July 11th 2014
Summary of the Text
Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert is about predictions made for the future determining from a persons past. Dr. Daniel Gilbert explores the nature of happiness and explains the numerous psychological illusions that tend to twist around our conception of joy. The book begins by raising some questions and problems that happens to almost everyone. For example, “Why am I not happier? Does money make me happy? How much money will make me happy? How can I be happier?.” Dr. Gilbert points out different and multiple experiments which leads to 3 main conclusions: 1. When we imagine our state of mind (happiness, sadness, feelings due to major events), details may be added or missing without us realizing it. It is those details that essentially make us happy. 2. When we imagine the future (or review the past), it is far less imaginative than we think. Our mental picture will be very much like the present and our "imagined" feelings will be strongly influenced by the present state of mind. 3. When events actually happen, we view it far differently than before it had happened. Perception of major psychological events help shield us from undesirable effects (pain, depression). The solutions presented by Dr. Gilbert accurately estimate our happiness is to draw our conclusion from people with similar backgrounds and experiences. The difference in subjectivity of happiness is a lot lower than the distortion in your own imagination.
Chapter 6: The Future Is Now; “Curiosity is a powerful urge, but when you aren't smack-dab in the middle of feeling it, it's hard to imagine just how far and fast it can drive you.” (116). It is amazingly crazy how many things does a human mind think about everyday. I do not need to imagine to understand that over thinking can lead to depression and making the wrong decisions.
Chapter 7: Time Bombs; “The reality of the moment is so palpable and powerful that it holds imagination in a tight orbit from which it never fully escapes.” (147). Presentism happens because we fail to recognize that our future selves will not see the world the way we see it now but in the back of our heads, we will continue imagining and wishing that maybe we could have done something different to prevent something negative in the past from happening in the future but we’re wasting our present thinking about something that will not occur ever again.
Chapter 9: Immune to Reality; “On the contrary, research suggests that people are typically unaware of the reasons why they are doing what they are doing, but when asked for a reason, they readily supply one.” (173). As humans, we all do this. We may not know the real reasons behind a situation but when someone asks us to voice our opinion, we automatically come up with something to say. Maybe because we do not want to seem silly in front of a group of people. Maybe because we know that we do not know the correct answer but we can still try to answer and maybe someone else will correct me.
Chapter 10: Once Bitten;“There are many good things about getting older, but no one knows what they are. We fall asleep and wake up at all the wrong times, avoid more food than we can eat, and take pills to help us remember which other pills to take.” (196). As we grow older. Our mind grows old with it and in order to make sure we remember what we have to do next or tomorrow, we take medicines. I believe there is nothing great about growing older because you rely on your self and no one else. As you grow older, you realize who your real friends are, what you need to do in life, and what you need to do to reach your goal. There are some good things to growing old but they do not last for very long. For example, after getting your first job, you feel so excited and happy but after a while you realize that now you have to pay for your own phone