Happy Trails

Recent books and, now a TV and Web series by the BBC, are exploring a subject that seems to be important only when nothing else is ailing you – happiness, or the lack thereof. We know that happiness and health go hand in hand, even to the point where the jolly seem to get fewer colds.

It may seem trivial for scientists to to look for a medical solution for happiness, but the search might produce neurological relief of the physical pain that can keep people from attaining the happiness defined by Albert Schweitzer as “good health and a bad memory.”

A poll by the BBC found 92 percent of British respondents are “very” or “fairly” happy with their lives, which should question the need for drug companies to spend billions on pleasure pills, and neurosurgeons to implant electric stimuli into the reward centers of the brain. Maybe it just makes them happy, a condition described by ancient Greeks (as popularized by John F. Kennedy) as “the full use of your powers along the lines of excellence.”

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