Saturday, March 25, 2006

Happiness Is a Warm Gun

I really couldn't top that title. He should be the happiest idiot on the the planet.
Happiness Is a Warm Gun - New York Times: "When I was in college, in the Vietnam-Watergate era, sullen mugs trumped smiley faces.

'Happiness was very uncool,' my friend Michael Kinsley recalls of his Harvard days. 'There was a huge premium on being depressed.'

Leon Wieseltier, who graduated from Columbia about the same time, agrees that 'happiness was considered embarrassing, a mark of shallowness.' He still calls joie de vivre 'a sign that you're not paying attention.'

But in the Ivy League now, students are eager to embrace the group therapy of positive thinking. As Carey Goldberg wrote in The Boston Globe, the most popular Harvard course is one taught by Tal Ben-Shahar about how to shed pathologies.

You'd think just being lucky enough to get that Harvard edge
that might mean they did their own homework without grade lowering
would cause elation. But Ms. Goldberg reported that more than 800 students left smiling and cheering after hearing Dr. Ben-Shahar offer self-help formulas like these: 'Learn to fail or fail to learn'; don't think, 'It happened for the best,' but rather, 'How can I make the best of what happened?'

He meditated with the students, telling them to 'give yourself permission to just be.' A gut on trusting your gut.
I love when she wraps it up by saying:
Studies show the happiest people are the most resilient. (And probably regard positive-psych classes as demented psychobabble?) Since they didn't have to learn to be resilient in the Depression and World War II, yuppies and their offspring succumbed to narcissism and materialism.

They say money can't buy happiness, but maybe it can buy some. In 2004, two economists declared that money seemed to buy greater happiness but, surprisingly, not more sex. (Explain Ron Perelman.) David Blanchflower of Dartmouth and Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick in England calculated that if you increased your sexual activity from once a month to once a week, you'd be as happy as if you had an extra $50,000 a year."
Would twice a week make me as happy as Paris Hilton, but smart enough to know the difference?

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