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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Why don't we throw in the Kitchen Sink... Or should we also blame happiness for some part of our national mess?

I was listening to NPR yesterday on the way to work when an interview with Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert came on.

Dr Gilbert discussed how we get much happier as we age; I have read this before.

Now one thing any good psychologist will tell you is people do not like to change when they are comfortable.

So keeping happiness as your reference viewpoint, I encourage you to read this and think about it a little bit... And you can just imagine what the numbers look like for Medicare.

Do you think people who need to change this will want to change when they are currently happy and getting happier?

Yet are they riding a dead horse and simply do not know it?

I really do have to agree with books like this.

Happiness: zero-sum? ;-)


Thai said...

For comments

Dink said...

From yesterday:

Why did google say Newton's birthday was 1/4 instead of 12/25? Sigh. A quest for another day.

Today's post:

It is really fascinating how people predict future events. I'm really surprised how others tend to predict a single outcome instead of a range of possible outcomes. And that the single outcome that they choose tends to be wildly optimistic or theatrically negative. Perhaps aging increases happiness since the survivors are essentially more realistic estimators so they avoid disillusionment and anxiety. Nihilism increases longevity! ;)

Quicksilver note: I was just remembering how much I liked the Robert Hooke character and the Roger Comstock character. Happy maniacs.

Another note: Stephenson wrote the entire series by hand; I saw the stacks of paper in the Sci Fi Museum downtown. He started the book with an incantation to his muse. In short, he went insane for this series. I read he has a forge (sp?) in his basement to make swords so he may have already been a little "off". He grew up in Maryland and moved to Seattle since his wife did her residency at one of the hospitals around here. I've never been to one of his book signings; I'm afraid he'll call security since I'd likely become an incoherent fool.

Debra said...

I don't think that happiness increases with age. I hate surveys of any kind. They blithely ignore the subtleties of how questions are formulated.
I don't think that happiness increases with age, but I DO think that expectations, and chest beating "me me me" goes down with age. That is a little more nuanced way of seeing the phenomenon.
Freud said that newborns, children, and the young, because they lacked a strong sense of just what mortality means, tended to not hang on to life as much as older folks who had a pretty good idea of mortality. (normal of course, since when you're young that there body is rather quiet, and doesn't make itself heard or felt as much, thus declining to intrude on your consciousness, right ?)
For optimism, and Barbara, I must say that Barbara sounds a hell of a lot like Katha Pollitt to me, over at the Nation.
In French, we say "pisse-vinaigre". That means, someone who pisses vinager. You get the idea ?
Barbara wants to luxuriate in her consciously antireligious, but surreptitiously religious liberalism (and griping).
Every advantage has its disadvantage, and vice versa (zero sums, right, Thai ?).
I hope that Barbara will manage to work through HER breast cancer as well as my Mama, the one who Jesus spoke to, did.
Keep on griping, Barbara.
Don't gripe, Thai. While I don't care for the self help books, at least the positive spirit is dissipating at least two centuries of depressed chiantific materialism.
And Barbara may not like it, but MAGIC is here to stay again.

Debra said...

I looked at the transcript, Thai (something that I often don't do, because if it's an hour long show, then... I get restless.)
That is one big crock of shit.
My turn to gripe.
When I see interviews with spychologists, I am reminded why I set up practice as a spychanalyst, and NOT a spychologist.
There's just too much collusion between "behavioral science" and political power. And spychology has about as much legitimacy for me as statistics, and you know my position on that one.
Oddly enough... I rather agree with Louise on this dossier, although most of my spychanalyst friends would shoot me if they knew.
I bought a book for my son called "Medicine of the Person" by Dr Paul Tournier, written in the 1940's or so. Tournier's books are much more available in the States than in France (he was Swiss).
He was a Christian G.P., I think, and he obtained some pretty amazing results with his approach to the total person, and the spiritual dimension of his patients.
Check it out, Thai.
You need some... nonconsensual thinking sometimes. Something to take you out of fractals and sci-fi.

The Most Fabulous Objects In The World

  • Hitchhiker's Guide To The Universe trilogy
  • Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • Flight of the Conchords
  • Time Bandits