Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What really makes us happy...

Derek Bok, former president of Harvard University, has just published a new book about happiness, and how public policy might be shaped to improve the level of happiness among US citizens. One of his findings is that people are poor judges of what will make them happy.

His findings confirm other studies in which key elements of happiness include lasting marriages, contributing to charities, engaging in community service, maintaining friendships, and participation in organized religion. Bok believes that happy people tend to be morally good people, at least by standards of mainstream American ethics.

So here's where we can all evangelize. Come to church, be a generous soul, help others, and Nirvana awaits! I'm not joking.


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  2. Anyone who reflects on their own lives and the lives of others in community knows that what Bok claims is true.

  3. I have been doing some reading on this subject in preparation of a worship service, but I have not read Bok's book.

    Correlation is not the same as causation. For instance the fact of the matter might be that marriages make people happy. But, it could be that happy people do better at marriages.

    Does Bok give some kind of account for how these happy traits "cause" happiness?