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great generation or greatest generation?

Now is the time for a less selfish capitalism - "we should stop the worship of money and create a more humane society where the quality of human experience is the criterion... accelerated economic growth is not a goal for which we should make large sacrifices." Lord Layard challenges the orthodoxy; perhaps it's time to rein in the banks and try trickle-up bailouts? btw Richard Layard's 2003 LSE happiness lectures I think were pretty influential in reorienting economics back towards a more 'utility-based' approach in recent years, cf. Giddens on 'third way' politics re: Blair, New Labour and now Brown, viz. "to build tomorrow today..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 15, 2009 - 14 comments

The voices of happiness

What does happiness sound like? Maybe Anna knows. Charles Spearin explores. Mrs. Morris - Vanessa [more inside]
posted by bigmusic on Feb 15, 2009 - 3 comments

money can't buy happiness? well, actually it might.

money can't buy happiness? well, actually it might (NYT). [more inside]
posted by krautland on May 5, 2008 - 20 comments

The Good Life

Do you remember those days when mom and dad used to pack you up in the back of the station wagon and drive you to grandma's and grandpa's? Or when you were a dreamer with nothing else on your mind but to escape from the one street town to the big city? Have you ever dreamed of going back, maybe to settle down, get in touch with your roots, and start a new life for yourself. Well, here's your chance. Why not just get up and do it this time. Sure, it's not going to be easy, but maybe it's the change you've been looking for. On the other hand, maybe not, so be advised. But whatever you decide, it sure does look like a way of life that does hold a lot of potential. [more inside]
posted by hadjiboy on Apr 11, 2008 - 42 comments

Gay cuisine - is it tops?

GayHappinessFilter: Early studies on the subject concluded that "heterosexual relationships may have a great deal to learn from homosexual relationships." (pdf) But even so, do gay relationships tend to end sooner? Perhaps, but according to recent research, gay and lesbian couples are just as committed in their relationships as heterosexuals. (pdf) In fact, same-sex couples are actually more satisfied with their relationships, (pdf) and reported more positive feelings toward their partners and less conflict than heterosexual married couples. (Probably just as well, since just because you can be a gay newlywed doesn’t necessarily mean you can be a gay divorcee.) So what’s the secret to gay happiness? Most likely not ”the most satisfying orgasm you can get ... pure sexuality ... almost like pure heroin,” although that’s a heck of an endorsement from a “researcher” who claims to be against it.
posted by kyrademon on Jan 24, 2008 - 35 comments

"The road to hell is paved with happy plans."

In Praise Of Melancholy. We are eradicating a major cultural force, the muse behind much art and poetry and music. We are annihilating melancholia. Does an overemphasis on the pursuit of happiness cause us to miss an essential part of a full life? Via.
posted by amyms on Jan 16, 2008 - 83 comments

10.8% say, "shove it."

How depressing is your job? The Office of Applied Studies, a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, released a report ranking various occupations in order of the number of depressive episodes experienced by workers. "Personal Care & Service" occupations (defined by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics here) top the list. One wonders if these are the occupations contributing to the growth of the so-called "service economy," and if so, are we heading for a deepening national malaise?
posted by univac on Oct 13, 2007 - 51 comments

Jonathan Haidt on the "Five Foundations" of Morality

"From a review of the anthropological and evolutionary literatures [Edge.org]... there were three best candidates for being additional psychological foundations of morality [embedded video], beyond harm/care and fairness/justice. These three we label as ingroup/loyalty (which may have evolved from the long history of cross-group or sub-group competition...); authority/respect (which may have evolved from the long history of primate hierarchy, modified by cultural limitations on power and bullying...), and purity/sanctity, which may be a much more recent system, growing out of the uniquely human emotion of disgust, which seems to give people feelings that some ways of living and acting are higher, more noble, and less carnal than others. [more inside]
posted by McLir on Sep 11, 2007 - 19 comments

From Happiness to Disaster

The International Disaster Database provides a complete summary of natural and technological disasters from 1900 to 2006. You can see disaster summaries by country or by disaster, such as volcanoes, industrial accidents, transportation accidents, or floods, along with even more detailed data. If this is too much, the tonic is the World Database on Happiness which will allow you to look at happiness trends among countries and happiness maps [prev.].
posted by blahblahblah on Jul 26, 2007 - 2 comments

The Happy Planet Index: a Better Way to Measure Well-Being?

The Happy Planet Index presents an alternative to GDP for measuring standard of living. It ranks countries by measuring life expectancy and self-reported life satisfaction against an "ecological footprint" needed to support that country's lifestyle. The press release claims that well-being is not based on high levels of consumption, but many don't agree. Full report in PDF here. Vanuatu tops the charts, while Zimbabwe and Swaziland lie at bottom. Critiques here, here, here, and here. A critique of happiness indices generally here.
posted by shivohum on Jun 3, 2007 - 19 comments

Vibraphone Orchestra

Vibraphone Orchestra
posted by phrontist on Apr 8, 2007 - 18 comments

We Used To Get Together And Really Let Our Hair Down...

Remember When We Used To Have Fun? A look into the causes of modern unhappiness by Barbara Ehrenreich, author of "Nickel and Dimed."
posted by amyms on Apr 3, 2007 - 73 comments

The Pursuit of Happyness II: This time, it's a cross-cultural documentary

Three small classes of high school students, one in Watsonville, California, one in Jos, Nigeria, and one in Dharamsala, India, are currently collaborating on "Project Happiness". The students are "exchanging their thoughts about what happiness is, and how to behave in ways that promote happiness all around them," drawing on the Dalai Lama's Ethics for the New Millennium (useful 50-page pdf study guide; positive review from Christian Century magazine). In their work creating a curriculum for the book, the students communicate via email, a blog, and videos (an instructor in India describes the project's focus; a "what life is like here" video from India). The podcast section of the official site currently features just one introductory video posted a few weeks ago. The project will culminate in a meeting of all three classes in March 2007 in Dharamsala. A book and a PBS documentary are planned.
posted by ibmcginty on Dec 28, 2006 - 5 comments

I'll teach you to be happy. I'll teach your grandmother to suck eggs!

Program Yourself (Youtube link. Quicktime version) is one in a series of a music videos by Pete Moraites. Other movies in the series include Twitterpation (QT), Ragnarok-n-Roll (QT), and Linetwine (QT).
posted by aubilenon on Sep 27, 2006 - 6 comments

The World Map of Happiness

Danes top world happiness ranking. "Piecing together information from more than 100 studies in the growing field of happiness research, a British psychologist has produced what he says is the first world map of happiness." The study ranks each country based on it's SWL (Satisfaction with Life, calculated from data published by the New Economics Foundation) and contrasts it with statistics such as Life Expectancy, GDP per capita and the level of Access to Education.
posted by heylight on Jul 30, 2006 - 61 comments

The miserable and the horrible.

Some dark thoughts about happiness.
posted by Sticherbeast on Jul 10, 2006 - 29 comments

A reference point; a relative state of mind to which we compare other emotions. Being happy is one of our ultimate goals.

!!Happiness!!
posted by jne1813 on Jun 18, 2006 - 24 comments

Money Can't Buy Me Love

Happiness [pdf] A financial analysis.
posted by onalark on May 7, 2006 - 75 comments

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Author of the excellent book "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience" which investigates the phenomenon of the happiness of doing, how the balance between stress/anxiety and slack/boredom effect experience and happiness, and how we can all use it to our advantage.
posted by loquacious on Mar 22, 2006 - 32 comments

Happiness poll results are in

The happiness poll results are in and to no one's surprise, rich people are happier than poor people. Also, Republicans are happier than Democrats.
posted by mr_crash_davis on Mar 16, 2006 - 65 comments

Joy! I earn more than happiness scientists!

Reasons to be Cheerful : (mostly PDFs) You earn less than I do. I live in Malta. I am not single. I pay high tax rates. I believe in God. I don't watch TV. Abortion is legal where I live. And other lessons from the new science of hippiness happiness. (Sort of mentioned here.)
posted by DirtyCreature on Jan 31, 2006 - 17 comments

Ye Olde Graphics Shoppe.

Ye Olde Graphics Shoppe. We hope you will find something here to your liking. You will notice some changes and additions and a new look. We have decided to simplify things rather than have nonsense pages.....too many really :-)) We have a NEW Graphics Assistant Lady Belle ho has added some terrific new dusting graphics and page sets for you to enjoy.
posted by Count Ziggurat on Nov 6, 2005 - 46 comments

GDP? GNH? GPI?

How happy are you? Today's NYT has a great article on alternate methods of analyzing the overall well-being of a country, focusing on Bhutan, the largely Buddhist country whose king put forth an alternative to the capitalist-centric Gross Domestic Product: Gross National Happiness. Not only does it fit in with Buddhist ideals, but organizations like the World Values Survey have come to some (not-so) surprising findings regarding the correlation between wealth and happiness. There are similar movements cropping up around the world, such as Australia's Genuine Progress Indicator, which attempts to quantify non-material progress rather than rely on subjective interpretations of happiness. How do you measure your own happiness?
posted by mkultra on Oct 4, 2005 - 49 comments

the idler

AH, IS THIS NOT HAPPINESS "Chin Shengt’an was a 17th century playwright who once found himself stranded with a friend in a temple for ten days because of a rainstorm. While thus secluded, the pair compiled a list of the truly happy moments in life. The wonderful thing about Chin’s Happy Moments is their lack of piety. Material pleasures are not rejected in favour of loftier ones." Lovely elegant idea. If you need an antidote be sure to also look at Crap Jobs and Crap Holidays.
posted by milkwood on Jan 22, 2005 - 14 comments

There, you happy now?

Happy Happy (both pdf) The burgeoning field of happiness studies is unearthing all sorts of interesting findings, many of them summarized in these two articles by University of British Columbia economist & "Professor of Happiness" John Helliwell. Rich countries are not happier than poor countries; people tend to revert to the mean after a happy event; money has only a modest effect on happiness; and, hey, good news! you get happier as you get older.
posted by mono blanco on Jan 10, 2005 - 11 comments

Hack yourself

"You can be happy. You can live the life you want to live. You can become the person you want to be. This is what I've figured out so far."
posted by iffley on Jan 2, 2005 - 57 comments

Gross International Happiness

The Gross International Happiness Project. An idea inspired by Gross National Happiness, the Kingdom of Bhutan's alternative to GDP.
posted by homunculus on Mar 30, 2004 - 4 comments

The Science of Happiness

The Science of Happiness
posted by grumblebee on Mar 28, 2004 - 27 comments

Reasons To Be Cheerful

Reasons To Be Cheerful: Go on, give us one. If a curmudgeonly, pessimistic, reactionary old prison doctor like Theodore Dalyrymple can do it, so can we. It's a great little article, btw, but its title is even better. The late, great, crippled Ian Dury sang about them and comedian Dave Gorman built an Edinburgh Festival show around it. So be a sport and let us have one good reason of your own - preferably to do with something ahead of us or just now coming into its own or still stubbornly with us, despite the pricks and kicks. No nostalgia allowed! [It's the holidays, after all. Cynicism is for the rest of the year. I greedily bag AskMetaFilter, thank you very much.]
posted by MiguelCardoso on Dec 17, 2003 - 25 comments

life is easier if you just kimono

ENJOY KIMONO PHOTO ALBUM Enjoy wearing kimono freely!
posted by Peter H on Sep 12, 2003 - 9 comments

Oh, screw it all, then.

The Futile Pursuit of Happiness. ''Things that happen to you or that you buy or own -- as much as you think they make a difference to your happiness, you're wrong by a certain amount. You're overestimating how much of a difference they make. None of them make the difference you think. And that's true of positive and negative events.''
posted by Tin Man on Sep 5, 2003 - 31 comments

Nobody can resist the one-eyed demon

The one-eyed demon. In 1999 Bhutan, one of the most isolated countries in the world (Bhutan seems to have been the model för Shangri-la in James Hilton's "Lost Horizon"), became the last country in the world to adopt television. The king of Bhutan wasn't much interested in gross national product, but in his own concept "gross national happiness" and he believed that TV would increase his nation's happiness. Since then, Bhutan has experienced a crime wave unlike anything the country has previously known. This article tells the story and claims that TV breeds crime. But the questions raised by this story are wider than that: what is it that makes our Western TV-Coke-advertisement-culture totally irresistible? Why do people instantly feel they want it when they see it? Why hasn't any nation looked at the junk we have to offer, laughed at us and walked away?
posted by Termite on Jun 14, 2003 - 32 comments

Ommm you rough beast, Ommm.....

Buddhism tames the amygdala Covered recently on Metafilter (here), new research at the University of California San Francisco Medical Centre ( into the "Happy Buddhist" phenomenon ) shows that Buddhist meditation techniques "can tame the amygdala, an area of the brain which is the hub of fear memory." [BBC] -Is this the Rx for a nation of Americans gripped by fear? Do Christianity, Islam or Judaism have effective techniques to tame the amygdala too?
posted by troutfishing on May 22, 2003 - 48 comments

There is a hedonistic school of thought

There is a hedonistic school of thought which holds that future generations will experience a level of happiness and sense of well being beyond even the finest china white heroin rush and that this will be the norm. While I do agree that our understanding of mental health is limited to our advances in neuroscience, I just can't see how this is healthy or even remotely possible even within the next 500 years.
posted by Modem Ovary on Aug 16, 2002 - 49 comments

On average people laugh 18 times a day

On average people laugh 18 times a day "It makes us less stressed, lowers our blood pressure and reduces anxiety. It's more common than sex, eating or singing." Still 18 times a day doesn't sound like its enough. Simple solution. "Tickle, the most ancient and reliable stimulus of laughter, is undervalued..."
posted by Voyageman on Apr 3, 2002 - 17 comments

"Happiness has not gone up even, as a society, we've gotten richer and have more access to more things. Advertising is the illusion that stops us from recognizing that."

"Happiness has not gone up even, as a society, we've gotten richer and have more access to more things. Advertising is the illusion that stops us from recognizing that." Sut Jhally is a communications professor at the University of Massachusetts, founder of the Media Education Foundation, and an excellent teacher of media literacy.
posted by tranquileye on Feb 23, 2002 - 56 comments

NYT Magazine's Lauren Slater on Self-Esteem

NYT Magazine's Lauren Slater on Self-Esteem
Last year alone there were three withering studies of self-esteem released in the United States, all of which had the same central message: people with high self-esteem pose a greater threat to those around them than people with low self-esteem and feeling bad about yourself is not the cause of our country's biggest, most expensive social problems. The research is original and compelling and lays the groundwork for a new, important kind of narrative about what makes life worth living -- if we choose to listen, which might be hard. One of this country's most central tenets, after all, is the pursuit of happiness, which has been strangely joined to the pursuit of self-worth.

Great, long article on the change in perspective on self-esteem. Do you question yourself? How does your self-esteem impact yourself or others around you? Is high self-esteem importatnt to you? What if your high self-esteem could negatively affect others around you?
posted by gen on Feb 5, 2002 - 39 comments

Happiness has zip to do with money. Anyone heard of Geoffrey Miller? He has v. interesting things to say about the relationship between human nature, money and power. Here, he has another take on global anti-Americanism.
posted by theplayethic on Jan 17, 2002 - 21 comments

A study

A study from researchers at the University of Alberta concludes that unhappy workers perform their tasks at the same rate as happy workers, but with about half as many errors (more inside).
posted by hazyjane on Jun 15, 2001 - 11 comments

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