Conditions of Happiness by Ruut Veenhoven (auth.)

By Ruut Veenhoven (auth.)

This e-book is ready the measure to which individuals enjoy existence: briefly 'happiness'. It attempts to spot stipulations that prefer a good appreciation of lifestyles. therefore it hopes to shed extra gentle on a longstanding and fascinating ques­ tion and, most likely, to lead makes an attempt to enhance the human lot. through the previous a long time an increasing number of investigations have handled this factor. for that reason there's now a large physique of knowledge. but it truly is relatively tough to make feel of it. there's a clutter of theories, ideas and symptoms, and lots of of the findings appear to be contradictory. This booklet makes an attempt to deliver a few order into the sphere. The examine attracts on a listing of empirical investigations which concerned legitimate symptoms of happiness; 245 experiences are concerned, which jointly yield a few 4000 observations: for the most half correlational ones. those effects are provided in complete element within the concurrently released 'Databook of Happiness' (Veenhoven 1984). the current quantity distils conclusions from that wealth of information. It attempts to evaluate the truth price of the findings and the measure to which correlations mirror the stipulations of happiness instead of the implications of it. It then makes an attempt to put the scattered findings in context. As such, this paintings isn't really a standard research of literature on happiness.

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Happiness was further shown to be largely independent of fluctuations in political and economic trends. The Cuba crisis, for example, hardly affected the happiness of the average American. (Bradburn & Caplovitz, 1965:125). People appear to evaluate their life not more positively in the spring than in the winter. Only where hedonic level is concerned do small seasonal variations appear. (Smith, 1979:26). 20). d. Do people know their 'true' happiness? In section 2/2 I noted that happiness judgements may be subject to the socalled 'defense mechanisms' of the mind.

The relation of these behavior traits to the individual's inner experiences is not yet sufficiently investigated, however. The claim that happiness cannot be assessed on the basis of observed behavior can be illustrated by the case of suicide. Suicide and suicidal intentions are sometimes used as indicators of unhappiness. For example Hart (1940) 40 suggests that suicide rates characterize the level of unhappiness in a nation. There are several reasons why this view is misleading: First, not all suicides are 'balanced' suicides; sometimes people commit suicide for reasons of honor or revenge rather than because they judge their lives negatively.

Characteristically, people do not need that time. They respond to happiness questions with "apparent ease" (Andrews, 1974:286). All in all there is not much ground for the belief that most people have no opinion on whether they like their life or not, and that questions on the matter tap 'hot air' rather than something authentic. 43 b. Do people distinguish between happiness and other evaluations ofllfe? Even when people do respond seriously to questions on happiness, their responses may in fact concern other matters.

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