Monday, November 23, 2009

Scientific happiness studies are missing the point.

"The fundamental error of the science - and the reason why so many of its recommendations sound trivial or just confused - is the assumption that happiness is the same as positive emotion. Researchers are continuously drawn back to this idea since it makes happiness measurable."

So says Mark Vernon (who also writes the excellent "Philosophy and Life Blog"), channeling Robert Schoch's book The Secrets of Happiness: Three Thousand Years of Searching for the Good Life.

The whole article is well worth reading and worth keeping in mind the next time someone tries to tell you that researchers have discovered that people who do such-and-such are "happier" than people who do so-and-so.


Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

The cheerful life v. the meaningful life. The American cultural balance is heavily weighted toward the former.

Anonymous said...

Please check out these related references on Happiness as the primary drive and urge of ALL beings, not just us humans.