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Friday, July 23, 2010

...Then you are ready for a walk

If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again—if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man—then you are ready for a walk.


Why Money Makes You Unhappy | Wired Science | Wired.com

From Evernote:

Why Money Makes You Unhappy | Wired Science | Wired.com

Clipped from: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/07/happiness-and-money-2/

Why Money Makes You Unhappy

Money is surprisingly bad at making us happy. Once we escape the trap of poverty, levels of wealth have an extremely modest impact on levels of happiness, especially in developed countries. Even worse, it appears that the richest nation in history – 21st century America – is slowly getting less pleased with life. (Or as the economists behind this recent analysis concluded: "In the United States, the [psychological] well-being of successive birth-cohorts has gradually fallen through time.")

Needless to say, this data contradicts one of the central assumptions of modern society, which is that more money equals more pleasure. That's why we work hard, fret about the stock market and save up for that expensive dinner/watch/phone/car/condo. We've been led to believe that dollars are delight in a fungible form.

But the statistical disconnect between money and happiness raises a fascinating question: Why doesn't money make us happy? One intriguing answer comes from a new study by psychologists at the University of Liege, published in Psychological Science. The scientists explore the "experience-stretching hypothesis," an idea first proposed by Daniel Gilbert. He explains "experience-stretching" with the following anecdote:

I've played the guitar for years, and I get very little pleasure from executing an endless repetition of three-chord blues. But when I first learned to play as a teenager, I would sit upstairs in my bedroom happily strumming those three chords until my parents banged on the ceiling…Doesn't it seem reasonable to invoke the experience-stretching hypothesis and say that an experience that once brought me pleasure no longer does? A man who is given a drink of water after being lost in the Mojave Desert may at that moment rate his happiness as eight. A year later, the same drink might induce him to feel no better than a two.

What does experience-stretching have to do with money and happiness? The Liege psychologists propose that, because money allows us to enjoy the best things in life – we can stay at expensive hotels and eat exquisite sushi and buy the nicest gadgets – we actually decrease our ability to enjoy the mundane joys of everyday life. (Their list of such pleasures includes "sunny days, cold beers, and chocolate bars".) And since most of our joys are mundane – we can't sleep at the Ritz every night – our ability to splurge actually backfires. We try to treat ourselves, but we end up spoiling ourselves.

The study itself is straightforward. The psychologists gathered 351 adult employees of the University of Li├Ęge, from custodial staff to senior administrators, for an online survey. (I should note that it remains unclear whether happiness and other aspects of well-being can be meaningfully measured with a multiple choice test. So caveats apply.) The scientists primed the subjects by showing them a stack of Euro bills before asking them a bunch of questions which attempted to capture their "savoring ability." Here's how the savoring test worked:

Participants are asked to imagine finishing an important task (contentment), spending a romantic weekend away (joy), or discovering an amazing waterfall while hiking (awe). Each scenario is followed by eight possible reactions, including the four savoring strategies referred to in the introduction (i.e., displaying positive emotions, staying present, anticipating or reminiscing about the event, and telling other people about the experience). Participants are required to select the response or responses that best characterize what their typical behavior in each situation would be, and receive 1 point for each savoring strategy selected.

Interestingly, the scientists found that people in the wealth condition – they'd been primed with all those Euros – had significantly lower savoring scores. This suggests that simply looking at money makes us less interested in relishing the minor pleasures of life. Furthermore, subjects who made more money in real life – the scientists asked all subjects for their monthly income – scored significantly lower on the savoring test. A subsequent experiment duplicated this effect among Canadian students, who spent less time savoring a chocolate bar after being shown a picture of Canadian dollars. The psychologists end on a bleak note:

Taken together, our findings provide evidence for the provocative notion that having access to the best things in life may actually undermine one's ability to reap enjoyment from life's small pleasures. Our research demonstrates that a simple reminder of wealth produces the same deleterious effects as actual wealth on an individual's ability to savor, suggesting that perceived access to pleasurable experiences may be sufficient to impair everyday savoring. In other words, one need not actually visit the pyramids of Egypt or spend a week at the legendary Banff spas in Canada for one's savoring ability to be impaired—simply knowing that these peak experiences are readily available may increase one's tendency to take the small pleasures of daily life for granted.

This makes me think of the Amish. From a certain perspective, the Amish live without a lot of the stuff most of us consider essential. They don't use cars, reject the Internet, avoid the mall, and prefer a quiet permanence to hefty bank accounts. The end result, however, is a happiness boom. When asked to rate their life satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 10, the Amish are as satisfied with their lives as members of the Forbes 400. There are, of course, many ways to explain the contentment of the Amish. (The community has strong ties, plenty of religious faith and stable families, all of which reliably correlate with high levels of well-being.) But I can't help wonder if part of their happiness is related to experience-stretching. They don't fret about getting the latest iPhone, or eating at the posh new restaurant, or buying the au courant handbag. The end result, perhaps, is that the Amish are better able to enjoy what really matters, which is all the stuff money can't buy.

Ian's birthday breakfast...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A July evening...

A BOAT BENEATH A SUNNY SKY

By Lewis Carroll


A BOAT beneath a sunny sky,
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July —

Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear —

Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die:
Autumn frosts have slain July.

Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.

Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.

In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:

Ever drifting down the stream —
Lingering in the golden gleam —
Life, what is it but a dream?




Read more about this poem and poet on the Poetry Foundation website: http://bit.ly/b85WPV




Monday, July 19, 2010

Where the mountains meet the sea...

Skin Deep: Horiyoshi III - NOWNESS




Skin Deep: Horiyoshi III - NOWNESS, posted with vodpod

Word of the day...tatterdemalion

Back down the hill and across the moor went the company speedily, for they feared a rescue. And as they went the stragglers joined them. Here a man got up feebly out of the ditch and rubbed his pate and fell in like a chicken with the pip going for its dinner. Yonder came hobbling a man with a lame ankle, or another with his shins torn by the briars or another with his jacket all muddy from the marsh. So in truth it was a tatterdemalion crew that limped and straggled and wandered back into Barnesdale that day.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Newly tye-dyed hand towels and washcloths

Does anyone else hear Dr Seuss in the rhyme and rhythm?

THE CANE-BOTTOM'D CHAIR

By William Makepeace Thackeray


In tattered old slippers that toast at the bars,
And a ragged old jacket perfumed with cigars,
Away from the world and its toils and its cares,
I've a snug little kingdom up four pair of stairs.

To mount to this realm is a toil, to be sure,
But the fire there is bright and the air rather pure;
And the view I behold on a sunshiny day
Is grand through the chimney-pots over the way.

This snug little chamber is cramm'd in all nooks
With worthless old nicknacks and silly old books,
And foolish old odds and foolish old ends,
Crack'd bargains from brokers, cheap keepsakes from friends.

Old armour, prints, pictures, pipes, china (all crack'd),
Old rickety tables, and chairs broken-backed;
A twopenny treasury, wondrous to see;
What matter? 'tis pleasant to you, friend, and me.

No better divan need the Sultan require,
Than the creaking old sofa that basks by the fire;
And 'tis wonderful, surely, what music you get
From the rickety, ramshackle, wheezy spinet.

That praying-rug came from a Turcoman's camp;
By Tiber once twinkled that brazen old lamp;
A Mameluke fierce yonder dagger has drawn:
'Tis a murderous knife to toast muffins upon.

Long, long through the hours, and the night, and the chimes,
Here we talk of old books, and old friends, and old times;
As we sit in a fog made of rich Latakie
This chamber is pleasant to you, friend, and me.

But of all the cheap treasures that garnish my nest,
There's one that I love and I cherish the best:
For the finest of couches that's padded with hair
I never would change thee, my cane-bottom'd chair.




Read more about this poem and poet on the Poetry Foundation website: http://bit.ly/c9BUq4



Sent from The Poetry Foundation Poetry app on iPhone. Download your copy from AppStore now!



Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sammy loves to read Mrs. Piggle Wiggle

Oregon Grape...

Happy Birthday Justine!!

Last night was Justine's birthday party. We had grass fed steak, mussels steamed in wine and wonderful salad and vegetables.For dessert Abby and Justine prepared a baked Alaska!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

A boat beneath a sunny sky...


A Boat beneath a Sunny Sky

BOAT beneath a sunny sky,
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July —

Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear —

Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die:
Autumn frosts have slain July.

Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.

Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.

In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:

Ever drifting down the stream —
Lingering in the golden gleam —
Life, what is it but a dream?


The mole...form and function

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