When the World Laughs With You. . .

18 12 2008

Our local health club just sent me this by email:

Do you ever wonder whether happy people have something that keeps them cheerful, chipper and able to see the good in everything? It turns out they do; they have happy friends.

New research from Harvard Medical School and the University of California suggests that happiness is influenced not only by the people you know, but by the people they know. The study shows that happiness spreads through social networks, sort of like a virus, meaning that your happiness could influence the happiness of someone you’ve never even met.

“We have known for a long time that there is a direct relationship between one person’s happiness and another’s,” says study co-author James H. Fowler, PhD, University of California. “But this study shows that indirect relationships also affect happiness. We found a statistical relationship not just between your happiness and your friends’ happiness, but between your happiness and your friends’ friends’ happiness.”

They concluded that the happiness of an immediate social contact increases an individual’s chances of becoming happy by 15 percent. The happiness of a second-degree contact, such as the spouse of a friend, increases the likeliness of becoming happy by 10 percent, and the happiness of a third-degree contact, or the friend of a friend of a friend, increases the likelihood of becoming happy by 6 percent.

Surround yourself with happy people, because happy friends can make you happy.
Source: webmd.com

Not like I didn’t already know that just about everything, good or bad, spreads through social networks. 😉

(Remember the study about how fat people have fat friends??)


“We’d Have Homeschooled Him, Our Boy Would Still Be Alive”

18 12 2008

“We would have home schooled him or taken him to another psychologist,” said [dad] Don King. “If we would have known, our boy would have never been in that room. He would still be alive.”

Barack Obama, Rick Warren and Dan Dennett for Thinking Parents

18 12 2008

Lynn at Bore Me to Tears is writing about Saddleback’s Rick Warren being tapped to do the official praying for America at Obama’s inauguration.

I found rival TED videos I’m watching and trying to connect this morning, first by author-pastor Rick Warren and then by philosopher and cognitive scientist Dan Dennett, refuting Warren’s best-selling book about humans and our “purpose” for being who we are, starting about 15 minutes into his talk and going great guns from there:

The key to our [human] domination of the planet is culture, and the key to culture is religion.

Bringing purpose to their lives is a wonderful goal and I give [Rick Warren] an A-plus on this . . .a fantastic achievement. . How does he do it?

. . .It’s been going on for thousands of years and he’s just the latest brilliant practitioner of it. . .Every time you read it or say it, you make another copy in your brain!

[Philosopher Dan Dennett calls for religion — all religion — to be taught in schools, so we can understand its nature as a natural phenomenon.] More about Dennett here.

Whose truth are we gonna listen to?

[Warren says] “Surrendered people follow God’s word even if it doesn’t make sense.”

. . .You don’t like my interpretation? Don’t listen, don’t listen, that’s the Devil speaking!

Dennett’s last line is particularly good imo: “I wish this meme would go extinct!”