Community Add OnsHuman Happiness Its Nature and Its Attainment

Human Happiness Its Nature and Its Attainment – chapter 4

THE STORY OF HAPPINESS RESEARCH

This Chapter starts from a personal perspective, which coincidentally reflects the modern history of happiness science itself. It is an anecdotal history of my own research into the nature of happiness that I whimsically refer to, in my college lectures, as “The Second Greatest Story Ever Told: The Story of Happiness Research.” It’s a look behind the scenes, so to speak, at the way psychologists have studied human happiness and how the science has developed and grown over the years.

My own journey into happiness research began as I entered my graduate studies in Psychology. My academic history in diverse fields like philosophy, the humanities, art, history, and religion had led me to consider the larger questions of human existence. More and more, my thinking began to center on the issue of “happiness.” As I asked myself the same question I’ve already presented to you, “What is the most important thing in life?”, the answer, “happiness,” continued to emerge.

Human happiness appeared, again and again, as the most valued of all human quests. It appeared to be the central concern of most all psychological, philosophical, and theological thinking. Thus it seemed to me that the scientific study of happiness would most certainly be among the most important topics a young research psychologist might devote a career to. After all, What grander enterprise could there be than to understand human happiness? And what greater achievement might there be than to find scientific clues to its attainment, if that were possible?

As I first became interested in happiness as a serious research topic, I assumed that there would be a wealth of scientific data already accumulated in the field. One would think that psychologists would have studied such an important topic as happiness extensively. But, in fact, this was not the case.

I was quite shocked, at first. An exhaustive search of the literature found that very few scientific studies had ever been done! The literature on depression and negative emotion, on the other hand, filled volumes in the references, but surprisingly, studies on happiness were few and far between.

It didn’t seem right. Perhaps, I’d missed something… The most important thing in life? A central issue of philosophical and psychological theory? One of the most universal human desires? Hardly studied at all?

Sadly, it was true — happiness had hardly been studied. I discovered, what Raymond Dodge (one of the early founders of the American Psychological Association) had seen over a half-century earlier:

“… the fact is uncontestable that happiness is an important, if not the most important, aim of human endeavor. Notwithstanding this fact, it has received no commensurate scientific attention. The theory of the happy life remains at about the level where Greek philosophers left it” (36).

It surprised me then, as much as it may surprise you now. After all, it seems that we’re “happinessed to death” already. Everywhere one turns — in books, in popular magazines, on television talk-shows — you find someone talking about happiness. And this constant preoccupation with happiness in today’s popular media is nothing peculiar to our times. Throughout history, novelists, philosophers, theologians, poets, playwrights — and yes, even psychologists — have expounded, at length, about happiness. Was it possible that all this talk was armchair speculation? Was none of it based on research facts? Sadly, the answer was yes.

Only since the late 1960’s has the topic of happiness moved form fireside speculation into the research laboratory. Psychology has, only recently, come to commit itself to a true research understanding of the nature and caused of happiness — an understanding based, not on philosophical conjecture, but rather, based solidly upon the results of scientific study and experimentation. The “Psychology of Happiness” is relatively new, historically speaking. So new, in fact, that the findings about happiness have yet to receive any wide attention among psychologists themselves, much less, the general public.

1 2 3 4 5Next page
Tags

96 Comments

  1. Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back often!

  2. Remarkable things here. I’m very happy to peer your post.
    Thank you so much and I’m taking a look ahead to contact you.
    Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

  3. Wow, awesome blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is
    magnificent, as well as the content!

  4. I like this post, enjoyed this one regards for putting up. “No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our life are made. Destiny is made known silently.” by Agnes de Mille.

  5. of course like your web-site but you need to check the spelling on several of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very bothersome to tell the truth nevertheless I will definitely come back again.

  6. When someone writes an piece of writing he/she maintains the plan of
    a user in his/her mind that how a user can understand it.
    Thus that’s why this piece of writing is perfect.
    Thanks!

  7. I discovered your blog site internet site on the internet and appearance some of your early posts. Continue to keep in the great operate. I just now additional increase your Rss to my MSN News Reader. Seeking toward reading far more from you finding out at a later date!…

  8. I discovered your blog site on google and check a few of your early posts. Continue to keep up the very good operate. I just additional up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. Seeking forward to reading more from you later on!…

  9. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  10. My brother suggested I may like this website. He used to be entirely right. This put up actually made my day. You can not consider simply how much time I had spent for this information! Thank you!

  11. I like what you guys are up also. Such intelligent work and reporting! Carry on the superb works guys I?¦ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it’ll improve the value of my website 🙂

  12. Taxi moto line
    128 Rue la Boétie
    75008 Paris
    +33 6 51 612 712  

    Taxi moto paris

    Hello friends, how is all, and what you desire to say concerning this post, in my view its
    really remarkable designed for me.

  13. Hi there, I discovered your website by means of Google whilst looking for a comparable subject, your web site got here up, it seems great. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  14. I’m not sure where you are getting your information, but good topic.

    I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more.
    Thanks for fantastic info I was looking for this information for my mission.

  15. I’m amazed, I must say. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s both educative and amusing, and without a doubt,
    you’ve hit the nail on the head. The issue is an issue that not enough people are speaking intelligently about.
    Now i’m very happy that I came across this in my search for something relating to
    this.

  16. You really make it appear so easy along with your presentation however I to find this matter to be really something that I feel I might never understand.
    It kind of feels too complicated and extremely huge for me.

    I’m taking a look forward to your subsequent put up, I’ll try to get the cling of
    it!

  17. Wonderful beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your site,
    how can i subscribe for a blog web site? The account aided me a acceptable deal.

    I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear idea

  18. When I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are
    added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment is added I get
    four emails with the same comment. Is there a way you are able to remove me from that service?
    Thanks a lot!

  19. Greate post. Keep writing such kind of info on your site.
    Im really impressed by your blog.
    Hey there, You have done a fantastic job. I’ll certainly digg it and in my opinion suggest to my friends.

    I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this website.

  20. I’m truly enjoying the design and layout
    of your website. It’s a very easy on the eyes
    which makes it much more pleasant for me to come here and visit more
    often. Did you hire out a designer to create your theme?
    Exceptional work!

  21. Hello, Neat post. There’s an issue with your website in internet explorer, might check this?
    IE still is the market leader and a huge section of people
    will pass over your magnificent writing due to this problem.

  22. Normally I don’t read post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to take a look at and do so!
    Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you,
    quite nice post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button
Close
Close