Psychology corner: The sadness of a happiness expert

New York Times

I found this article about a happiness expert who took his own life strangely compelling.  I had never heard of Philip Brickman, but as an astrologer whose Mercury (mind) is in Scorpio, I am an avid researcher of the nature of happiness and depression especially as it shows up in the natal chart.  Brickman is apparently best known for this study in which accident victims and lottery winners were compared to see who was happier in their later lives:

The study is straightforward. As the title suggests, the authors surveyed lottery winners and accident victims, plus a control group, hoping to compare their levels of happiness. But what the authors found violated common intuition. The victims, while less happy than the controls, still rated themselves above average in happiness, even though their accidents had recently rendered them all either paraplegic or quadriplegic. And the lottery winners were no happier than the controls, at least in any statistically meaningful sense. If anything, the warp and weft of their everyday lives was a little more threadbare. Talking to friends, hearing jokes, having breakfast — all of these simple pleasures now left them less satisfied than before.  read more here…

 

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Philip Brickman was born August 22, 1943 in Montreal (no birth time available – the chart shown is for noon that day with the Sun on the ascendant).  Depression shows up in different ways in a chart – there is the heavy hopelessness of Saturn, the deep wounds of abandonment with Chiron, the fear and often abusive history of Pluto.  But one often overlooked astrological […]

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By |2020-12-07T19:37:53-05:00December 7th, 2020|Life|12 Comments

The difference between happiness and joy

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At first glance, we might think that happiness and joy are the same thing.  Both make us feel good, both are qualities that we seek.  In fact, embedded in the United States Constitution is the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness.

In reality, though, I would argue that the two are quite different both in quality and in their effect on our human lives.  Happiness is a feeling, an emotion – a sense of pleasure and contentment. Happiness comes to us when we feel that life is worth living; that the circumstances in our lives have manifested in a way to generate a feeling that life is good.  The astrological correlation for this sensation is Jupiter – the Greater Benefic, the planet that helps to activate these good feelings of abundance and confidence and which often brings about actual good luck and good fortune.  Venus, the Lesser Benefic, is also involved in good feelings in its role as the seeker of pleasure, love and beauty.

Though a dictionary might say that joy is a synonym for happiness, they have a different quality.  Where happiness is based upon life circumstances and events that are good rather than bad, joy is an inner experience that springs from the heart and the soul.  Happiness comes and goes depending on our circumstance; joy arises from the soul when we feel completely aligned in our sense of Self.

Joy is defined in dictionaries as being synonymous with exultation, jubilation, exhilaration, elation, euphoria, bliss, rapture – sensations that activate a higher perspective than mere happiness and require a turning away from attachment to the things that come and go.  To me, this is represented by the full and complete activation […]

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By |2019-11-10T19:09:04-05:00April 12th, 2018|Inspiration, Life|19 Comments
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