Wednesday, March 19, 2008

On Certainty and Happiness: The Psychology of Belief

So I'm checking my network to see what they are reading. I see two recent items that somehow seem related. One item asks the question, "Are you certain?" and the other "Are you happy?" Both articles seem related, and have relevance for Baha'is. -gw / network / bahai_views
your favorites your network

Beyond belief:
Salon has a provocative
article by neurologist Robert Burton who discusses what the neuroscience of belief means for how we understand the world, drawn from his new book, On Being Certain.

Working alongside Seligman, Peterson and a handful of other members of what they called the Positive Psychology Steering Committee created what he describes as an "aspirational classification" of human goodness called Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification. At nearly eight hundred pages long, the CSV is a kind of good cop to the bad cop of the traditional Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which is primarily a taxonomy of disease and despair.

Rather than a catalog of all that can go wrong in a life—alcoholism, anorexia, schizophrenia, kleptomania, to name a few—the CSV offers an inventory of traits, behaviors, and conditions that lead not only to mental health but also, according to its authors, to "the good life." These include such core characteristics as wisdom, courage, justice, transcendence, and temperance, and the numerous routes —what the authors call character strengths—that lead to these virtues: creativity, love of learning, and curiosity among them.

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