Monday, August 22, 2011

Why are we happy(?) or why we are happy

First of all, just say the word, "Happy" a few times.

Happy... happy, happy, happy, happy happy happy, happyhappyhappyhappy....

Starts to sound really weird at some point. Anyway....

Dan Gilbert Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert says our beliefs about what will make us happy are often wrong -- a premise he supports with intriguing research, and explains in his accessible and unexpectedly funny book, "Stumbling on Happiness".

Dan says we have this marvelous capability our distant evolutionary ancestors didn't have. Like with pilots who practice in flight simulators, we can practice our possible actions in our minds before hand and work out what we want or should do.

He also said that his research has shown that empathetically, our "simulators" are faulty. He gives an example of asking who would prefer which of these photos in relation to being happy: someone winning a lotto, or a man becoming a paraplegic. He said research showed that a year later, but individuals were similarly happy. But we choose, and he said, everyone always chooses, the lotto winner picture. But on the criteria of who is happier alone, they are equal in reality. But even in talking about it now, we still think that is incorrect; and it is his contention that this is a perfect example of our how brains use inaccurate thinking.

From his web site for his book:

"What would you do right now if you learned that you were going to die in ten minutes? Would you race upstairs and light that Marlboro you've been hiding in your sock drawer since the Ford administration? Would you waltz into your boss's office and present him with a detailed description of his personal defects? Would you drive out to that steakhouse near the new mall and order a T-bone, medium rare, with an extra side of the really bad cholesterol? Hard to say, of course, but of all the things you might do in your final ten minutes, it's a pretty safe bet that few of them are things you actually did today."


And, check this out, Synthetic Happiness is different than Real Happiness. This might be a book to check out this summer. While you still have time, to search out that Real Happiness you deep down, really want. There's still time....

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