Faulty Connections

or, how we mislead ourselves.

Will you be happy if you win the lottery? Will you fall into despair if you lose a leg? We think that the answers are obvious. And we are wrong. Research shows that we do, in fact, tend to return to a standard level of happiness which is typical for the individual. Freud may still have had a point when he suggested that, although we do seek happiness, the real aim is just ordinary unhappiness. That does (and should) not hold us back from trying, however. It also makes a real understanding of the trouble with happiness all the more important. When it comes to the relationship between happiness and change towards sustainability, the problem is particularly striking, for the same misunderstandings that keep us from changing our lives to fit into their ecological frames even keep us from trying counter-intuitive things which would have a chance of increasing our happiness.


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