29 October 2008

Whither happiness?


On a related topic, and before I dive back into the world of residential design, there's a great article in this month's Atlantic magazine. Paul Bloom wrote a thought-provoking piece on the intersection of Philosophy and Psychology. I read it on my flight home to Florida the other day and it's been lodged in my fore brain ever since. Read his work here.
But what’s more exciting, I think, is the emergence of a different perspective on happiness itself. We used to think that the hard part of the question “How can I be happy?” had to do with nailing down the definition of happy. But it may have more to do with the definition of I. Many researchers now believe, to varying degrees, that each of us is a community of competing selves, with the happiness of one often causing the misery of another. This theory might explain certain puzzles of everyday life, such as why addictions and compulsions are so hard to shake off, and why we insist on spending so much of our lives in worlds —like TV shows and novels and virtual-reality experiences—that don’t actually exist.

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