Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Geography of Bliss

Eric Weiner, a self-described grump and NPR foreign correspondent, has written a book on The Geography of Bliss.  I haven't read the book, but am listening to him talk about it on NPR.  He says happiness is "100% relational—family and friends."  I have to say that when I was back in NY, I was immensely happy visiting my old friends that I had been missing since I moved.  It was wonderful.  I have good family in Detroit, but it's a tiny family.  I have only a few friends in Detroit and see them only rarely—no close friends that I see often yet.  I miss that.

Eric also says that the pursuit of happiness makes people unhappy.  Being in the moment and simply enjoying life makes people happier.  We in the USA live "an over-examined" life.  I do tend, like my father, to lead an examined life.  My father often quoted Socrates, who said, "An unexamined life is not worth living."  Hmm.  I have a feeling that that part of me may always be unhappy, as I love to examine things, including my life (I love Plato's version of Socrates).  Eric Weiner says reading self-help books doesn't make one happier.  I love self-help books.

He says that we need enough money to meet our needs, but our needs are small and more money not only doesn't bring more happiness, but often brings less.  Striving for stuff does not increase happiness.  I believe that to be true.  It is something I have held close and dear to my heart most of my life.  Money and stuff, beyond necessities does not buy or bring happiness.  Barbara Kingsolver says that true needs are so small they rattle around in the bottom of a bucket.

Is not THIS book a self help book?  So does that mean it won't make me happier?  I'm putting it on my wish list, LOL!


Pam said...

100%? Goethe, in the early chapters of "The Suffering of..." would militate against that, hymning the joys of solitude and nature. But then he postulated describing his bliss to a friend by letter.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I also enjoy my solitude, but at times during my life when solitude was all I had, it wasn't quite as precious.

I didn't mind living alone. But only if there were friends to share with,

I remember as a college freshman hiking out alone at night on snowshoes through deep snow way far into the forests, loving every second of it, and suddenly being aware that I wouldn't be quite so happy if there wasn't a warm dry friend-filled place to return to when I wanted to.

Erick Weiner said 100%.

I did not.

Pam said...

I'm with you. 100% aint't where it's at.
Aloneness can be very comfortable. Herb and I both enjoy being alone when the other is traveling or away. But O! the bliss to be together again.
To have access to both is richness.
You and Biker Buddy are are fortunate, dear Mary.
Love to all three of you --

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

SO true, so true, a balance of together and alone is perfect. :p


Nadine said...

I think you would enjoy reading about Riana's Slow Year.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

OK, now I have two books to add to my wish list

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

OH, it's not a book, but a blog. I thought it was a book.