The Sunday Times October 02, 2005
So what do you have to do to find happiness?
Are we wired up to be cheerful, or are some of us destined to languish
in abject misery? Dorothy Wade reports on the new science of feeling good
Behind the neoclassical facade of the Royal Institution, in London's
Mayfair, the latest in a 200-year series of lectures was taking place in
a hushed amphitheatre this summer. Standing on the shoulders of scientific
giants such as Faraday and Dewar were three academics debating "Happiness,
the science behind your smile".
Purists might imagine the founding geniuses of the Royal Institution
turning in their graves. What does science have to tell us about such a
frivolous subject? And how do you define happiness, let alone study it?
But happiness has finally burst out of the academic closet. Several
weighty volumes on the subject have been published this year. And
on the same night as the RI event, the economist Lord Layard and the
psychiatrist Dr Raj Persaud were debating the Politics of Happiness at
the London School of Economics just a mile away.
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*** Xanni ***
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Manager, Serious Cybernetics