Posts Tagged ‘Bliss’

The Happiest Places In The World

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

It’s fashionable these days to speak of the death of geography. We live in a wireless, Internet age, where place no longer matters.

Or do we? Rumors of geography’s demise, it turns out, have been greatly exaggerated. The fact is that place matters, and in unexpected ways. The Internet remains a largely local phenomenon, and the number of people traveling–for work and pleasure–is on the rise.

Take happiness. You would think that, in this day of globalization and instant messaging, national differences in happiness would fade. They haven’t.

In Pictures: World’s Happiest Places

Video: Happiest Nations On Earth

Psychologists at the University of Leicester in Britain recently produced the world’s first map of happiness. Using data from the emerging science of happiness, they created a color-coded atlas of bliss, a topography of the human spirit, from Swaziland to Singapore. Happiness, it turns out, is like oil. Some countries are awash in it; others are bone dry.

The map contains more than a few surprises. Latin American countries, for instance, are among the happiest in the world, despite their relative poverty and often shaky political situations. “The Latino bonus,” some researchers have dubbed this phenomenon. One explanation: the close family ties found in Latin American countries, and among many Latinos in the U.S.

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Don’t Worry, Be Moderately Happy, Research Suggests

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

Could the pursuit of happiness go too far?  Most self-help books on the subject offer tips on how to maximize one’s bliss, but a new study suggests that moderate happiness may be preferable to full-fledged elation.

The researchers, from the University of Virginia, the University of Illinois and Michigan State University, looked at data from the World Values Survey, a large-scale analysis of economic, social, political and religious influences around the world. They also analyzed the behaviors and attitudes of 193 undergraduate students at Illinois.

Their findings challenge the common assumption that all measures of well-being go up as happiness increases. While many indicators of success and well-being do correspond to higher levels of happiness, the researchers report, those at the uppermost end of the happiness scale (people who report that they are 10s on a 10-point life satisfaction score) are in some measures worse off than their slightly less elated counterparts.

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Kansas City makes a list of happy places

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

The dictionary offers a simple definition of bliss: complete happiness.

Two words! How hard can that be to attain?

Well, a curmudgeon might ask, if it takes only two words to define, how great can it be?

We worked under the assumption that it’s pretty great.

Why else would National Public Radio correspondent Eric Weiner, a self-proclaimed grump, go searching for it in his book The Geography of Bliss? In explaining his endeavor, Weiner writes: “I roam the world in search of answers to the pressing questions of our time: What are the essential ingredients for the good life? Why are some places happier than others? How are we shaped by our surroundings?”

Oh, Eric. There’s no need to roam the world. We went searching for bliss right here in Kansas City, and it wasn’t that hard to find.

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Happiness Is Temporary, Bliss Is Eternal

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Happiness for most people begins with the thought: “This is how things ought to be!” Suffering comes with the opposite thought: “Things ought not to be as they are”.

However, we tend to fall into the habit of thinking that we know already how things ought to be or ought not to be.

We identify happiness with fixity instead of accepting life’s natural flow. We become “psychological antiques” — wanting nothing moved, nothing changed, nothing even improved. The stability comes to mean permanence. Permanence, however, is something the soul can have only in God.

Happiness is bliss outwardly directed towards the senses and their world of relativity and change. Bliss is eternal, but happiness is man’s attempt to project bliss into a fleeting and alien environment. In that projection, he forms attachments to things temporal. Happiness, in its pretence of permanence, becomes simply another counterfeit, like pleasure.

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