> Just saw the first of 6 BBC programmes on this series about
> happiness. The idea that happiness is the goal and things like
> and pleasure are just a means to it was put forward by Aristotle.
> After a certain income - about $15,000 - any extra happiness from
> economic consumption is fleeting and has diminishing returns.
> Moreover whilst prosperity has trebled since the mid-fifties
> happiness has fallen from 52% then to just 36% today.
> Yes these are "subjective" measures but they do seem to correlate
> with more tangible "effects". Smoking can cost 3 years of one's
> life; unhappiness 9 years. The "good feel" factor has attracted
> political interest but all governments are obsessed with GNP
> which we know won't make much difference to happiness.
> However the first country to adopt National Happiness as its "GNP"
> is the Kingdom of Bhutan. Not sure how this works out in practice -
> so far they've decided to ban advertising boards and plastic bags!
> I agree that questionnaires are rather rough measures and in a
> setting especially unreliable. But perhaps in future there might
> brainwaves and other physiological measures that can be used in
> But I see this new "serious" interest in the happiness of the
> population as a positive development.
I agree...a good sign.
> --- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, TurquoiseB <no_reply@>
> > --- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, "claudiouk" <claudiouk@>
> > wrote:
> > >
> > >
> > Did you take the "Happiness Test" at that link?
> > I scored "Highly Satisfied." That and a couple
> > of bucks will get me a cuppa java at Starbucks. :-)
> > But this article brings up the same question for
> > me that another recently-posted article about
> > relative happiness as measured by *asking* people
> > whether they were happy or not did:
> > How meaningful is the result of such polling in
> > a cult community?
> > I'm not talking just about TM or real cults or
> > even just spiritual communitites here...for the
> > purpose of this question, you could include the
> > employees of a company whose PR image proudly
> > proclaims that it provides "a perfect work envir-
> > onment," or a small town that bills itself as
> > "the perfect place to live." What I'm suggesting
> > is that these self-polling data collection methods
> > are (or should be) suspect when they are used in
> > a community that exerts pressure on its members
> > to conform to a "group image" of some sort.
> > For example, I would suspect that you would have
> > a completely different set of answers to the
> > "how happy are you" test in Fairfield, depend-
> > ing on who was administering the test.
> > If it were being given by the TMO, you'd get the
> > expected "very happy" answers. But if the test had
> > absolutely nothing to do with the TMO, and the
> > people being asked the questions knew that the
> > data was theoretically never going to be seen by
> > people in the TM movement, I would expect you'd
> > get a more balanced "happy" to "fairly happy" set
> > of answers.
> > This tendency to answer poll questions the way
> > the questioners want you to answer them was a
> > well known and oft-discussed phenomenon in the
> > Psych and Sociology courses I took in college.
> > We even did one experiment in which half the class
> > was given a test to administer to subjects and told
> > that they were trying to prove Theorem A, and the
> > other half of the class was given the same test
> > to administer (without knowing it was the same),
> > and told that they were trying to prove Theorem
> > B (the opposite). Natch, the first group got
> > results proving Theorem A and the second group got
> > results proving the exact opposite, using the
> > exact same test. I never forgot that experiment,
> > and remain skeptical of all "polled" research data
> > to this day.
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