Life . . . and the Pursuit of (Grants to Study) Happiness

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7 Responses

  1. Bob Miller says:

    While some uncharitable observers might scoff at the cited investigation published in Science, people of good will can view it positively:

    The investigators set out to enhance the happiness of the funding agency donors and personnel (and all taxpayers, too, if any of the grants came from the government) precisely by taking their money. A quick reference to the Torah’s recommendations, or a quick historical survey of the effects of Jewish charitable giving on the givers, would have been inadequate for this purpose. The lesser sum of money transferred to the investigators in a shorter investigation would have generated a lesser, maybe insignificant degree of happiness within the funding agencies.

  2. Ori says:

    Why do scientists research things that are obvious? Sometimes it’s just to generate research grants. Sometimes it’s because historically the obvious did not always prove to be correct. If you had asked most people in Georgia in 1850 about the relationship between race and intelligence, they would have given you an incorrect answer. Same thing if you had asked most medieval doctors about the health effects of leech induced blood loss.

  3. mycroft says:

    Yahadus doesn’t worship money-but certainly people with money have things that make life easier. Using the elderly as an example. those with money can have a much easier hospital stay-private rooms, private duty nurses etc. With money they can afford o stay at home and not be institutionalized etc. Isn’t the whole Long Term Care Insurance etc a way to ensure that money will be available for needs-if one has money one does not have to worry about asst planning etc.

  4. Yehoshua Gavant says:

    Dear Mr. Kobre,

    While you’re correct that it’s relatively intuitive that “money can’t buy happiness,” and that most people realize this, the whole foundation of science is to question intuition and other “given” assumptions. The conclusion of the study confirms our generally-held beliefs, but that couldn’t be assumed at its outset.

    Where would science be if Copernicus had accepted the “obvious” idea that the sun revolved about the Earth? Or if Newton had accepted Aristotle’s explanation of gravity as the tendency of the element of earth to move downwards? It’s true that science sometimes confirms the obvious, but that’s exactly what it intends to do – the results could have in fact been different.

    Religion, tradition, and intuition have their place; it’s not the same as that of science.

    Yehoshua Gavant

  5. joel rich says:

    How intuitive are you ” to demonstrate a rather accessible truth”?
    See: and you’ll find that common sense is not always common nor sense.


  6. Garnel Ironheart says:

    First of all, the statement “money can’t buy happiness” was coined by someone who didn’t have any and, therefore, had never been to Disneyworld. Money CAN buy happiness, if only because the purchase is through the supporting of charity and the needy. If this article is correct, then one does need money to be happy, albeit for different reasons than might have been supposed.

    All of this begs the old question: Why did the scientist boil the egg? Because he had a grant to do it.

  7. Jacob Suslovich says:

    While it seems logical that giving to others promotes the givers happiness because “it makes eminent sense to believe that living as Hashem intended human beings to live and emulating, in our finite way, His attributes of infinite goodness is a surefire recipe for experiencing fulfillment and profound joy.” something being logical and making eminent sense does not make it “a basic article of Torah faith”. If, in fact, giving charity did not make one happy, we would still be required to do so because it is a mitzvah.

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