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30 December 2008

Dan Gilbert on Happiness

Dan Gilbert presents research and data from his exploration of happiness - sharing some surprising tests and experiments that you can also try on yourself. Watch through to the end for a sparkling Q&A.

Be sure and check out his best selling book Stumbling on Happiness

About Dan Gilbert:
Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert says our beliefs about what will make us happy are often wrong - a premise he supports with intriguing research, and explains in his accessible way.

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Bread & butter with chives
Added: Monday, 18 August 2008

watch original V-Blog in Persian

watch original V-Blog in German

Ever since I can remember, I have been on a quest to feel "high". When I was a kid, I was able to achieve this feeling by eating a simple piece of Austrian bread with fresh butter and chives. For those few moments (that seemed like eternity) I was in heaven. Later, it was my days at the community pool or shiny new coins that gave me the "fix". But the older I got, the harder it became to achieve this feeling of being "high". Which makes sense, because as we grow, we develop, so bread and butter turns into graduating high-school, getting your driver's license, falling in love. I still remember that exquisite feeling of completing my final exam and getting my driver's license. I felt like I was on top of the world. Naturally, it didn't last...

There are many ways to obtain that feeling of being "high". You can get it by doing something for someone, achieving a goal, finishing a project, taking a drug, drinking alcohol, shopping for expensive shoes, becoming CEO of a company or president of a nation. Whatever the motivation, noble or not, humans have a need to be "high".

One of my favorite stories that highlights this concept is the story of Adam and Eve. Many have come to interpret that story as the story of original sin. I see it very differently. For me, Adam's paradise is not a real paradise. It's the paradise of the animal kingdom. Adam lives like the animals in ignorance and bliss. Eve represents the human soul. In his union with Eve, the human is born. The soul and the body are united to create the human as we know her. Unable to last in the paradise of blissful ignorance, Adam (& Even) can no longer live there. S/he is banished and sets out on a path of things "higher" – that is where the human story begins. Our desire to reach "higher" levels of consciousness and of progress is what makes us human.

And so it is that we have a choice as to how to create those highs. We can turn to our animal nature and try and create those highs by seeking power or accumulating stuff, but we soon find that the road from there is steep and downhill. Or, we can turn to things spiritual in nature, things that uplift us and other people. Sure, we're both flesh and spirit, and we need our bread and butter with chives from time to time, but the bottom line is – do we allow our body to enslave our soul or do we set our soul free and let it take us to the higher heights?

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