Why do we chase happiness?

If each emotion we experience is for a reason then why do we try to not to experience some of them as they are? Why there is a race for happiness out of the entire range of emotions? Is it a new phenomena or has the happiness always been sought the most? Is it a human need ?

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Happiness consists of moments; it is not an emotion which can be experienced 24/7, muchless possessed. The very act of chasing happiness can drive it away, because pleasure and happiness are not one and the same. I like the thoughts of Lao Tzu, who likened happiness to a butterfly which if chased would elude you, but if you remained still and quiet, would come and light on your shoulder...

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