Indeed, Finns derive a great deal of pride from the high level of social trust present in the society, which in turn is an indication of the perception that people are believed to be acting honestly. “In Finland the state is a friend, not an enemy,” Kananen said. “The state is perceived as acting for the collective good – so public officials act in everybody’s shared interest. There is a great deal of trust – towards fellow citizens and public office holders, including the police. Finnish people are also happy taxpayers. They know the tax money is used for the common good and they know no-one will cheat when collecting the taxes.”
American Psycho successfully creates our materialist society by using brand names and personal fitness and beauty regimens as brick and mortar to build the plot. Sample this description of Bateman’s morning routine: ‘After I change into Ralph Lauren monogrammed boxer shorts and a Fair Isle sweater and slide into silk polka-dot Enrico Hidolin slippers, I tie a plastic ice pack around my face and commence with the morning’s stretching exercises…Then I squeeze Rembrandt onto a faux-tortoiseshell toothbrush…The shower has a universal all-directional shower head that adjusts within a thirty-inch vertical range. It’s made from Australian gold-black brass and covered with a white enamel finish.’
A beautiful poem for today.
[Second quick story about happiness—]
Second quick story about happiness—going down the hill at twilight—my love was far away, with that air of never doubting, and was saying: my parents…—even more sofly, so gently that I notice more than the others, after some time away—it’s like returning to find the children all grown, and sitting on the balcony to share thoughts and memories of a time that’s passed—but when I left (that day at the airport) there was still an air of mystery—now, it’s now, going down this hill, without any, that I finally tell about my distant love, and I don’t imitate my nostalgia, but that gentleness, yours, happy like this.
Ana Cristina Cesar translated from Portuguese by Brenda Hillman, Helen Hillman, and Sebasttao Edson Macedo
The pursuit of happiness might not be the best pursuit to go after. This needull discusses why it makes more sense to target meaning rather than happiness .
In one study by the behavioral scientists Jonathan Schooler, Dan Ariely, and George Loewenstein, participants listened to a piece of emotionally ambiguous music, Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring.” The researchers told some participants to try to feel as happy as possible while listening; the others were simply asked to listen. The people who tried to feel happy ended up unhappier after the experiment than those who listened without trying to boost their mood. In another recent study, Iris Mauss of Berkeley and her colleagues found that people who highly value happiness — as measured by their endorsement of statements like “Feeling happy is very important to me” — reported feeling lonelier on a daily basis, as assessed in diary entries over two weeks. By contrast, the pursuit of meaning leads to a deeper and more lasting form of well-being.
A good weekend read. With all the self-help books and articles floating around, this needull offers a different perspective. The writer says that when we achieve our goals in our mind, we put less effort in actually achieving that goal. The writers also offer their own framework which they believe works better than all out positive thinking.
Now comes the more challenging part. What obstacle in you prevents you from fulfilling this objective? Look inward and be honest with yourself – leave behind your excuses. Are you willing to put in the grueling hours necessary for such a promotion at work? Do you have the courage to ask an attractive and accomplished person to be your partner? This search for the critical obstacle can be an emotionally fraught part of the process, because we infrequently choose to confront unpleasant experiences so directly and honestly. Still, find your inner obstacle and then let the images about its occurrence flow freely through your mind.