Happiness studies and children

Chesterton: "A child is a creative contribution to creation. People who prefer the mechanical pleasures, to such a miracle, are jaded and enslaved."

Happiness studies always find that children make people report lower levels of happiness (it’s important to distinguish making people report lower levels of happiness from people actually being less happy).

Things that make people self-report as happy seem to be very shallow. Additionally, people don’t seem very good at determining what makes them happy. The things that have made me happiest have always required some serious effort (i.e. before achieving success, I would have said I was unhappy, but afterwards . . . bliss).

I wonder if the best way to find happiness would be to do the opposite of what broad-based happiness studies suggest.

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5 Responses to Happiness studies and children

  1. Handle says:

    You’ll notice how many people give their newborn kids up for adoption and sterilize themselves shortly after discovering how unhappy they’ve become. Revealed Preferences (watching what people actually do), trump worthless Professed Preferences (full of ludicrously mendacious signalling efforts) every time.

    At any rate, “happiness” has many components which fluctuate wildly and depend on personality, age, energy, and success (some of which is luck). I don’t know if “How happy are you generally” is even a legitimate question.

  2. josh says:

    I’m sure that readers of sites like foseti’s roll their eyes at eight to ten bullshit “studies” in a given week. That this is obviously bullshit is not surprising. But have you ever thought about what kind of inhuman monsters actually propagandize against smart people having children?

  3. Matt Weber says:

    “Are you happy?” is the wrong question. We should be asking what makes life worth living. Pigs wallowing in the sty are happy enough, but that’s no kind of life. I would be happy playing World of Warcraft for eighteen hours a day, but that’s a character flaw akin to a heroin addiction, not a path to success. Our ancestors understood all these things; why are we so stupid?

  4. Samson J. says:

    I’m sure that readers of sites like foseti’s roll their eyes at eight to ten bullshit “studies” in a given week.

    Ha, ha, ha… that’s a fine way to say it!

    It does seem like happiness studies always show this, and I just can’t figure out, for the absolute life of me. My family and kids make me almost deliriously happy; I never wanted anything more than a loving wife and kids and now that I have them I pretty much wish I could quit work and spend most of my life with them, punctuated by some time to myself to do things like go walking in the woods, shooting range, etc.

    If (*if*) it’s true that kids make the majority of people less “happy” (whatever that means, and I agree that it’s probably not even a valid question), then I can only hypothesize that there are at least two different sub-populations: a dominant one that wants more toys and vacations, and a smaller one that really loves family stuff.

    I wonder if the best way to find happiness would be to do the opposite of what broad-based happiness studies suggest.

    I don’t know about happiness studies, but I pretty much do the opposite of what mainstream culture tells me, and it’s working out pretty well.

  5. spandrell says:

    methinks single people just lie about being happier than they really are, to compensate what they themselves know to be a bad choice.

    Same as how ugly broads all constantly tell each other in FB’s photos’ comments “how pretty!!!” “beautiful!!!” etc.

    Losers’ self esteems are fragile things.

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