Sunday, May 18, 2008

To be Delusional to Strive

According to Daniel Gilbert:
"In short, the production of wealth does not necessarily make individuals happy, but it does serve the needs of an economy, which serves the needs of a stable society, which serves as a network for the propagation of delusional beliefs about happiness and wealth"
--Stumbling on Happiness, page 219

He argues that humans need to be delusional and transmit this false belief across generation because it helps them to save the society.

Delusional? I am scratching my head. Again.

1 comment:

  1. Well, delusional is too strong a word, but Gilbert does have a point. Depressed people are found to have a more realistic picture of their life situations than optimists. More recently, Peter Dayan (from Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit) argued that optimism can be partly explained at the neurobiological level. He suggested the role of a brain chemical called Serotonin as a control and inhibition mechanism for responding to negative life events. If this control mechanism breaks down, the world suddenly looks nastier (but may actually be true). Which one's more important to us? Feeling happy and positive about our lives, or having an accurate perception about our states?

    Irma Kurniawan