We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -United States Declaration of Independence
• Why include ‘pursuit of happiness’?
“Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”
-UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights
• Why NOT include ‘pursuit of happiness’?
What Is Happiness
• Is happiness getting what we want?
• Or is it the experience of pleasure?
• Or is it an overall state of well-being?
• Do we know what makes us happy?
• Do we know what WILL make us happy? (Are you sure?)
Dan Gilbert is a Harvard psychologist and author of the national bestseller Stumbling on Happiness. “Gilbert believes that, in our ardent, lifelong pursuit of happiness, most of us have the wrong map. In the same way that optical illusions fool our eyes — and fool everyone’s eyes in the same way — Gilbert argues that our brains systematically misjudge what will make us happy. And these quirks in our cognition make humans very poor predictors of our own bliss.”
• FULL TED BIO • Daniel Gilbert’s Website • Daniel Gilbert Blog
“It is only when your brain predicts badly that you suddenly feel avocado.” -Daniel Gilbert
Thoughts & Questions
• Do we know what makes others happy?
• Is happiness quantifiable?
• How many Americans do you think describe themselves as “very happy”? Harris Poll
• Can/should we make “happiness” decisions for others on a grand scale?
• The UN thinks so. The Washington Post
• Should happiness be the goal of policy-making? World Happiness Report
• Back at the beginning: Why include ‘pursuit of happiness’?