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 -
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 -
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
, and here
. A critique of happiness indices generally here.
posted by shivohum
on Jun 3, 2007 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
(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 -
"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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -