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February 09, 2009



I'm sure a lot of "feel good" factors are down to a sense of "belonging" - whether it be to a family, a club or a religion. Indeed, happiness appears to come mostly from belonging - even if its only to one person


I thought there was a well known paradox, though that despite the individual conclusion about religion - the most happy countries are mostly secular.

Maybe religious people just like to say they are happy, they wouldn't put up with such nonsense if it didn't have a payoff.


I just checked and the paper you pointed to about religion and happiness bears what I said out on a country level. Maybe religion is a drug for the unhappy and the happier a country is, the less it needs it.


A country in which the government added prozac to the water supply might be "happier" than one which didn't.

Maybe there's a benefit to unhappiness. Real improvement comes from discontented people, who feel they aren't yet living in the beat of all possible worlds.


Err, that was meant to be "best", not "beat".


It occured to me after I posted yesterday that there might be another explaination of the apparent paradox. Perhaps religion makes individuals happier, but has significant negative externalities. Would explain the data. Should we tax religion then instead of subsidising it?

passer by

measuring happiness? now there is an unhappy thing.

Too much time on hands me thinks? but I suppose after Sundays achievements you were ready for a fall to earth.

Dr. Ramesh Richard

Hi, I randomly came across your blog and found it very interesting. I wonder what you would think of a global telecast done by Dr. Ramesh Richard called "Beyond Happiness." You can watch it at www.rameshrichard.com I would be interested to hear your thoughts.

Also, his blog is http://rameshrichardblog.blogspot.com/

On behalf of Dr. Ramesh Richard,



happiness appears to come mostly from belonging - even if its only to one person.
i agree.

Fulfilment though comes from having an environment where we can express all aspects of ourselves.


Here in Barcelona we have too the campaign: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life ".
Puting aside the fact that this is the same idea that Epicurus expressed more than 2.000 years ago with no apparent succes, we can see that the people behind this campaign relate religion and unhappines and, at the same time, truth with happines.
This is so christian: truth will set you free! And the campaign is so apostolic and catholic (cath'olos: for everybody)! You can so easily feel that they have the complete assurance of the complete goodness of their cause.In this new religion, they have changed the divine providence for the divine scientific providence. A real atheist should be able to free himself from all idea of divine providence.
Maybe would be better to put it that way: "Probably providence is an effort to give sense to a senseless world. Stop believing in it and dare to be unhappy".


Well, judging about some ones happiness from your own cosy and warm office is not the most fair perspective, is it?

As for those who still argue that money cannot buy you happiness, you're just not spending it correctly :) ...

If to be less cinical and critical, many theorists have agreed that there is a combination of factors that motivate and make people happy (to name the most commonly cited: Maslow, Mayo and Herzberg), secularity being only a small part of it all. As for myself, will have to agree with the ideas outlined above about the sense of belonging. There is nothing worse than feeling at the wrong time in the wrong place doing the wrong things, however a starving child in Africa might easily contradict me...

Mark Ladd

What is happiness?

Invertir Dinero

Great information, you have a wonderful blog and an excellent article!!

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