March 16, 2020

"I'm happiness blogging today. Nothing interested me in the news. It's a good move to make when nothing in the news is interesting."

"I stumbled into a strategy, that is. I thought I'd just put up a quote from this book I was reading — Robert Louis Stevenson, An Apology for Idlers — and the quote was about happiness, so I started casting about for happiness items. Happily, there was no end to bloggable things."

That's something I wrote on March 16, 2012 — Facebook just reminded me. I loved getting that prod, as I engage in a higher level of seclusion this morning...

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There's so much anxiety mixed with boredom these days that I thought I'd take you back to that happiness day, 8 years ago:

1. "There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy" — the post title is a quote from Robert Louis Stevenson. Much more to that quote at the link. I'll just add: "[I]f a person cannot be happy without remaining idle, idle he should remain. It is a revolutionary precept... and within practical limits, it is one of the most incontestable truths in the whole Body of Morality."

2. "And... that is the secret of happiness and virtue — liking what you've got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their inescapable social destiny" — a quote from The Director in "Brave New World."

3. "I have told myself a hundred times that I would be happy if I were as stupid as my neighbor, and yet I would want no part of that kind of happiness. But yet, upon reflection, it seems that to prefer reason to happiness is to be quite insane" — said "The Good Brahmin" in the story by Voltaire.

4. "I broke my theme. Something made me laugh"/"Then you didn't break your theme. Something made you laugh. Something made you happy. Something made you smile." A real-life colloquy. The first commenter didn't understand that post, and, funnily enough, I don't either now. Oh, I think it was maybe the next post: The headline, in Forbes, "Santorum Promises Broad War on Porn," which required me to blog about the double entendre ("broad war"). That was good for laughing, but not really about happiness.

5. "'5 Things You Think Will Make You Happy (But Won't)'/You already know what they are going to be, don't you? It's interesting to be able to think something while simultaneously knowing the opposite."

6. "Happiness is more like knowledge than like belief. There are lots of things we believe but don’t know. Knowledge is not just up to you, it requires the cooperation of the world beyond you — you might be mistaken. Still, even if you’re mistaken, you believe what you believe. Pleasure is like belief that way. But happiness isn’t just up to you. It also requires the cooperation of the world beyond you. Happiness, like knowledge, and unlike belief and pleasure, is not a state of mind" — a quote from the David Sosa, whose field is philosophy.

7. "A large Gallup poll has found that by almost any measure, people get happier as they get older..." — a survey from 2008. We are all only ever getting older, but the phenomenon doesn't kick in until age 50. After that, it gets better and better.

8. "The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness.... By many objective measures the lives of women in the United States have improved over the past 35 years, yet we show that measures of subjective well-being indicate that women's happiness has declined both absolutely and relative to men...."

9. "Romney's Religion of Happiness vs. Gingrich's Religion of Grievance" — a Sarah Posner headline at Religion Dispatches. I'm happy that I don't have to bother with the feelings of Romney and Gingrich anymore.

10. A post about my favorite Beatles song, "Happiness Is a Warm Gun."

11. I also don't have to think too much about Rick Santorum, but back then, he said: “This is the mantra of the left: I have a right to do what I want to do” and “We have a whole culture that is focused on immediate gratification and the pursuit of happiness ... and it is harming America.” He took the position that the Founders idea of "the pursuit of happiness" was “to do the morally right thing.”

12. "The Happiness Bank."

13. The acronym PERMA represents the 5 components of happiness.

14. "Is there a happiness mantra or motto that you’ve found very helpful?"
"Years ago, when I was researching an article on research into stress, one social scientist passed on a simple tip: 'At some point every day, you have to say, "No more work."' No matter how many tasks remain undone, you have to relax at some point and enjoy the evening."

15. "Happy people rarely correct their faults... they consider themselves vindicated, since fortune endorses their evil ways" — wrote Le Duc de La Rochefoucauld.

114 comments:

Meade said...

This is my favorite Althouse post of all time.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

I agree with Dennis Prager who posits that we have a moral obligation to be happy. He even has a designated Happiness Hour on his radio show. Those of us who are naturally happy people are needed to help spread it to the rest of you.

Ann Althouse said...

@Meade

Wow. Thanks.

Narr said...

Playing war games with toy soldiers made RLS (and HGW) happy.

Narr
"Follow your blitz"

Meade said...

Happiness is a warm Althouse.

Meade said...

Also: Warm is a happy Althouse.

Narr said...

You two get a room!

Narr
Never mind

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Meade, that’s a giant fib. We’ve all read those posts about how you guys keep your house at 55 degrees.

Lucid-Ideas said...

Did you know that Bhutan has a GNH, Gross National Happiness metric?

It was instituted by the Royal Family as they considered the happiness of their citizens to be both something they should measure and something they should work to increase, just like GDP.

Such a concept actually makes me feel warm and fuzzy. I wish we could have something like that here.

Meade said...

"Meade, that’s a giant fib. We’ve all read those posts about how you guys keep your house at 55 degrees."

That's the thermostat, Pants. I AM a furnace. I contain multitudes of furnaces.

Dave Begley said...

Baltasar Gracian, S.J.

"#64. Never sin against your own happiness in order to please the person who counsels you and has nothing at stake in the manner."

"#211. In heaven all is contentment, in hell all is sorrow, and on earth, which is in between, we find both. We live between two extremes and partake of both. Luck changes: not all is happiness and not all is adversity."

"#254. Don't scorn an evil because it is a small one, for they never come alone, but always in a chain, as does happiness."

I've purchased 35 copies of the Mauer translation of "The Art of Worldly Wisdom." You don't have to be a Jesuit school alum to read the book.

Laslo Spatula said...

"There's so much anxiety mixed with boredom these days..."

Last night three friends in the restaurant industry found out they don't have a job to go to today, with the WA governor's new closures.

One of them was working two jobs to help support his disabled parents.

Another friend lost his job a few days ago with the MLB stoppage.

But: boredom.

Eloi and Morlocks.

Marie Antoinette would understand.

I am Laslo.

Jersey Fled said...

My new granddaughter makes me happy.

Nonapod said...

happiness, private happiness, is the proper or ultimate end of all our actions... each particular action may be said to have its proper and peculiar end...(but)... they still tend or ought to tend to something farther; as is evident from hence, viz. that a man may ask and expect a reason why either of them are pursued: now to ask the reason of any action or pursuit, is only to enquire into the end of it: but to expect a reason, i.e. an end, to be assigned for an ultimate end, is absurd. To ask why I pursue happiness, will admit of no other answer than an explanation of the terms. - John Gay

Lucid-Ideas said...

"I AM a furnace. I contain multitudes of furnaces."


Holy cow Meade. Snarfed my skittles on that one. From one furnace-bearing man to another, My compliments sir.

tim in vermont said...

"yet we show that measures of subjective well-being indicate that women's happiness has declined both absolutely and relative to men....”

If feminism had been invented by horny teenage boys, how would it be different?

robother said...

The last quote puts me in mind of the Mikado:

Yet A is happy!
Oh, so happy!
Laughing, Ha! ha!
Chaffing, Ha! ha!
Nectar quaffing, Ha! ha! ha!
Ever joyous, ever gay,
Happy, undeserving A!
Ever joyous, ever gay,
Happy, undeserving A!

Ko-Ko, Pooh-Bah & Pitti-Sing:

If I were Fortune — which I'm not —
B should enjoy A's happy lot,
And A should die in miserie —
That is, assuming I am B.

Birkel said...

When measured against the standards for men's success, women are achieving more than ever.
Also, women are unhappy compared to before.

Can anybody grok it?

Shouting Thomas said...

I've been praying and doing my yoga.

traditionalguy said...

Robert Louis Stevenson Day. A true Scotsman raised a Calvinist Presbyterian born in Edinburgh . My parents named my older brother after him. Loved his books.

Susan in Seattle said...

Reading this is like looking at one of your sunrise photos: lovely.
Thank you.

Fernandistein said...

Smart people tend to be happier than dumb people.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

Here is something that makes me happy today:

https://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/museums-galleries/museums-with-virtual-tours

Instead of listening to gloom and doom and hysteria, I am going to pay a virtual visit to the Musée d’Orsay and the Uffizi this evening.

Fernandistein said...

Last night three friends in the restaurant industry found out they don't have a job to go to today, with the WA governor's new closures.

They'd probably be happier with some boredom.

Fernandistein said...

Smart people are also less prone to boredom than dumb people.

Bob said...

I recommend playing Calvinball also.

narciso said...

back to funemployment, whee,

MayBee said...

This reminds me of Irene. I may be wrong, but I believe it was her who said at that moment in time, you were the happiest person she knew. It was just as you were getting serious with Meade.

Much happiness to Meadhouse, and we miss you Irene.

MayBee said...

But yeah, this is a hard time for a lot of people. I know our yoga studio has to close at 3 pm today. I'll be ok- I don't depend on the income although it's nice. But it is a small business owned by a couple with a young family, and this is very hard on them. All the yoga studios are closing, and I don't know if all of them will make it to the other side.

David53 said...

Thanks Ann, I was feeling unhappy this morning. I needed to read something like this. I usually just youtube some old Robot Chicken episodes when I feel unhappy. Law and Order is my favorite, probably too lowbrow for you.

rcocean said...

I found that post about Romney and Gingrich hilarious. Posner is a leftist who doesn't like Christianity. Of course, she preferred people like Mittens who remain silent on religion. She also knew that Mittens was a "Moderate" and Gingrich wasn't. Hence the attack on Newt. This just the old con job. If a Conservative attacks, its "Nasty" and "Negative" and "why aren't you full of Reagan's sunny optimism?". When the Left attacks its righteous outrage and we're supposed to admire their "Bravery" and "willingness to care".

Shane said...

Ann ~ You're not a girl who misses much!

rcocean said...

Peanuts was "Happiness is a warm puppy". I think that was before the Beatles song.

Lem said...

Looking thru the second link i see i posted something about what made Steve Jobs happy.

Gosh time flies.

His biopic is in my Netflix q and i don't know when i'll get around to watching it.

rcocean said...

Happiness for some people is fighting in the political arena for what they believe. You think Bernie is miserable? Hell no, he LOVES doing this.

rcocean said...

I'm amazed at the lack of discussion over closing bars and restaurants. Why is this necessary? Why not close down every office building then?

Caligula said...

Happiness flows from maintaining low expectations (because then everything's better than expected).

BUT: perhaps "happiness" itself is not really a worthy goal? If you could take a drug that would deliver a century of subjective happiness to you yet actually kill you in ten minutes, would you take it?

Lucien said...

As my beloved political theory professor Hanna Pitkin once said: “Luckily for me happiness is not distributed based on merit”.

Lucid-Ideas said...

Sex makes me happy. I don't know what it is about what's going on recently but I've found that my fiancée and I are having better sex recently. As far as relieving tension - and believe me she is not a happy camper right now - it takes on a new role as stress relief instead of just something being done when 'the mood' strikes. We've also been holding each other at night instead of retreating to our separate sections of the bed, and waking up that way.

It's reassuring, especially at a time when she's had to cancel/postpone her dream wedding for this party-pooping virus.

stevew said...

I am happy pretty much all the time due to two circumstances:

- I have achieved a position in life where I can pretty much do what I want, when I want
- I learned long ago not to worry about anything, stealing from Yoda I do or do not, there is no worry

The back and forth between Althouse and Meade is kinda cute, is it posted here because you are social distancing within your own home?

Mrs. stevew and I sometimes text each other when we aren't in the same room.

traditionalguy said...

Happiness is a trick of the tricksters,. But you can buy it. Contentment is the home that we all seek.

Meade said...

Shane said...
Ann ~ You're not a girl who misses much!

Do do do do do do...
Oh yeah

Dust Bunny Queen said...

It is the little things in life that make me happy. Everyone needs to take a moment to forget about all the news and extraneous noise that we are bombarded with..... and appreciate the world.

Feeding the birds and watching them interact with each other. Hummingbirds. Quail. Finches. Sparrows. Woodpeckers. Juniper titmouse. Great Northern Flickers. and wait....there's more!

When a batch of cookies or a cake or pie or roast or (well you get the gist) turns out exceptionally well and looks like a photo in a magazine. That's when I call my husband in to say LOOK!!

Quietly sitting: crafting, sewing, knitting, reading, listening to music.

A beautiful sunrise or stunning sunset. (thank you for all those photos on your blog) The ability to be able to take those moments to appreciate the miracle of nature surrounding us.

The sound of my husband sleeping next to me, snug under a pile of warm handmade quilts and a down comforter.

Hot coffee in the morning and today...watching the snow gently fall.

Phidippus said...

"Happiness Is a Warm Gun."

Part of it is how nice they smell then, I think.

Seems like a strange choice of a favorite Beatles song, but hey, de gustibus etc.

Even if you agree with the sentiment in Lennon's song, it doesn't preclude being happy with a warm puppy, too. Although I think that guns have the edge in the smell department.

Pro tip: Cultivate an approach to life where as many things as possible make you happy.

Meade said...

stevew said...
"The back and forth between Althouse and Meade is kinda cute, is it posted here because you are social distancing within your own home?"

It is. But later this evening, we'll come together, right then, over me.

tim in vermont said...

"I wish we could have something like that here.”

Happiness would quickly be defined as access to government services and the degree of socialism that is implemented in the economy.

tim in vermont said...

"Smart people are also less prone to boredom than dumb people.”

That got a chuckle out loud out of me.

MadisonMan said...

In my youth I was a tree-mendous furnace. Now I'm cold most of the time. I figure it's evening out to neutral over the decades.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

It's reassuring, especially at a time when she's had to cancel/postpone her dream wedding for this party-pooping virus.

While the wedding dream derailment is disappointing.......Postpone the dream wedding and focus on a dream marriage. The wedding is a momentary thing. The marriage is what will last.

Inga said...

‘Happy people rarely correct their faults... they consider themselves vindicated, since fortune endorses their evil ways" — wrote Le Duc de La Rochefoucauld.’

Ah, I can relate to this. I admit I’m happy that I prepared for this pandemic two weeks ago, can now isolate without anxiety and I’m being an evil shit gloating over my foresight.

Oso Negro said...

Whatever Meade had for breakfast, it was clearly good for him. Carry on!

Ken B said...

Inga:” I’m being an evil shit gloating over my foresight.”

Better you should gloat over a (rare) triumph overAchilles, rcocean, and the rest of the “not even flu” crowd.

Inga said...

“Better you should gloat over a (rare) triumph overAchilles, rcocean, and the rest of the “not even flu” crowd.”

I am!

Whirred Whacks said...

Reading these comment made me think of the immortal words of Al Czervik: “We’re all going to get laid today!”

Meade said...

"the rest of the “not even flu” crowd"

I'm finding it interesting how, in my real life contacts, the "not even flu" crowd exists equally on the Right and the Left. I must say, it's the "not even flu" lefties who most grind my gears.

Char Char Binks said...

Money can garner happiness, if you're a wise garnerer. Caveat emptor.

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dust Bunny Queen said...

"the rest of the “not even flu” crowd"

I'm basically agnostic about the flu or the WutangFlu. Agnostic as well as the existence of A God. a Heaven, a Hell, Reincarnation.

We are all going to find out about both, eventually.
Don't know for sure. Don't deny. But why take chances. Act accordingly and it will all work out in the end.

Skeptical Voter said...

Back in my working days at a Fortune 50 company there was a management consultant who'd come around and rally the troops from time to time. His business related advice was that one "should always be of good cheer". As a way of getting through the day, and getting along with your fellow workers that's sterling advice.

And indeed when the refuse hits the rotisserie as it were, it's still good advice. You put a smile on your face as you clean up the muck. Doesn't necessarily help get the muck cleaned up, but it couldn't hurt.

tcrosse said...

I admit I’m happy that I prepared for this pandemic two weeks ago, can now isolate without anxiety and I’m being an evil shit gloating over my foresight.

But nobody knows yet whether your careful preparations were enough, so hold the gloat until we see how it goes. It could be that the toilet-paper hoarders have the last laugh.

bagoh20 said...

A woman's unhappiness is her means of control. Women are less happy now because they want more control than ever. Their expanded empowerment only robbed them of control by adding so much extra stuff to their plate. They already had the full plate of womanhood, but being women, they naturally wanted more, so be careful what you wish for if you want to be happy. You might have to drop a perfectly good plate to pick up that new one.

Phidippus said...

I agree with DBQ: she gets it. I'm always watching the birds at the feeder when I'm here on the computer. There's a hierarchy-- everybody clears out for the red-bellied woodpecker, the cardinals are next, then the white-throated nuthatch, then the house finches. The chickadees and wrens wait their turn and coexist peacefully. The titmice have attitude but can't back it up. The stupid doves are content with whatever the squirrels leave on the deck.

The irises I planted last year are coming back (yay! my wife loves them so much), a flock of robins visits each afternoon, and I've seen a couple of bluebirds pass through. Signs of spring on the way. (That means I can move back out onto the deck and sit in the sun like a reptile.)

I'm happy weeding or pruning the roses, in the darkroom when I make a print that sings. Just being busy and doing my work, whatever it is, or going for a walk. And of course, there's music.

I used to like to travel, but we haven't recently. We live close to home. It's OK.

I'm a pretty cheap date, it doesn't take much to float my boat. Like stevew, I'm not a worrier by nature. That helps a lot.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

I am!

3/16/20, 10:32 AM

Cherish these petty victories, Inga.

It's a rare thing in your life.

Meade said...

"It could be that the toilet-paper hoarders have the last laugh. "

True, but if so, it will be the bidet panic buyers who have the freshest last laugh.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

I'll start worrying if I hear Keith Richards has died from the virus.

If he goes, we're all screwed.

Ann Althouse said...

"Last night three friends in the restaurant industry found out they don't have a job to go to today... But: boredom. Eloi and Morlocks. Marie Antoinette would understand."

Cute. Nasty.

But people who have no job to go to ARE bored. Boredom plus anxiety is a specific sort of psychic pain. It can lead down a very dangerous path. The notion that they have anxiety unalloyed with boredom is just your nasty little fantasy to hit me with.

Are you helping?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Blogger Phidippus said...I agree with DBQ: she gets it. I'm always watching the birds at the feeder when I'm here on the computer.

Thank you. From my computer, in my office, I have a low window (5X5 ft) that starts at 1.5 ft from the floor. I can see the the wooded area outside. We have two hanging feeders, a burned hollow tree stump that was brought in for decoration (yard art) where we attach the suet feeders and our two story quail feeder on the ground. The snow is falling. There are Eurasian doves, quail, whitecap sparrows, red wing blackbirds, a couple of small woodpeckers pecking on the trees and dead stump, a bunch of unidentified "tweety birds". (I should get out my birding book)

In the winter we throw out grain. The birds recognize me with my red bucket of bird food and when I call they come running. Early birds get the grain.

There is a similar window in the same wall where I have a reading chair that I can sit at with my feet up and watch the birds ...or nap.... and use the window sill as a handy spot for my cup of tea or glass of wine.

In the summer we have feeders for the hummingbirds. The hummingbird "wars" are highly entertaining. Aggressive and selfish little f*cks :-)

I am easily amused... evidently. Little things.

Sebastian said...

"Women are less happy now because they want more control than ever."

But I am a little surprised to see Althouse hit the boredom theme. Surely, women are at low risk of getting bored. I mean, aren't they constantly preoccupied with contemplating the morality of their decisions, so central to their conceptions of existence and the meaning of the universe according to sacred constitutional doctrine?

bagoh20 said...

It's very uncharacteristic of me, but I can't find anything to be positive about right now, except that summer is coming, so that's all I'll offer.

No, wait. There is more:

As awful as this virus is to us and our economy, which is by far the way it will hurt us most, we are still very lucky that we happen to be so strong at this very time. Our nation has never been so well prepared to handle this as it is right now. Despite any specific mistakes or shortcomings, overall, our economy, our health system, our personal fortunes, personal health, and information systems are all in uncommonly good shape to handle such a challenge. We have some weakness though such as our dishonestly obsessed press, and our uncooperative politicians, but overall, we are lucky to be where we are right now, becuase it could be so much worse. It's actually about as good as it could be in this particular nation under the assault of this pandemic. Be calm, be smart, and appreciate what you have.

Bay Area Guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

When is the NFL Draft. The Masters are postponed. Baseball is off. Now I am getting less happier.

Fernandistein said...

That got a chuckle out loud out of me.

I know! It's funny because it's true that smarter people are less prone to boredom - when people are left to their own devices, which is the case under discussion. Doesn't apply to say, to a smart college student while he's working at a 7-11.

stevew said...

With all this stuff shutting down and the forced social distancing we're never going to know for sure if the threat from the virus justified these actions. And the virus chicken littles will be able to say they were right, that their demanded and implemented actions reduced the spread and allowed us to keep it under control.

That doesn't make me happy, but I do find it amusing.

bagoh20 said...

In the end, I think we'll find that Trump's travel ban on China was the most effective measure taken, and possibly the most effective single measure even possible throughout the whole event.

Inga said...

“I admit I’m happy that I prepared for this pandemic two weeks ago, can now isolate without anxiety and I’m being an evil shit gloating over my foresight.”

“But nobody knows yet whether your careful preparations were enough, so hold the gloat until we see how it goes. It could be that the toilet-paper hoarders have the last laugh.”

No thanks, I’ll enjoy being right to prepare right now. I may not be here when it’s all over, some of us won’t be. I’m happy I’m brave enough to face unpleasant realities and unpleasant people. It’s a challenge to be able to survive both.

Char Char Binks said...

"...chicken littles will be able to say they were right, that their demanded and implemented actions reduced the spread and allowed us to keep it under control."

My dragon repelling talisman has kept my state dragon-free for decades.

Meade said...

"And the virus chicken littles will be able to say they were right,"

Nothing could make me happier 6 months from now than to see that we indeed managed to "flatten the curve" and to have the "not even flu" folks laugh, point and mock me and my fellow chicken littles. I pray: May this black swan immediately, suddenly, inexplicably fall to earth and die, decompose, desiccate and disappear. Unfortunately, we see the gods looking straight at us, saying:

I know what you're thinking: 'Did we fire six swans or only five?' Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, we've kinda lost track ourself. But being this is a big ass swan cannon, the most powerful swan cannon in the universe, and would blow your economy and population permanently clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do you, punk?

And honestly, for about 3 weeks now I just haven't felt that lucky.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

There’s a lot of wisdom in Jefferson including “pursuit of happiness” as one of our basic rights. What other country has such a statement?
Also, I am incapable of boredom. Never understood it.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

I saw elsewhere: Precautions are always ridiculed, and no more so than when they are successful. I’m sure we all want this extreme reaction to be successful. It might have save 12,000 lives if we’d done the same when the H1N1 hit.

stevew said...

The latest data indicate to me that you can declare victory. In any case, we won't know anything until it is over and the full data can be examined.

ExplainMeMore said...

I've often wondered whether most people would rather be a happy idiot or a miserable genius? Is ignorance really bliss?

Laslo Spatula said...

"And honestly, for about 3 weeks now I just haven't felt that lucky."

I don't, either.

I am not mocking the fear and uncertainty -- my Magic Eight Ball keeps landing on "ask again later." Or 'cannot predict now.'

I am expressing the viewpoint of some who might feel like cannon fodder in the employment and small-business trenches: no one says what 'victory' looks like, and no one seems to be keeping a leash on government's urges and over-reach.

Darkly, I think this is exposing a schism in the country that is as sharp as the Trump Divide -- a lot of overlap, but not identical.

I am Laslo.

Josephbleau said...

Instead of the Beatles, Zappa said it all:

In the dark / Where all the fevers grow / Under the water / Where the shark bubbles blow / In the mornin' / By yer radio / Do the walls close in t' suffocate ya.

Out through the night An' the whispering breezes To the place where they keep The Imaginary Diseases, (Stink Foot-Apostrophe, 1972)

On Happiness, from the sage of my youth:

Happiness is the remembrance of past achievement and the anticipation of future achievement.

Happiness lies in being privileged to work hard for long hours in doing whatever you think is worth doing. One man may find happiness in supporting a wife and children. Another may find it in robbing banks. Still another may labor mightily for years in pursuing pure research with no discernible result. Note the individual and subjective nature of each case. No two are alike and there is no reason to expect them to be. Each man or woman must find for himself or herself that occupation in which hard work and long hours make him or her happy.
Robert A. Heinlein

One of the sanest, surest, and most generous joys of life comes from being happy over the good fortune of others.
Robert A. Heinlein

stevew said...

In some ways we are, with the self isolation, distancing, closing of events & businesses, substituting an economically vulnerable group of people for a physically & medically vulnerable group of people.

Narr said...

Shit's got even Laslo posting gloom . . .

I agree that dumbasses bore more easily (both ways) than smart folk. To me, the most boring people in the world are the poli-centric, followed closely by jock-sniffers.

But enough pleasantry: I must venture out into the Dangersphere.

Narr
If I'm not back in 24 hours, you know where I buried the loot

Big Mike said...

Happiness is not a warm gun. It is a warm gun with a pile of broken clay pigeons.

Big Mike said...

@stevew, you are closest to my own views on the response to COVID-19. It is one thing for people to self-isolate -- most of us already do so when we have a cold or the flu or anything contagious. But the closing of businesses that serve the public goes a step too far in my book.

Meade said...

"But the closing of businesses that serve the public goes a step too far in my book."

Not in my book. But please, I beg you, on April 16 tell me you told me so. It will be such sweet music to my ears.

narciso said...

the dangersphere, is that like the forbidden zone,

Marc said...

I think I saw a raccoon when I was out for my morning walk, just before dawn; not a cat and too big for an opossum. Saw a mother with kits last Spring, I think, May, perhaps, or June. Haven't seem the turkeys or hummingbirds lately.

My morning's delight has been the realization that St Gregory in his Moralia in Iob, asserting that-- he's commenting on Job 25,6, "and what is man but waste and worm in His presence?"-- as it belongs to the nature of the worm to be constantly moving so it is appropriate to use the image to describe the sinner's inquietude of thought and the sinner himself. One can connect the modern concept of an earworm (a piece of music that gets 'stuck in the ear') to this, not in some direct way of course. Apparently the insect that we call an earwig was dried and ground into powder and then used by the ancients to treat ear troubles.

Which is presumably where St Gregory derives the meaninng he attributes to vermis, a worm in classical Latin but in Gregory's a term encompassing what we would call insects, ticks, scorpions, bugs etc; σκώληξ, the word in the LXX that St Gregory's contemporaries read as vermis, is worm or grubs, larvae of insects. Gregory doubtless knew this in spite of his famous formal ignorance of the language; his contemporary Isidore of Seville calls a dog's tick vermis in his Etymologies.

Nichevo said...


Ann Althouse said...
I used a rhetorical device. He used a logical fallacy. There's a difference.

3/16/20, 11:15 AM



There is a difference. It is commonly known as privilege.






Ann Althouse said...
"Last night three friends in the restaurant industry found out they don't have a job to go to today... But: boredom. Eloi and Morlocks. Marie Antoinette would understand."

Cute. Nasty.

But people who have no job to go to ARE bored. Boredom plus anxiety is a specific sort of psychic pain. It can lead down a very dangerous path. The notion that they have anxiety unalloyed with boredom is just your nasty little fantasy to hit me with.

Are you helping?

3/16/20, 10:51 AM


Are you feeling ok?

Boredom? Unlike you, if people can't work they don't get money. If I cut your head off, or behead Laslo's friends, the fact that the victim's shirts will be ruined by all the blood is not a salient point. Death is the salient point.

Likewise, the poverty experienced by these persons put out of business by COVID-19 is Laslo's salient point, your insisting on "they're poor, but also they're bored and that's worse" is ... I fumble for words ... Retarded. You are being retarded.

Milwaukie guy said...

I'm going to be very happy for the next week. The sun is shining in the Willamette Valley, it will be about 60° for at least 6 days. It snowed on Saturday.

I will be able to get out and finish my bamboo fence and start another project. I'm social distancing by landscaping around the home. Soon it's time to begin prepping the garden.

Don't worry, be happy. God bless America!

Milwaukie guy said...

Trad guy, would you join me in recommending to Althouse readers "How Scotland Invented the Modern World"?

bagoh20 said...

""Well, do you, punk?"

And honestly, for about 3 weeks now I just haven't felt that lucky."


"Robber : Hey !

Harry turns around.

Robber : I gots to know.

Harry points the revolver at the robber's head, causing great distress as he pushes the trigger, nothing. Harry snickers before leaving for good."


He was lied to, but his fear gave him no choice but to comply.

Lucien said...

Meade: Is there any amount of government control of society in the service of “safety” that you would consider excessive?
Is your rationale “This time it’s different because it’s me that’s scared”?
Will anyone apologize for eight years of Trump hatred and “resistance” when it turns out he’s not Hitler? Of course not — they’ll say “if we hadn’t gone crazy, he would have become Hitler, so you should thank us”.
Your “nothing would make me happier “ line is equivalent. Is there no level of collateral damage that you find unacceptable? Did you think banning nail clippers on aircraft made you safer too?

Meade said...

Lucien: I'll give you my guesses/answers if you give me yours first. On second thought, here, on your first question: Yes. I consider the amount of government control of society in the service of "safety" (from communism) during the LBJ administration to have been excessive.

You?

Lurker21 said...

For Stevenson, people can be happy and idle, but the PERMA model requires meaning and accomplishment. Stevenson quotes Boswell's Life of Johnson

BOSWELL: "We grow weary when idle."

JOHNSON: "That is, sir, because others being busy, we want company; but if we were idle, there would be no growing weary; we should all entertain one another."


Maybe the meaning of "idleness" has changed over the years. Once it may have mean just not working hard for a living and could be associated with self-cultivation and sociability. Now it means something more like vegetating or low hedonism. Were meaninglessness and purposelessness regarded as a big problem in the past? Or is it a more recent development?

Narr said...

I wasn't asked, but I'll second the recco for How the Scots Invented the Modern World.

No TP or water by the gallon at our secondary Kroger. Traffic light, and business slack, at most places I drove by.

Narr
Dangersphere: The World Outside

Michael said...

I am happy enough laying off the flying for a while. Sitting on my porch having a coffee and a Cuban. Trying not to feel too guilty about the money I am going to make from the sell off. Just a matter of time and patience. Remembering that there is a buyer for every one of these stocks getting hammered gives me a mounting courage.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...


Blogger Lurker21 said.

Maybe the meaning of "idleness" has changed over the years. Once it may have mean just not working hard for a living and could be associated with self-cultivation and sociability. Now it means something more like vegetating or low hedonism. Were meaninglessness and purposelessness regarded as a big problem in the past? Or is it a more recent development?

3/16/20, 3:06 PM

Until the middle of the 20th century, very, very few people had much leisure time. The aristos who did were sometimes cultivated - and quite productive - and sometimes purely hedonistic. Any sense of purposelessness some of them might have had was undoubtedly countered by the knowledge that they were at the apex of society. Ennui was definitely not a problem the average factory worker or farmer or miner had to deal with.

Iman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Francisco D said...

And honestly, for about 3 weeks now I just haven't felt that lucky.

Factoring luck into your decisions only makes sense if you are the big stack in a poker game.

Iman said...

I need a love to keep me happy.

Iman said...

It is. But later this evening, we'll come together, right then, over me.

Make sure you check the ceiling for paint. And do NOT forget teh reacharound...

Roughcoat said...

The Scots may have invented the modern world, but it was the Irish who saved civilization.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, all of youse.

PresbyPoet said...

Just got back from the San Jose Rose Garden library. Picked up a book on hold, "Shadows of Annihilation" by S. M. Stirling, the third in his WWI alternative history. My wife picked out another 8 books to tide her over during the dark times ahead when we are taught that libraries are not essential. Tomorrow the library goes dark.

I have nothing to complain about. When you have 12,000 books, and thousands not read, it would take a very long shutdown to deprive me of my addiction, and what makes me happy. (Libraries are essential says the addict.)

Regarding happiness, what we need to seek is Joy, not mere happiness. I cannot be happy at what is happening. Plague, coups, corruption, cults, none of them make me happy. I cannot be happy my son died of cancer, but I can be Joyful, because true Joy is not affected by circumstances. There are 4 true infinities. Joy, Love, Hope and Peace. Each has a false twin that looks like the true, but is only finite, and so is affected by circumstances.

Tomorrow is the start of the effort to crash the economy by shutting down the bay area. We have an advantage: We always buy ahead when there is a good sale,so we have a 3 month supply of TP. People are going crazy. There are lines in stores, that if Wuhan flu was as bad as they claim, would kill thousands. I wore my mask to the library. I used a metal tool to push the elevator button. I stayed 6 feet away from anyone (except my wife). Too many were in lines at the grocery store and not enough at the library.

Lucien said...

Meade: I want to know more about your concerns re: the Johnson administration. Are you referring to the Cold War stuff, or the spying on anti-war or MLK stuff or other? (I was not too politically aware at the time, and I know this is OT asto COVID19). As to what I think is too much, it might be enough to consider me a soft-core libertarian and just fill in the blanks, or you might want details.



Big Mike said...

@Meade, maybe I'm wrong. I seem to be very much in a minority position regarding restaurant closings. It means a lot of financial pain for people already near the bottom of the financial ladder, so it had damned well better be worth it in lives saved. I reread what Mike DeWine had to say, and it came across to me as unctuous and insincere. The sort of thing he feels he has to say because his staff told him to emote all over the people he's bankrupting. And he's the Republican -- I expect him to know better.

Big Mike said...

Like DBQ and Phidippus I love to feed the birds and watch them come to our feeders. We have a squirrel proof feeder (which really is squirrel proof -- so far) filled with sunflower seeds that attracts a red-bellied woodpecker, male and female cardinals, red-winged blackbirds (there's a large marshy area about a half mile away), house finches, gold finches, sparrows, juncos, and two male/female pairs of Eastern blue birds. There is also a suet feeder that attracts starlings (sometimes too many of them), downy and hairy woodpeckers of both sexes, nuthatches, the blue birds, and the odd tufted titmouse. We have a thistle seed feeder for the exclusive use of our gold finches.

I put safflower seeds on the deck railing and toss some on the lawn for mourning doves -- the birds seem dumber than dirt but their cooing is very restful -- but house finches, juncos, and sparrows also eat the safflower seeds. And I toss handfuls of peanuts onto a small table on the deck for the blue jays. They seem to leave a sentinel by our yard, who will fly down, grab a peanut, fly away to eat it, come back, call out to the rest of the flock, and then grab his second before the rest of the flock arrives. There's female cardinal who has figured out how to peck open a peanut, and the red-bellied woodpecker will grab one if they aren't gone before he comes around. Lately the squirrels have gotten wise and will try show up after they hear the sentinel call out for his mates. If I see them I open the door and chase them, but they've added a strategy of hanging over the side of the deck until I go back in.

Plus the mourning doves attract a beautiful hawk. I've seen signs that the hawk has sometimes been successful, but doves are fast fliers and usually get away.

PresbyPoet said...

We don't have a bird feeder, but a bougainvillea that thinks it is a tree. It sprawls over an arbor in the back yard. It is 65 years old with a 6" trunk, and taller than the house. The birds treat it as a thicket in the sky. The 2" long thorns make it a challenge to any cats trying to sneak up on the flock. The flock twitters constantly, and the neighborhood cats spend much time looking up with interest.
One year we had a hummingbird nest at eye level. She had two chicks. It was fun to look out the window and see two little swords sticking up when mom would go out looking for food. She used spider web in her nest, so it expanded as the chicks grew bigger.

Known Unknown said...

"I contain multitudes of furnaces."

You're Tracy Lord?

Big Mike said...

@Phidippus, I saw your namesake last night. It was a tiny thing in the master bathroom, and it jumped its way out when I turned on the light.

Milwaukie guy said...

You're right Roughcoat, God bless those monks.

alanc709 said...

How soon before the government will be required to deliver food to each citizen, if we continue down this path?