Happy

Three sentences from the last paragraph of a column in Time Magazine by Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert — Does Fatherhood Make You Happy?:

Our children give us many things, but an increase in our average daily happiness is probably not among them. Rather than deny that fact, we should celebrate it. Our ability to love beyond all measure those who try our patience and weary our bones is at once our most noble and most human quality.

I get the part about “our ability to love beyond all measure …” in the third sentence, but I don’t understand the first sentence at all. Nor do I understand the science supposedly supporting that first sentence — which is discussed but not cited. To answer Daniel’s headline rather directly — yes. So, I guess I don’t fit this paradigm and how happiness is measured by the scientists in this field. Instead of questioning “why is our personal experience at odds with the scientific data?” is it not fair to question the scientific data or the interpretation of the data or the methods used to collect the data or the funding sources and biases of the researchers? Why does the data lead here if it’s “at odds” with our personal experience? In other words, why is the data given the benefit of the doubt? This is just a column in a news magazine, but I bet if I read the actual studies on which the piece is based I’d find plenty to question. I question the three “reasons” in the article, and I certainly question the conclusion.

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