Monday, February 12, 2007

Today's Ramble - 2/12/07

Food for thought. It came as somewhat of a surprise to me that humanity has known that money will not buy happiness for thousands of years (straightforwardly expressed by writings of the ancients). Yet, our species (particularly Americans) continues to believe that it is so. How have we not been able to recognize and absorb this proven fact? Will we ever?

Harvard psychology professor Daniel Gilbert suggests that the reason may be in what he calls the super-replification of beliefs. It is not necessarily the truth of the belief that it important for our species to perpetuate. What is important is that the belief, and the activities associated with it, is a "communication" channel for something that is truly important to our survival. In other words, the social interaction and "progress" (i.e. efficiency) that result from the false-belief that money will buy happiness is what is important. Humans are innately wired to compete, produce, and consume. Our beliefs drive our actions.

The question is then, is it possible for our species to not destroy the Earth? Maybe the planet's destruction is hard-wired into our genetic code. Of course, this intellectual expose is off the subject of happiness somewhat. Yet happiness is a big emotional driver for humans. Our search for happiness, combined with our false-belief that money will buy it, leads us headlong into oblivion. I think we can escape it. Do you?

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