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Scientific Studies on Happiness?

Scientific (mainly psychological) studies on happiness connect well-being to certain factors such as GDP, Natural Surroundings, Social Support etc.

After reflecting on the Buddhism's teachings - are these studies basically chasing a red herring?

Is it not held that there is only transitory happiness related to things in these categories (and thus no lasting 'well-being').

Comments

  • Scientific (mainly psychological) studies on happiness connect well-being to certain factors such as GDP, Natural Surroundings, Social Support etc.

    After reflecting on the Buddhism's teachings - are these studies basically chasing a red herring?

    Is it not held that there is only transitory happiness related to things in these categories (and thus no lasting 'well-being').
    I suppose that could be right, but more transitory happiness is better than more transitory suffering imo.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    What's GDP?

    And yes, I would say they are.

    (chasing a red herring, that is.....)
  • personperson Veteran
    edited February 2012
    What's GDP?
    Gross Domestic Product. A measure of a country's wealth.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    well, if you look at the wealthiest countries in the world, i don't know how happy the individual citizens are, because however wealthy a country is, many don't get none of it....
    Take the USA.
    And I would guess, the major part of Europe....
    Lot of wealth in those places.
    on paper, that is....
    but how many citizens are feeling the pinch?

    Too many for comfort, i'll be bound......
  • The people are chasing red herrings! The studies are just noting, as empirically as possible, what the people are doing.
  • many don't get none of it.........
    uhm, can you explain this please :lol:" alt=":lol:" height="20" />
  • edited March 2012
    Buddha was in natural environments. And he usually had people with him. I don't think buddhism is about saying there is transitory happiness instead happiness is based on transitory things. If a country had low gdp, no natural surroundings and no social support then they would be worse off.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    many don't get none of it.........
    uhm, can you explain this please :lol:" alt=":lol:" height="20" />
    1% of the population owns 99% of the wealth.....
    there is a huge disparity here.
    The distribution of wealth is hugely disproportionate.....

  • SabreSabre Veteran
    The difficult thing about studying happiness is its definition. Some studies define it as the amount of wealth, others the amount of right frontal lobe activity in the brain or whatever.

    A lot of people don't know what happiness is and are searching for it in the wrong places, food, music, a career, money, romantic relationship, or what have you. This results in definitions or means of measuring happiness that reflect this. We can't expect all researchers to know what happiness is. This is not to say those studies can't be useful for anything.

    There are also studies on the effects of meditation, including the happiness resulting from it. You may want to look into those.

    Sabre
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    A few thoughts about "happiness" that bubbled up this morning.
  • personperson Veteran
    1% of the population owns 99% of the wealth.....
    there is a huge disparity here.
    The distribution of wealth is hugely disproportionate.....

    @federica Your overall point is correct but the numbers are off. In 2007, the combined net worth of the 400 wealthiest Americans, as measured by Forbes magazine, was $1.5 trillion; and the combined net worth of the poorer 50 percent of American households was $1.6 trillion.

    And a graph for income distribution globally:

    image
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    So it's even worse than i thought.
    Because the bottom tiers are supportive of the upper ones.
    in more ways than one.....
  • edited March 2012
    Try this book, I haven't read it yet:
    The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want

    Happiness has nothing to do with how much you have.
    It's about how you use what you have and how you transform the information you receive.

    There many people have it all but still are not happy.
    Have it all sure bring peace of mind, but that's not happiness.




  • edited March 2012
    Having higher gdp can raise quality of life for all segments of the population.
    Scientific (mainly psychological) studies on happiness connect well-being to certain factors such as GDP, Natural Surroundings, Social Support etc.

    After reflecting on the Buddhism's teachings - are these studies basically chasing a red herring?

    Is it not held that there is only transitory happiness related to things in these categories (and thus no lasting 'well-being').
    What do you mean by 'well being'? Do you mean people will just be happy without those things in the study? If the study makers want to find what makes people happy I think they look for things they know. If the study makers don't know of buddhism then they won't find it among people.
  • "am I happy?"
    "let me check the data"
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