God dreamed--the suns sprang flaming into place,
And sailing worlds with many a venturous race!
He woke--His smile alone illumined space".--Ambrose Bierce
This notion that happiness might be contagious, as suggested by two researchers this year, pleases me. Suddenly all the "random acts of kindness" people have a kind of imprimatur to go with the bumper sticker. The finding from one study does not definitive science make, but it is my hope that happiness is something you can catch, in the way you can catch a cold or a baseball game or a can of tuna being tossed towards your strike zone.
I imagine all the ways that happiness could expand and envelop everything, working a kind of magic not dissimilar to the effect of the smell of brownies in the oven. Imagine, for example, if we diverted one billion dollars of the bail-out money to assist in securing happiness for people dislocated by the foreclosures and layoffs.
Aside from "grand agenda" ideas, I imagine that if people just spent a little more time watching out for one another, they might have to spend less time watching their own backs. My own war on drugs, war on terrorism, and war on want all begin with taking small steps to increase the happiness. Call me naive, if you wish--I'll call myself "aspiring to be contagious".
on matters viral
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