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).