Introduction 00
Journey to Elsewhen 01
The View from in Here 02
Outside Looking In 03
In the Blindspot of the Mind's Eye 04
The Hound of Silence 05
The Future Is Now 06
Time Bombs 07
Paradise Glossed 08
Immune to Reality 09
Once Bitten 10
Reporting Live from Tomorrow 11
Afterword 12

Printable Version

Outside Looking In
In Chapter 3, I dive into the psychological research literature by posing what seems like a simple question: How are you? As it turns out, people can't always answer this question accurately because they don't always know what they are feeling. This is a real problem, because a science of happiness requires that we measure happiness—and if people don't know what they are feeling, then how in the world can they tell us?

In his unbelievably brilliant book, the unbelievably brilliant psychologist Tim Wilson (who just so happens to be my research collaborator, so there is some small possibility I'm biased) explains how and why we are such "strangers to ourselves." The psychologists Norbert Schwarz and Fritz Strack describe some of the perils and pitfalls of measuring happiness.

What can and can't people tell us about their current emotional state, and are the things they tell us the best measure—or perhaps even the only measure—of their happiness?

"Knowing Why" and "Knowing How We Feel" in T.D. Wilson, Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002), 93-136.

N. Schwarz & F. Strack, "Reports of Subjective Well-Being: Judgmental Processes and Their Methodological Implications," in Well-Being: The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology, ed. D. Kahneman, E. Diener, and N. Schwarz (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1999), 61-84; D. Kahneman, "Objective Happiness," in Well-Being, 3-25.