Finding POINTS OF COMPARISON AND CONTRAST between the happy life and the meaningful life in “There’s More to Life Than Being Happy”: Smith writes, “Researchers found that a meaningful life and a happy life overlap in certain ways, but are ultimately very different.” Although, according to Smith’s article, the meaningful life and the happy life “are ultimately very different,” it is possible to find shared themes on which they differ. Imagine that you are looking for the two sides of the same coin.
|The Happy Life: Quotations
|CONNECTING POINTS||The Meaningful Life: Quotations|
PART II: Understanding “Super-Replicators” in “Reporting Live from Tomorrow” by Daniel Gilbert.
SOME BACKGROUND INFORMATION. Here is a definition of gene from Cambridge Online Dictionary: “A part of the DNA in a cell that controls the physical development, behaviour, etc. of an individual plant or animal and is passed on from its parents.” A gene can control the transmission of more than one trait. In other words, one gene from your parents could give you a trait like your eye color and a trait like an increased risk for diabetes: in this case, a “benign” trait and a “harmful” trait. Therefore, a gene that “promotes its own transmission” — such as a gene that promotes fertility (the tendency to have lots of children who then pass on the same gene) might also be a gene that causes more people to get cancer. Since this particular gene makes people transmit their genes to lots of children (the fertility part), it would also transmit the possibility of getting cancer to increasing numbers of people.
Work on finding answers to the questions in your groups. Take notes. Then write complete answers to all of these questions to hand in as part of your Essay 1 Log. INCLUDE QUOTATIONS IN YOUR ANSWERS.
1. “Genes tend to be transmitted when they make us do things that transmit genes. What’s more, even bad genes — those that make us prone to cancer or heart disease — can become super-replicators if they compensate for these costs by promoting their own means of transmission” (181). Why would a false belief – like a “bad gene” — become a super-replicator? What is the key characteristic of these beliefs that compensate for their inaccuracy and cause them to be believed by more and more people?
THE CASE OF MONEY AND HAPPINESS
1. In which paragraph do you find the results of research on the correlation between money and happiness. What does the research say?
2. According to Gilbert, who is following the thinking of Adam Smith (1723-1790, the “father of modern economics”), why are the “needs of a vibrant economy and the fundamental needs of a happy individual” not the same thing? And if this is so, according to Smith, “what motivates people to work hard every day to do things that will satisfy the economy’s needs but not their own?”
3. Copy the sentence that summarizes Gilbert’s basic argument in the section about false super-replicator beliefs about money and happiness – on p. 184. Then write an explanation of what he means in your own words.
THE CASE OF CHILDREN AND HAPPINESS
1. In which paragraphs do you find the results of research on the connection between having children and happiness. What does the research say? Does this research surprise you? Does it make sense to you?
2. Explain this statement: “‘Children bring happiness’ is a super-replicator” (185). Does Gilbert think that this is a “false” super-replicator belief? How does it become a “super-replicator”? Why do so many people believe it?