So my theory is that happiness is tied to roots and community more than good economy, good education, good employment prospects, good future for your kids, low crime, and all of the other things LA isn't really strong on.
I would like to see the happiness research compared to migration statistics.
Therefore, using this research to plan a relocation may be counterproductive.
My friends in SF (Noe Valley) don't know their neighbors at all and have no plans to change that state of affairs. I find this unconscionable.
You can grow some beautiful Wisteria or Sweet Olive if that would satisfy your green thumb.
That's.. interesting, I always thought of you as a stern atheist. May I ask you to elaborate how you came to a different position from your past (presumably) atheistic views?
On a separate note -- it really, really, really bothers me that DFW made the decision to commit suicide. I mean, it almost compels me to read what you linked in a way that I should not, on the line that hey - this is what he said and believed - and then he decided to go that way. It makes one question the message, that if I immerse myself in this viewpoint, will I also find myself being pushed in that direction? Or, is the message empty and insincere or really not as profound as it seems, given that he had these insights and still he decided to do what he did?
Meh, sorry that I'm being so negative here. I think it was mainly the free will thread ( https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8160395 ) that got me depressed (ideas that basically 1) completely kill any notion of the supernatural or deep meaning (in the way that our religious teachings may have impressed upon us; that we ourselves may have held so dear once upon a time) and 2) question the agency of a human's free will; realizing the lack of a free will just takes the joy out of living really... at least for me).
(I confess I find this turn of phrase so repugnant that I can barely bring myself to type it, even inside scare quotes. Its implication is that a person with a proper philosophy, or one whose belief was sufficiently sincere, wouldn't have slacked off to the point that they suffered from a debilitating, painful, often fatal condition that is apparently the number-four cause of disability in the USA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOAgplgTxfc )
Though I guess human interactions are so complex and subtle that it might be a lost cause to try to drop the pretence, sometimes. But maybe some cultures do this a lot, for all I know.
Certainly I don't think we've abandoned social groups, but I do think they've been uprooted from the geographic association they once were required to have. Even at university it's quite possible to sit away from people and just stare at your phone or computer screen for hours. Nowadays it seems you practically have to fight to form strong groups that require in-person presence and dedicated time.
The "village" though has its dark side and that is everyone is in everyone's business. That goes directly in the face of American individualism.
There is also "social" and "social". That is "social" in a context of a hobby or a club. Or it is programming club, or samba dancing club, or painting class at the local art centre. One can go to those yet still keep most of their non-group-specific life private. Like for example one might attend the local ham radio club and everyone would know they how many words per minute in morse code one can type but they might not be aware that the person's wife just died and they are about to lose the house and so on.
Churches and tight knit communities with all their downsides sort of force and reveal stuff at that depth and are also able to influence it (for better or for worse).
This study also should have controlled for antidepressant usage.
It sure seems to me like asking people if they're happy measures what they consider is a culturally acceptable answer to the question, and nothing else.
What is also surprising is that some of the poorer states in the US, LA, GA, AL are some of the happiest states, while the most wealthy, NY (Long Island), CA (around LA) are some of the unhappiest.
The declining mid-west cities makes sense to me.
Unless I'm reading that map wrong, Alabama was slightly below average. Also Georgia is pretty close to the middle for average income, and once you adjust for cost of living it's even higher.
It's interesting that the difference between Georgia and Alabama is so great, because once you remove metro Atlanta, the weather, culture, income, and cost of living are pretty close. So why does it seem someone living in rural GA is much happier than someone living in rural Alabama? By the way I live in Georgia, but only about 30 minutes from the Alabama line.
That argument doesn't seem to be supported.
The article points out that high school graduates are more satisfied than dropouts. Also up to a point higher income (correlated with higher education) leads to higher satisfaction. A quick google search seems to confirm that education is correlated with life satisfaction [1,2,3].
Furthermore the study mentioned in the article is specifically looking at location differences. They acknowledge that other factors like "income, education level, age, and marital status" matter more, but that there even controlling for those factors there are still differences based on location.
imagine philadelphia county which has some of very highly educated areas such as around the University of Pennsylvania. But the overall education of Philadelphia is quite poor.
im just saying that any attempt to link education with happiness data at the county level is somewhat useless for most of the country.
Discontent stems from being exploited, and LA, NY are clear examples of cities and areas where expectation and exploitation go hand in hand.
The people that annoy me are those who say things like, "Joe Smith is worth a million dollars." Implicit in that sentence is the idea that someone who has no money is worth nothing.
> ... when you're basically one step away from homelessness?
American society is so immersed in conventional signs of status that it's possible to shamelessly define people in terms of what they lack. Homeless. Jobless. Degree-less. Car-less. People who live in hotels are homeless, strictly speaking. Many New Yorkers are car-less because there's good public transport. I lived in New York City for about five years in the 1960s and it would never have occurred to me that not having a car made me a second-class person.
In the U.S., the view of rich people as seen by poor people is wildly distorted -- the rich are jetting around, wrecking their exotic cars, throwing wild expensive parties. And the view of poor people as seen by rich people is wildly distorted -- the poor live in cardboard boxes, do drugs, drink cheap wine, and so forth. Both equally inaccurate.
The 2008 financial crisis had a number of causes, but one of them was a federal program to get people into houses they actually couldn't afford. The mortgage meltdown was partly the result of this program that created an artificial scarcity (and price rise) of real estate and a widespread disregard of people's inability to pay their mortgages.
My point? Being homeless isn't the worst thing that could happen to someone.
My extended family had a pretty happy life in NYC when they all lived a few blocks from each other. Proximity, shared community through the church parish and schools all reinforced those bonds. Their friendships extended to their neighbors and some even endure today -- 20-30 years later.
Today, we're all scattered and distance relationships require a lot more work for a lot less benefit.
I would love if you expanded on this point rather than just throwing it out there. I live in Canada, tell me why my society is better functioning.