Bored by Happiness?

29 september 2009 | In Books Happiness research Hedonism | 1 Comment

I write occasionally on this blog called ”the Happiness Blog” (in swedish), which is mostly about psychological, behavioral and political strategies to increase happiness. It’s a fairly honourable pursuit, and the research it is based on is fascinating both in its robust results and in the large areas of it that are still very much up for discussion.

Recently, however, I’ve noticed a lot of reactions to this research that is, well, bored by the whole thing. This is not too surprising, the new wave of books that made it a trend culminated, I’d say, in 2005, and it was bound to get old sooner or later. This autumn will see a surge of books on the subject written in swedish, so we might expect even more of these reactions. The stuff is still highly relevant, of course, eternally so, but there is a bit of a PR problem here. We need to move on from the basics, perhaps even construe some disagreements about different happiness-researchers so that the reaction against a certain view on how happiness should be promoted turns into an argument for an alternative view. (People do this in literary criticism All The Time.)

A big problem, (as I’ve noticed in the mixed reception of my own vain attempts for media attention), is that the criticism vastly underestimate the complexity of the happiness researchers claims. While I’m actually quite pleased that books with some scientific credentials is budding in on the self-help market, it also opens up for poorly researched self-help books to dress up as science. While happiness-reserachers, often believe that even poorly reasoned self-help books might do more benefit than harm, its important to keep a certain distance. At least if we want the coverage, and the discussion, to become more nuanced and the full complexity of the research be allowed to surface.

1 kommentar »

  1. thanks !!!! for sharing your views and thoughts of
    .It’s quite interesting.

    Kommentar by Life it up — 30 september 2009 #

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