Stumbling on Happiness

by on May 5, 2006 at 6:52 am in Books | Permalink

Finally, in Part VI, "Corrigibility," I will tell you why illusions of foresight are not easily remedied by personal experience or by the wisdom we inherit from our grandmothers.  I will conclude by telling you about a simple remedy for these illusions that you will almost certainly not accept.

That is from Daniel Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness, so far the best book this year

He takes Proust and turns it into social science.  Your brain distorts both your anticipations and your memories; we do not know how happy we were or how happy we will be.  Here is a short article on Gilbert.  Here is a long article on Gilbert.  Here is a short piece on why dreading pain can be as bad as pain itself.  Or is it…?  Was it…?

Matthew Cromer May 5, 2006 at 9:52 am

The summaries of his research read like advertisements for Buddhism or Eckhart Tolle. The mentally-projected image of self as a self-deluded control freak who is our own worst enemy. I like it!

hhh May 5, 2006 at 11:15 am

This seems interesting. Thanks for pointing it out.

Student May 5, 2006 at 12:19 pm

I don’t like your tone JohnShade.

bbartlog May 5, 2006 at 3:31 pm

I was reminded of Buddhism too, but also of Stoicism. Valuable insights in any case, though integrating them into the standard framework of economics looks like a lot of work…

ZenMasterThis May 5, 2006 at 5:28 pm

See also one of my favorite essays The Pursuit of Emptiness by John Perry Barlow

eddie May 6, 2006 at 12:06 am

That last comment sounded wittier in my head.

Great. Now everything seems hollow and empty. Although I guess that’s not so bad, is it? Damn, now I can’t even find perverse satisfaction in being miserable and bitter.

Thanks a bunch, Cowen. I can’t even tell if I’m being sarcastic any more.

jano kelly May 30, 2006 at 7:09 pm

Im am flabbergasted and dumfounded with a tinge of hemorroides.Amen.

Hero June 4, 2007 at 10:23 am
4354fd October 8, 2007 at 3:55 am

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