Happiness is too close to hedonism : George Vaillent : Comment on ‘Today programme’

by Julia Evans on November 14, 2012

Quick post!

In the past I have circulated (before the days of LW) many commentaries on the Government’s bonkers clinic of ‘Happiness’. I will be posting Willem Buiter’s (a former professor of economics at the LSE) and economist, Samuel Brittan’s shortly.  The following is more evidence that the Government’s elimination of relationships within its clinic, is bizarre. Must go.  JE

Today Programme: Wednesday 14th November 2012: available here

Listen to George Vaillent, Harvard Medical School : Happiness is too close to hedonism.: here

From the BBC web-site : 0743

An American study into the source of happiness that has followed the lives of 268 men from youth to old age has shown that happiness is not down to the attributes that you are born with. George Vaillent, the current director of the study from Harvard Medical School, explains the findings of the research.

A rough transcription of the interview

This study has lasted for 70 years.  The finding on Happiness is that Happiness is the wrong word and the right word for Happiness is emotional intelligence, skill at human relationships, joy, connection, resilience and Happiness is too close to hedonism and getting lucky.  True life fulfillment is about relationships. This is a big determinant of your life expectancy. The ones who did not form intimate bonds do not seem to have lived as long. Only 4 out of 31 not in an intimate bond are still alive today whereas a third of those with an intimate relationship are still alive.


This is an entirely different definition of human-ness to that used in the Government’s clinic for those with Mental Health ‘issues’ – see NICE  clinical guidelines, Skills for Health competencies, CHRE /PSA/HPC /HCPC top-down control using abusive power, & Happiness Factories – IAPT  – where it is used systematically to produce well-being as Tesco produces customer satisfaction or a nuclear plant produces power – see the Government’s report ‘Good Doctors: Safer Patients’.

This approach involves relationships of love and trust and another human being.  Now apply the Government’s standards (via Earl Howe , a former banker, who is the Government’s Zsar for standards in Health) to someone in distress….  Welcome to the Government’s risk-free prescription for your happiness!