The Happiness Paradox
Why nice things don't make us happy (and why happiness makes us stupid)
The two biggest American TV dramas of recent times have been about people with whom it ought to be hard to identify: the superrich. Succession and White Lotus get characterised as freak shows - as satirical portraits of a weird and alien micro-culture of private jets, exclusive resorts, and superyachts. But the reason these shows are so popular, and so good, is that they are not about how the rich are different from us, but how they are the same. Both shows are about the struggle be happy in a world that is better at giving us what we want than what we need.
Happiness is more complicated than it seems or than modern culture allows. Here’s a question that comes up in the scientific literature on it: all things being equal, are you more likely to be happy if you’re a man or a woman?
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