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Opening Arguments

Don't worry

Another important study from the Institute of the Obvious:

Being happy and staying positive may help ward off heart disease, a study suggests.

US researchers monitored the health of 1,700 people over 10 years, finding the most anxious and depressed were at the highest risk of the disease.

They could not categorically prove happiness was protective, but said people should try to enjoy themselves.

Regular readers of this blog will recognize that last sentence as a variation on Pascal's Bet Situation. Even if the happiness-health connection doesn't exist, what have we got to lose by assuming that it does and acting accordingly? And it's nice they say we should try to enjoy ourselves. It's better to have that kind of permission rather than trying to be happy out here on our own with no authority to do so. But what if I try to be happy and can't be? Will than make me even more anxious and depressed than if I'd never tried to be happy in the first place? If I can't be happy, should I keep trying on my own or should I try to enlist someone's help? But instead of them making me happy, I might pass along my unhappiness, and that would just make me feel guilty, which would make my negative feelings even stronger.

I think I need to lie down for a while.


Bob G.
Thu, 02/18/2010 - 10:42am

Know how 'ya feel, Leo...
Makes my brain hurt and my teeth itch!

Makes me wonder what these people REALLY meant when they said "try to enjoy yourself"...LOL
That can be taken SEVERAL ways.
(Great, now I need an aspirin)


Thu, 02/18/2010 - 6:01pm

Actually, it's called Pascal's Wager, and it suggests one ought to at least fake a belief in God, just in case.
The real problem here is the post hoc, ergo propter hoc argument. You know, the cock crows and the sun rises, therefore the cock caused the sun to rise.
In this case, isn't it more likely that healthy people are happier people? Many folks have a difficult time differentiating cause from effect, or recognizing that sometimes a correlation involves no causation at all.