Carol Platt Liebau: S + C + V = Happiness

Saturday, June 24, 2006

S + C + V = Happiness

At least, that's what this fascinating Washington Post piece says. S is one's biological happiness "set point;" C stands for one's current conditions; V is for one's voluntary associations.

The piece links to a pretty neat site -- Its proprietor is Martin Seligman a prominent psychologist (I studied him in college). He's the guy who propounded the theory of "learned helplessness". At the time, I remember being incredibly intrigued by the theory's insights.

To me, though, it seems that there are two missing, but related, parts of the equation . . . the two G's. One would be a relationship with God -- which, it seems to me, would positively impact both the C and the V variables of the happiness equation. The other, different but related, is gratitude. Nothing lifts the spirits like seriously and sincerely counting one's blessings.


Blogger Duke-Stir said...

"Nothing lifts the spirits like seriously and sincerely counting one's blessings."

Nothing lifts the spirits like counting one's money in front of the hired help who, thanks to this Repugnican-controlled Congress, will remain stuck at $5.15 an hour in spite of higher fuel costs and other cost of living increases.

Ahhh, drink in the sweet aroma of f__ing over your fellow man.

5:33 PM  
Blogger Carol Platt Liebau said...

Perhaps the above is just another reminder that Republicans are happier than Democrats.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Duke-Stir said...

Perhaps the above is just another reminder that Republicans control every branch of government and are catering solely to their own interests. That would make ANYONE happy.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Dittohead said...

Was that poll taken on the eve of Shock & Awe. LOL

7:06 PM  
Blogger Dittohead said...

Wow, I was right. The largest differnce was in 2003. The repugs where 17 points happier during shock & awe. I wonder what that means?

7:31 PM  
Blogger wile e coyote said...

Does every comment of Duke-Stir and Dittohead have to revolve around Bush and Republican bashing no matter what the topic of the original post was?


9:23 AM  
Blogger Duke-Stir said...

Carol, will you be providing any coverage of today's Washington Post story that outlines Tenet/Cheney/Bush's embrace of Curveball, the deranged informant whose claims of mobile biological weapons labs (among others) led us into this deadly boondoggle?

It is yet another case of the zero objectivity that Duh-bya had on the matter of Iraq. In fact, it is emblematic of his "we're going in no matter what" philosophy.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

It's funny how some of the commenters on here cannot get it through their heads that not everyone who is conservative and/or votes Republican is rich with hired help. I am a SECRETARY for heaven's sake so how rich can I really be? I don't even make enough money to pay for daycare (thank goodness for Grandma) much less hire someone to help me around the house. Are these delusions based on the comment author's guilt over his own affluence or his anger at others for having more than he does? And does he fail to realize that money does not, as the saying goes, buy happiness?

Gratitude is one of the surest ways to happiness, however. I agree with Carol on that. I grew up poor and haven't done much better since then but I am so richly blessed and have so much more than most people in the world that it would be very selfish and myopic of me indeed to complain. Instead I count my blessings and help the less fortunate as much as my small means enable me to. All the while I acknowledge God's hand in all things. That IS happiness, Duke-Stir. One does not need be remotely close to wealthy in order to acheive it.

6:13 PM  
Blogger Duke-Stir said...

"One does not need be remotely close to wealthy in order to acheive (happiness)."

I couldn't agree more, Jessica. I grew up in a household with very modest means and we lived within those means. I paid my way through college and worked and saved a number of years before starting my own company. I was happy all those years without money, and I'm also happy these years with SOME money (and a family!), as I work to pay off my equipment.

I do not begrudge the wealthy their money, I begrudge them the pandering their interests currently receive in the branches of government whose primary objective should be the interests of ALL Americans. This is not a new phenomenon, but its current brazenness combined with an utter contempt for the poorest Americans is shameful. Take this past week, for instance. At the same time the estate tax for the wealthiest Americans was being slashed, the House leadership blocked a floor vote on whether or not to raise the minimum wage because it appeared the measure had enough bipartisan support to pass.

How do you feel about that, Jessica? Are you fine with the Republican leadership preventing a vote on raising the minimum wage at a time when the incomes of the top 10% of Americans are accelerating? They say we can’t afford it. This is utter nonsense that has been disproved with every increase in the history of the minimum wage. They say it isn’t really important because no one actually gets paid the minimum wage, except maybe a few teenagers or employees in training. I don’t know where they live, but there are plenty of places where it IS important, where quite a few people DO get paid that wage for more than just flipping burgers. The poorest Americans pay the same price as the wealthy for gas, utilities, groceries, and medical insurance – all of which have increased in the seven + years since the last minimum wage increase. But the Republican leadership continues to thumb its nose at those who want to work to stay off welfare.

I really do want to know how it is you’ve hitched your wagon to the party whose only interest in you emerges every other November, when they hope you’ll keep blindly assuming that they’ve got your back?

7:08 PM  
Blogger Duke-Stir said...

I would add that while Frist and others are greedily tending to their own financial interests, greater men like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett demonstrate what it truly means to give back to society.

7:30 PM  
Blogger amber said...

Just a comment on the minimum wage thing that duke asked. From a conservative standpoint, we do not believe that a higher minimum wage will do anything except make basic necesities more expensive. The problem is not with the wages of the blue collar workers, the problem is the insanly outrageous wages of the presidents and the vice presidents. Conservatives do think that a person who works 8-10 hours a day and who is raising a family should make more than 5.15 an hour. (For people who think only college and high school students make those wages, go to a Mc Ds in a small town and notice the average age of employees there is 40.) So, the question is how do we get the CEO of Target Co. to say, no, a 45 million dollar bonus is just too much, let's give everyone a raise instead? The consumers. The media. Decent competion. Will it happen? I don't think so. It blows me away that anyone would even go back to work after 45 mil was dumped in their lap, I would quit and spend time with the family. However, because they refuse to be even a tiny bit less inequitable, all a minimum wage will do is force them to raise the cost of goods so they can still have their millions. It is not just the corporations. A public teacher in my town starts at 29,000 a year while the superintendant makes 170,000. That is just flat out wrong. I would love it if corporations were as concious of the needs of their employees as companies like Ben and Jerry's. They just aren't and it reflects poorly on all of us who keep giving them money. I am one of those people and I think about it every time I buy something at their stores.

9:10 PM  
Blogger Duke-Stir said...

Amber writes: "From a conservative standpoint, we do not believe that a higher minimum wage will do anything except make basic necesities more expensive."

Then she writes: "Conservatives do think that a person who works 8-10 hours a day and who is raising a family should make more than 5.15 an hour."

Amber, you make me crazy. Which is it? And if, as you state, conservatives DO think that someone raising a family should make more than $5.15 an hour, why did the Republican leadership block a vote that would likely have raised the minimum wage?

You are incoherent.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Duke-Stir said...

And if your point was that somehow the CEOs must voluntarily forego their huge bonuses so that the employees can be paid more, well, I don't know what else to say except that maybe when your teacup ride in Fantasy Land comes to a stop, we can resume the conversation then.

Raise the minimum wage, let the boards of directors crunch the numbers AFTER everyone at the bottom has been paid a living wage, and then if they want to stay competitive, they can shave off a few million from the CEOs bonus.

8:24 AM  
Blogger wrabkin said...


You might want to look at the people who actually share your beliefs. The Republicans you seem to worship fight against raising wages for working people, try to pass laws allowing companies to slash earned pensions -- which are not a "social program," but delayed compensation for work already performed -- and medical benefits while slashing taxes for the super-rich and giving themselves $30,000 in pay raises over a decade.

Meanwhile, the one company you single out for treating its employees fairly is Ben & Jerry's, which is as liberal a company as exists, and often the subject of Republican hatred.

8:28 AM  
Blogger amber said...

Frankly I do not have a problem applauding decency in others, no matter their political view. Ben and Jerry's has a business plan that creates happy employees. Target is also a very liberal organization and their business plan creates depressed employees who badmouth the CEOs to customers.
As for being incoherant, you must not have ead what I wrote. Rising the minimum wage only increases the cost of shampoo and toothbrushes, therefor rendering the raise ineffective and harmful to the rest of society. I agree that it is a fantasy to believe that the CEOs will forgoe their insane bonuses, that is why they will just raise the cost of goods. They are not benevolent people. They will reap what they sew.

11:16 AM  
Blogger Duke-Stir said...

Amber writes: "They are not benevolent people. They will reap what they sew."

Yes, Amber, they will. As will Bill Frist and other money-grubbing, ill-willed politicians drenching the rich with giveaways while giving the finger to those who want to work to stay off welfare.

You need to return to school for a macroeconomics class if you think a minimum wage increase will be fully negated by the higher cost of basic goods.

And please, please, please reconsider your avocation as the perfect toady for those to whom money means everything but need you to believe it's not. (You too, Jessica.)

11:32 AM  
Blogger Carol Platt Liebau said...

One more call for civility. Cut out the namecalling and nasty characterization of others' comments, please. It's not necessary to make your point, it's not kind, it's not true and it's not welcome on this blog.

3:32 PM  
Blogger suek said...

>>I would add that while Frist and others are greedily tending to their own financial interests, greater men like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett demonstrate what it truly means to give back to society.>>


4:59 PM  
Blogger Duke-Stir said...


What do Al Gore and/or Ipods have to do with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet?

5:41 PM  
Blogger Duke-Stir said...

And Carol, what are you talking about?

5:42 PM  
Blogger Dittohead said...

I guess we all agree. Poverty is ok because it keeps goods low and slavery is unacceptable for the time being.

7:48 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I think Carol may be referring to Duke-Stir calling Amber and I "toadies", which I am not offended by but which certainly cannot be believed to be the truth by anyone who actually knows me.

Politics to me are about a lot more than money, for one thing, so there are a lot of issues which keep me firmly in the conservative camp. I am more concerned about my principles than my profit.

You know, for all the left's talk about freedom they certainly do not seem to care about freedom where the economy is concerned. I believe in Capitalism and the free market -- so sue me. I don't blame anyone else for the fact that my husband and I aren't doing better financially. We both could have made better decisions in our past that would have generated more wealth. But we didn't and there is no use whining about it to anyone else. And sometimes life just deals you a rotten hand and I don't see how it's the government's job to fix that.

However, as I said to my husband the other night, we are blessed because we have intelligence and talent and we live in a country where those things actually make a difference in the way you can live.

At any rate, Duke-Stir's posts are way off topic and his original one was just a way to be snide and cruel towards half the country (you know, the conservative half -- you may have heard of us). The point Carol was making was about happiness. I'm happy and I am happy to be a conservative which means I vote Republican when they have a decent candidate. And I am no one's "toady".

12:14 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Oh, I didn't answer your question, D-S -- as for the minimum wage issue, I have to honestly say that I don't know enough about it to have an opinion one way or the other at this time. I try not to form opinions on subjects without having the facts and this is something I simply have not researched.

12:19 PM  
Blogger amber said...

Jessica, I totally agree about how making good decision in your life is crucial to being in a good place, financially and happiness wise. I am very furtunate, not rich, but I can afford everything I need and some of what I don't need. I think that some people get stuck in a place where they do not realize there are other options out there. The town I live near has a lot of heads of housholds making 6.50 and hour. I genuinely feel bad for them. I wish I could help them out so they could begin to do better. A minimum wage increase would do nothing for them unless they made it 10 an hour, but still, then a happy meal would be a lot more expensive, everything would. They have to make up the extra cost somewhere and it gets passed to the consumer. I do not have the answer, I wish I did. The only thing I can tell them is they should move and get more of an education, or join the military, the pay is not bad. All of the military personel in my town make more than teachers at the public school.

6:35 PM  

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