Happiness is a clue that someone is flourishing. It’s not everything that constitutes flourishing, but it seems to be a necessary condition. Happiness is not restricted to the economic well-being of anyone. Money, as it is said, cannot buy happiness. But it also appears that computer display screens with others’ faces and news about them do not bring it either. A study of happiness reported in today’s New York Times points to the positive effect caused by the presence of other happy people.
How happy you are may depend on how happy your friends’ friends’ friends are, even if you don’t know them at all. . . And a cheery next-door neighbor has more effect on your happiness than your spouse’s mood. . . . So says a new study that followed a large group of people for 20 years — happiness is more contagious than previously thought. . . .