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SpringerBriefs in Well-Being and Quality of Life Research For further volumes: http://www.springer.com/series/10150 Bjørn Grinde The Biology of Happiness 123 Bjørn Grinde Division of Mental Health Norwegian Institute of Public Health PO Box 4404, Nydalen 0403 Oslo Norway ISSN 2211-7644 ISBN 978-94-007-4392-2 DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-4393-9 Springer Dordrecht Heidelberg New York London e-ISSN 2211-7652 e-ISBN 978-94-007-4393-9 Library of Congress Control Number: 2012935720 Ó The Author(s) 2012 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. Exempted from this legal reservation are brief excerpts in connection with reviews or scholarly analysis or material supplied specifically for the purpose of being entered and executed on a computer system, for exclusive use by the purchaser of the work. Duplication of this publication or parts thereof is permitted only under the provisions of the Copyright Law of the Publisher’s location, in its current version, and permission for use must always be obtained from Springer. Permissions for use may be obtained through RightsLink at the Copyright Clearance Center. Violations are liable to prosecution under the respective Copyright Law. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. While the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication, neither the authors nor the editors nor the publisher can accept any legal responsibility for any errors or omissions that may be made. The publisher makes no warranty, express or implied, with respect to the material contained herein. Printed on acid-free paper Springer is part of Springer Science+Business Media (www.springer.com) Preface Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in the world, yet these children seem to have no problem finding happiness—perhaps because they have each other. The difficult part, however, is to retain happiness throughout life. (Photo: B. Grinde) Happiness is a somewhat vague term. In the existing literature, most of it based on philosophy and the social sciences, it is possible to distinguish between two broad ways of applying the word. One is to use happiness as a value term for how life ought to be; i.e. somewhat synonymous with well-being, flourishing or quality of life. The other focuses on happiness as a particular emotional quality; i.e. pleasure as opposed to sorrow or pain. This split appears to date back to the early Greek v vi Preface literature, where they distinguished between eudaemonia (contentment and meaning) and hedonia (sensual pleasures). I shall argue that the biological perspective on happiness unites the two alter-natives in that it describes a common denominator for sensual pleasures, con-tentment, well being and flourishing. Although hedonia and eudaemonia are quite different as to how they are experienced, the affect part of both apparently has a shared evolutionary background, and is cared for by overlapping neural circuits. The biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky once wrote, ‘Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution’. More recently, the psychologist Henry Plotkin has suggested that in psychology nothing makes complete sense except in the light of evolution. The biological perspective has the power of creating an all-embracing platform for understanding human life, and thereby allowing for a unification of different approaches aimed at describing various topics—including the question of happiness. In my mind, the purpose of science is to create the best possible model of reality. The aim of this book is to offer the best portrayal of what happiness is about, taking into consideration all the current evidence. Brain research is, how-ever, a difficult subject; thus some of the details I add to my model are tentative. Even if it should be the best portrayal possible at the moment, which I am sure there are those who will dispute, it is unlikely to be so in 10 or 20 years. ... - tailieumienphi.vn
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