April 29th, 2007

Postbox Fairy

(no subject)

meme taken from _wastrel

If you feel so inclined, I want you to tell me about something.

Tell me about something that you really, really care about. Tell me about something that matters to you, that means something to you, that you find fascinating, maybe even that you obsess over. Tell me about something you're passionate enough about for it to make you feel like your hardships are still worthwhile. Tell me about something that talking about is never small talk to your ears. Something that gets you up in the morning, something that keeps you going throughout the day, something that helps you sleep at night.

The outfits that life puts on can be so dull and grey. People still care about things, don't they?

My response over at his journal was:

Well, the thing that I'm currently finding really intriguing is the work going on at the frontier between psychology and economics - working out what really makes people feel happy and like they're living a worthwhile life, and what can be done by individuals and governments to encourage it. It was summarized in Richard Layard's book Happinesss: Lessons from a new science but I've come across the ideas in other places too. Central to it is the premise that, in the developed world we've reached (in fact already gone past) the point where having more money or possessions makes for any lasting increase in happiness (and there are studies that demonstrate this), so we need to look to other things like creativity, friends & family, spirituality etc. which are more effective and also put less of a strain on our natural environment.

I'm partly interested just as a human being who wants to enjoy her life in a way that feels meaningful and worthwhile; and partly because it's an area I'd love to get involved with professionally - I'd like to do something a bit different when I return to paid employment, and it seems to me like this is something where the skills I've acquired to date (all the statistics/demographics I've learned as an actuary) could be very useful (the tricky bit will be finding someone willing to employ people to work on this!)

There is something very intriguing and appealing to me in the idea of using science (in my view the best way human beings have ever found to find out what's actually true) to attack what is probably the oldest problem in human history.