Sunday, December 06, 2009

Ignorance Is Bliss. Or, Is It?

Mrs. F. is currently reading The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World. It's a non-fiction book written by an NPR foreign correspondent that explores the origins of happiness and where it is found.

She just read aloud a passage that was interesting—and both surprising and predictible at once...
[p. 14] Extroverts are happier than introverts: optimists are happier than pessimists; married people are happier than singles, thought people with children are no happier than singles; Republicans are happier than Democrats; people who attend religious services are happier than those who do not; people with college degreesa re happier than those without, though people with advanced degrees are less happy than those with just a BA; people with and active sex life are happier than those without; women and men are equally happy, though women have a wider emotional range; having an affair will make you happy, but will not compensate for the massive loss of happiness you will incur when your spouse finds out and leaves you; people are least happy when they're commuting to work; busy people are happier than those with little to do; wealthy people are happier than poor ones, but only slightly.

Discuss...

13 comments:

ツロ said...

Seems pretty intuitive to me. Is there real data backing it?

steves said...

With the exception of the marriage and sex stuff, the other things are somewhat surprising. I wonder about the political stuff, though. These kinds of studies rely on self reporting, so not only do you have people self reporting on happiness, but also on political persuasion.

I know miserable people on both sides of the political spectrum, so I have no anecdotal evidence to support either claim. From my own experience, attitude and cognition have a greater influence over happiness than external factors.

Eric Wilde said...

Republicans are batshit insane. Its no wonder that they are happier off in Lulu Land.

Eric Wilde said...

BTW, I was unintentionally being a sock puppet above. The first comment was me; but, from my wife's system.

steves said...

BTW, I was unintentionally being a sock puppet above.

Yeah, I had some other phrase in mind, but I can go with sock puppet. This is one of those things that can generate snarky comments all day long.

Mr Furious said...

Point by point (happier shown)...

Extroverts: Seems obvious enough.

Optimists: Duh.

Married: Makes sense.

No children: Since my children are my single greatest joy, this one doesn't resonate with me at all. That said, before having kids I was content, and had NO idea how much it would mean it me—so I would have said I was happy. Now I can't imagine life without my kids.

Republicans: On balance, I think Republicans are more likely to feel justified in life than a more angst-ridden liberal. More hedonistic. Life's simpler when you don't give a fuck about anybody else as long as you got yours. Goes hand in hand with the next one... I'd like to say I'm kidding, but...

Religious: Also makes sense to me. Comfort is derived from belief in a divine power.

College degrees: College is generally an enriching experience...also enjoyable, and usually leads to greater professional success...that's my experience anyway.

BA only: Advanced degree-holders are more likely to be high-achievers, and perhaps never satisfied? Also incur a lot of additional debt...

Active Sex Lives: Sure. I could see that...

Men/Women Tie: I would have instinctively guessed women, but it makes sense this is even. Wider range for women is certainly no surprise.

Affairs: Risk/Reward seems about right...

Commuting: If you're driving, yes. I enjoyed commuting in NYC by train immensely. Did a LOT of reading, very relaxing. Make your train and your job is over...

Busy: As long as it doesn't cross into over-worked, this also makes sense.

Wealthy: Makes sense as well. I think there's a slight edge for the rich, as they can more easily compensate temporarily for unhappy times, but in the end it levels out.

steves said...

Republicans: On balance, I think Republicans are more likely to feel justified in life than a more angst-ridden liberal. More hedonistic. Life's simpler when you don't give a fuck about anybody else as long as you got yours.

I think this is an overly simplistic, stereotypical view of Republicans. Considering that Republicans are just as likely to become some kind of activist (though, for different reasons) and are just as angst ridden (again, for different reasons) as Democrats, I have a difficult time seeing this as true. That being said, I would expect most Democrats to spin it the way you did.

Mr Furious said...

Certainly a stereotype—but one a subscribe to in large part. That statement applies mostly to the loudmouth / activist Republicans rather than the run-of-the-mill Joe who happens to vote GOP.

Anonymous said...

Hello !.
You re, I guess , probably curious to know how one can reach 2000 per day of income .
There is no initial capital needed You may commense to get income with as small sum of money as 20-100 dollars.

AimTrust is what you need
AimTrust incorporates an offshore structure with advanced asset management technologies in production and delivery of pipes for oil and gas.

It is based in Panama with affiliates around the world.
Do you want to become really rich in short time?
That`s your chance That`s what you wish in the long run!

I feel good, I started to take up real money with the help of this company,
and I invite you to do the same. It`s all about how to choose a proper companion utilizes your money in a right way - that`s it!.
I earn US$2,000 per day, and my first investment was 500 dollars only!
It`s easy to start , just click this link http://edozylys.servetown.com/zebicod.html
and lucky you`re! Let`s take our chance together to feel the smell of real money

Smitty said...

I am going to show Mrs. Smitty the part about sex.

steves said...

That statement applies mostly to the loudmouth / activist Republicans rather than the run-of-the-mill Joe who happens to vote GOP.

I can't disagree with that. I am sure that there are some that a just greedy bastards.

AT22 said...

Is there some kind of cancelling out effect? A scales of happiness on which you can pile the good and bad and see what your happiness weight is?

Eric Wilde said...

AT22,

Its called "hedonic calculus" and was developed by Jeremy Bentham.