Sunday, August 12, 2007

I Hope to Stumble Often

I found this interview with Daniel Gilbert, a Harvard psychologist whose book Stumbling Onto Happiness was recently released in paperback, in the May issue of Smithsonian. No, this publication is not on my must-have subscription list. I was sitting at the transfusion center WAITING FOR PLATELETS and picked it up for lack of something better to read.

Anyway. The gist of it is (and here I paraphrase from some legitimate reviews) that when people try to imagine what the future will hold, they make some basic and consistent mistakes. Just as memory plays tricks on us when we try to look backward in time, so does imagination play tricks when we try to look forward. The fact is, happiness is not really what or where we think it is. The book describes what science has to tell us about the uniquely human endeavor to envision the future, and how likely we are to enjoy it when we get there.

So, get out there and start stumbling.

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