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Sharon Coyle

on 12 December 2014

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Transcript of Happiness

Humanities, the first course: Knowledge

In this course students apply a logical analytical process to how knowledge is organized and used in a specific field of knowledge.

We chose "Happiness Studies" as our
field of knowledge to explore.
"The New Era
Positive Psychology"
Martin Seligman

"Why We Love,
Why We Cheat"
Helen Fisher
of Pleasure"
Paul Bloom
"Happiness and its Surprises"
Nancy Etcoff
Happiness Project :)
"We are wired to pursue happiness..."
"The Origins
"The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven."
pain under the right circumstances can transform into pleasure
Why do we respond so much to our knowledge of where something comes from? Well there's an answer that many people would give. Many sociologists like Veblen and Wolfe would argue that the reason why we take origins so seriously is because we're snobs, because we're focused on status.

how sexually or romantically moved you are by them, rests critically on who you think you're looking at. You probably think the picture on the left is male, the one on the right is female. If that belief turns out to be mistaken, it will make a difference.
So I want to suggest that pleasure is deep -- and that this isn't true just for higher level pleasures like art, but even the most seemingly simple pleasures are affected by our beliefs about hidden essences.
There are now dozens, perhaps hundreds of studies showing that if you believe you're drinking the expensive stuff, it tastes better to you.
if you want to show off how rich you are, how powerful you are, it's always better to own an original than a forgery because there's always going to be fewer originals than forgeries.
if you believe you're drinking the expensive wine, it tastes better to you.
The formula for a happy marriage is five positive remarks, or interactions, for every one negative. And that's how powerful the one negative is.
love consists of overestimating the differences between one women and another one.
We forgot about a mission to make relatively untroubled people happier, more fulfilled, more productive. And "genius," "high-talent," became a dirty word. No one works on that.
If we were only governed by pleasure we would not survive.Emotions are short-lived intense responses to challenge and to opportunity. And each one of them allows us to click into alternate selves that tune in, turn on, drop out thoughts, perceptions, feelings and memories. We tend to think of emotions as just feelings. But in fact, emotions are an all-systems alert that change what we remember, what kind of decisions we make, and how we perceive things.
We created the opposite of the diagnostic manual of the insanities: a classification of the strengths and virtues that looks at the sex ratio, how they're defined, how to diagnose them, what builds them and what gets in their way.
anything she liked, I liked!
Happiness and unhappiness are not endpoints of a single continuum.
it is an intense craving to be with a particular person, not just sexually, but emotionally.
We're also born pleasure-seekers
80 percent of the pursuit of happiness is really just about the genes, and it's as difficult to become happier as it is to become taller. That's nonsense. There is a decent contribution to happiness from the genes -- about 50 percent -- but there is still that 50 percent that is unaccounted for.
Positive emotions have a universal signal. And we see here the smile.
positive emotion, for meaning, for flow
The one way in which they differ: they're extremely social. They don't sit in knowledge class Friday mornings.
People are happiest when in flow, when they're absorbed in something out in the world, when they're with other people, when they're active, engaged in sports, focusing on a loved one, learning, having sex, whatever.
Three different happy lives. Positive emotion, life of engagement and meaningful life.
"All day. All night. I can never stop thinking about him or her."
“The Surprising Science of Happiness,”
Dan Gilbert
“The Paradox of Choice,” Barry Schwartz
“Choice, Happiness and Spaghetti Sauce,” Malcolm Gladwell
Donovan, Amy, Mathew
"Masters of Love"
Science says lasting relationships come down to -you guessed it- kindness and generosity

Psychophysics is about measuring things
They were looking for the perfect Pepsi, and they should have been looking for the perfect Pepsis.
"Mr. Moskowitz -- Doctor Moskowitz -- we want to make the perfect pickle." And he said, "There is no perfect pickle; there are only perfect pickles.""You don't just need to improve your regular; you need to create zesty."
Campbell's soup kitchen, and he made 45 varieties of spaghetti sauce. He varied them according to every conceivable way that you can vary tomato sauce: by sweetness, by level of garlic, by tartness, by sourness, by tomatoey-ness, by visible solids ect..
There are people who like their spaghetti sauce plain; there are people who like their spaghetti sauce spicy; and there are people who like it extra chunky.
"Oh my god! We've been thinking all wrong!" And that's when you started to get seven different kinds of vinegar, and 14 different kinds of mustard, and 71 different kinds of olive oil -- and then eventually even Ragu hired Howard, and Howard did the exact same thing for Ragu that he did for Prego.
Go to the supermarket, a really good one, and you look at how many Ragus there are -- do you know how many they are? 36! In six varieties: Cheese, Light, Robusto, Rich & Hearty, Old World Traditional, Extra-Chunky Garden.
"The mind knows not what the tongue wants."
What we are trying to explain is that there isn't just one way or kind of food. You shouldn't focus on making a single piece of cheese perfect. You focus on making lots of cheese perfecrt.
Now in medical science, we don't want to know how necessarily -- just how cancer works, we want to know how your cancer is different from my cancer. I guess my cancer different from your cancer. Genetics has opened the door to the study of human variability. What Howard Moskowitz was doing was saying, this same revolution needs to happen in the world of tomato sauce. And for that, we owe him a great vote of thanks.
Simon, Cassandra, Michael
maximize individual freedom
The reason for this is both that freedom is in and of itself good, valuable, worthwhile, essential to being human.
So everywhere
we look, big things and small things, material things and lifestyle things, life is a matter of choice. And the world we used to live in looked like this. That is to say, there were some choices, but not everything was a matter of choice. And the world we now live in looks like this. And the question is, is this good news, or bad news? And the answer is yes.
produces paralysis,
rather than
so many options to choose from, people find it very difficult to choose at all.
Something as dramatic as our identity has now become a matter of choice,
We don't inherit an
identity; we get to invent it. And we get to re-invent ourselves as often as we like
you have to decide what kind of person you want to be
The pre-frontal cortex, a new structure of the human brain, works as an experience simulator.
So everywhere we look,
big things and small things,
material things and lifestyle things, life is a matter
of choice
if we manage to overcome the paralysis and make a choice, we end up less satisfied with the result of the choice than we would be if we had fewer options to choose from.
Regret subtracts from
the satisfaction you get
out of the decision you
made, even if it was a
good decision
Now, human beings have this marvelous adaptation that they can actually have experiences in their heads before they try them out in real life.
escalation of expectations jeans you

bought them, and they fit like crap,and they were incredibly uncomfortable but I want the kind that used to be the only kind.
The "impact bias," which is the tendency for the simulator to make you believe that different outcomes are more different than in fact they really are.
Adding options to people's lives can't help but increase the expectations people have about how good those options will be. And what that's going to produce is less satisfaction with results, even when they're good results.
the best you can ever
pleasantly surprised
Because happiness can be synthesized.
to be. You will never be
as good as you expect it
hope for is that stuff is
because your expectations
During their relationship, the couples become
"masters and the disasters"
in the art of love
Desasters: the more physiologically active the couples are, the quicker their relationships deteriorated over time.
Masters had created a climate of trust and intimacy that made both of them more emotionally and thus physically comfortable.
Human beings have something that we might think of as a "psychological immune system." A system of largely non-conscious cognitive processes, that help them change their views of the world, so that they can feel better about the worlds in which they find themselves.
Natural happiness: what we get when we get what we wanted
Synthetic happiness: what we make when we don't get what we wanted.
But freedom to choose -- to change and make up your mind -- is the enemy of synthetic happiness.
When our ambition is bounded, it leads us to work joyfully. When our ambition is unbounded, it leads us to lie, to cheat, to steal, to hurt others, to sacrifice things of real value. When our fears are bounded, we're prudent; we're cautious; we're thoughtful. When our fears are unbounded and overblown, we're reckless, and we're cowardly.
Our longings and our worries are both to some degree overblown, because we have within us the capacity to manufacture the very commodity we are constantly chasing when we choose experience.
material affluence. There are
In industrial societies the problem is material affluence. There are lots of places in the world,and we have heard about several of them, where their problem is not that they have too much choice.Their problem is that they have too little. So the stuff I'm talking about is the peculiar problem of modern, affluent, Western societies.
suicide, is that people have experiences that are disappointing because their standards are so high, and then when they have to explain these experiences to themselves, they think they're at fault.
suicide, is that people have experiences that are disappointing because their standards are so high, and then when they have to explain these experiences to themselves, they think they're at fault.
the secret to happiness is low expectations.
options to
people's lives
can't help but
increase the
people have about
how good those
options will be. And
what that's going to
produce is less
satisfaction with results,
even when they're
good results.
Full transcript