Sunday, February 26, 2006


Being happy or "the right to pursue happiness" is not something that comes easy because I was taught that I should earn my happiness and feel guilt not only achieving it but even striving for it, sigh. In the big scheme of things, reaching for happiness is a relatively recent concept. Check out "Happiness: A History" by DarrinMcMahon (the reviews are fun, those-who-bought-this-book-also-bought list is fun too).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was intrigued by the review of this book in the New Yorker. I first started to think about 'happiness' in the abstract while reading about ethics. For example, the main goal of utilitarian ethics is “to promote the greatest happiness for the greatest number." Is 'happiness' a suitable metric by which to gauge the effectiveness of an ethical system? I think not, at least not by itself. First, it appears that happiness is strongly nonlinear; according to Haidt, “It’s better to win the lottery than to break your neck, but not by as much as you’d think…within a year, lottery winners and paraplegics have both (on average) returned most of the way to their baseline levels of happiness”. Second, taking the utilitarian mantra to its extreme could lead one to conclude that a Matrix-like state of eternal blissful somnolence would be the best solution for a society.

11:05 AM  

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