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September 7th, 2003 - Open Knowledge

Sep. 7th, 2003

12:16 am - The Futile Pursuit of Happiness

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/07/magazine/07HAPPINESS.html?8hpib=&pagewanted=print&position=

September 7, 2003
The Futile Pursuit of Happiness
By JON GERTNER


f Daniel Gilbert is right, then you are wrong. That is to say, if Daniel Gilbert is right, then you are wrong to believe that a new car will make you as happy as you imagine. You are wrong to believe that a new kitchen will make you happy for as long as you imagine. You are wrong to think that you will be more unhappy with a big single setback (a broken wrist, a broken heart) than with a lesser chronic one (a trick knee, a tense marriage). You are wrong to assume that job failure will be crushing. You are wrong to expect that a death in the family will leave you bereft for year upon year, forever and ever. You are even wrong to reckon that a cheeseburger you order in a restaurant -- this week, next week, a year from now, it doesn't really matter when -- will definitely hit the spot. That's because when it comes to predicting exactly how you will feel in the future, you are most likely wrong.

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03:56 pm - Julie and Mark II: It's just wrong to have sex with a chicken.

Some of you must think I'm not getting a whole lot of "action" right now.

You may be thinking "Hey, crasch posts so much, I bet that of the 8 or 9 women he's attempted to verbally seduce on the Onion Personals, _not one_ has responded."

But that's not true. "Don't email me again, weirdo." is a response.

However, despite the insinuations of some of you sickos, my Julie and Mark post was _not_ a sublimated desire for a little brother-sister action. That's just wrong.

Now, of course, a little [not my] sister-on-sister action is a perfectly healthy expression of human sexuality. And [not my] sister-on-me-on-sister action would be Heaven. Men blow up trade centers for that kind of action.

No, the Julie-on-Mark scenario was a lead-in to a discussion of a whole different question. That is:

Why doesn't everyone immediately agree with me?

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08:48 pm - You're the filthy rich

Think you'd be happy if you were in the top 1% of income earners in the U.S.? Now consider this: from the world perspective, if you make more than $35,000/year, you're already in the top 1%. You're the filthy rich. Even the "working poor" in the U.S. (defined as families of four making less than $18 K/year) still make more than all but 9% of the world's population.

Read more about what it really means to be poor in Donald Sensings essay: Wealth and poverty in America and the world.

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