The Other I

April 23, 2011

Are you happy?

Filed under: Just Stuff,Psychology, Philosophy & Personal Nonsense — theotheri @ 3:59 pm

I found myself spluttering today at an article in the London Times with the headline “How happy are you?  Take the psychologists’ test and find out.”

It’s not just the religious leaders who alienate us from ourselves by confusing faith and belief.  Now it’s the psychologists who are telling people that they have to consult an expert to find out what they are feeling.

I read the test thinking – hoping – that it was the journalist writing the article who had twisted what the psychologists were saying.  But no:  it is the psychologists themselves who are saying that they can measure happiness.

Now I wouldn’t object to psychologists saying that research suggest that the following 10 or 20 variables seem to be correlated with people’s reports of personal happiness.  I wouldn’t mind if they recommended that unhappy people might try putting into their lives some of the things happy people report having in their own lives.

But I do object to this smug presentation of research suggesting that if you “fail” the test, you aren’t happy, whatever you might think.  I object to the suggestions that the tests are a more accurate reading of what you are feeling than what each of us naively thinks we are feeling.

And I object  furiously to the assumption that the same things makes everybody happy.  As if happiness comes in a formula, like a recipe for a cake.

If you’d like to take a happiness test,  there are many available for free on the internet.  So if you don’t like the results of one test,  you can always take another on.  Click on  Google for a whole selection of possibilities.

Before taking a test, it might be more interesting if you first ask how happy you think you are on a scale of 1-5.  Alternatively, there’s also a new book out by Dr Cecillia d’Felice on how to get happier in 21 days.

Just think.  The entire world could be transformed in a mere 21 days if people would just read one little book.

It might even replace the King James Bible in hotel rooms everywhere.

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