with a false and usually callous sense of understanding.

Sunny Munny is essentially the refusal to repress the fear and to instead confront it head on; to acknowledge the frightening level of difficulty of being truthful in a gaudily confusing world and resist throwing in the towel and instead keep trudging through the long manual of life while keeping in mind that the one thing in the manual of life that is not covered, the one thing that is unspoken, is the fact that while you’re reading, you must smile.

I bet you’re confused. One, because I write weirdly. And two, because Sunny Munny is innately vague—but what’s an esoteric, semi-comical philosophical idea without blatant ambiguity?

So, let me try to explain Sunny Munny in a different way; by listing things that are Sunny Munny…

Helping someone pick up a broken plate in the DC because you realize they are in an awkward state of emotional weakness and your help will make them feel less alone is Sunny Munny. Doing a handstand in public just because you have a visceral desire to do a handstand is Sunny Munny.

Holding the door for everyone in your group and making the majority of them smile just by having love in your eyes is Sunny Munny.

Realizing books are awesome and the library has thousands of them is Sunny Munny.  Paying for the next person in line’s coffee is Sunny Munny. Everything that the group Improv Everywhere has ever done is Sunny Munny.

So that’s Sunny Munny. And for the past three weeks, James and I, as well as our small group of friends, kept it to ourselves, hoarding the truth contained in the two words, choosing exclusivity over altruism. But now I feel an obligation, I feel a duty to inform the public; to let people in on it.

It should be noted, a few of the Sunny Munny OGs I talked to didn’t want this article to be published; they didn’t want Sunny Munny to be made public.

They feared it would become the next YOLO. I say to them, and all the doubters, Sunny Munny is what YOLO wishes it could be. It is YOLO’s cooler, more mentally-stable younger brother. It will sustain.

And here we are. The article that you just read, in The Equinox, published for the entire world to see.

I took the step. I did this for you. Sunny Munny, in all its grandeur, the somewhat bizarre, admittedly comical, but ultimately helpful verbal manifestation of our philosophy—“Sunny Munny!”—is public knowledge.

I encourage you and your group of friends to embrace the fact that this is here for you, and be a part of Sunny Munny by doing the one thing you need to do to participate… whenever anything Sunny Munny happens, put two peace signs in the air, Richard Nixon style, and proclaim “Sunny Munny” in a loud, lively voice.

Your life will be changed for the better.


Dylan Morrill can be contacted at



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