Our national gloom is real enough, but it isn’t a matter of insufficient funds. It’s a matter of insufficient certainty. Americans have been perfectly happy with far less wealth than most of us have now, and we could quickly become those Americans again — if only we knew we had to.
Why would we prefer to know the worst than to suspect it? Because when we get bad news we weep for a while, and then get busy making the best of it. We change our behavior, we change our attitudes. We raise our consciousness and lower our standards. We find our bootstraps and tug. But we can’t come to terms with circumstances whose terms we don’t yet know. An uncertain future leaves us stranded in an unhappy present with nothing to do but wait.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Money doesn't make us happy, certainty does.
A nice Op-Ed piece from Daniel Gilbert in the N.Y. Times. It is found on the New York Time's blog "Happy Days" - a discussion about the search for contentment in its many forms — economic, emotional, physical, spiritual. This blog was running postings through 2006, and then curiously lapsed until this Gilbert article. Gilbert's conclusions: