Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The American Dream

I’m all for dreams—as anyone who reads my postings certainly realizes. But the so-called “American Dream,” which conflates material wealth with happiness, is another matter altogether.

Ironically, Americans are the least happy people on earth—or so conclude the authors of a global study on depression and bi-polar disorders jointly conducted by the World Health Organization and Harvard Medical School.

(For an insightful look at the results, read Bret Stephens' March 9th Wall Street Journal column The Great Depression.)

So here’s a not-too-novel thought:

If study after study has found that owning a bigger house, newer car, and fancier clothes doesn’t equate with happiness, why don't we stop scheming to acquire more for ourselves and start dreaming about giving more (of ourselves) to others?

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