What our Genes Reveal about True Happiness

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25 Aug 2013 13:54 #116199 by Connor Lidell
What our Genes Reveal about True Happiness was created by Connor Lidell
well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/23/what-o...true-happiness/?_r=0


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25 Aug 2013 15:22 #116205 by RyuJin
Interesting....maybe that's why I almost never get sick....elevated levels of antibodies (which I do actually have according to every doctor that has done blood work on me) ...

It makes sense though if you think about it...increasing immune system strength in response to taking community friendly acts...after all if one person gets sick it can spread through a community fast...humans for the most part are a communal species, we evolved that way...it would seem that at the genetic level our bodies "know" if we're acting in a community or not...

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25 Aug 2013 15:31 #116209 by Connor Lidell
Replied by Connor Lidell on topic What our Genes Reveal about True Happiness
Aye. :) That could definitely be possible! Thanks for sharing.

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25 Aug 2013 23:28 - 25 Aug 2013 23:31 #116255 by Adder
It's currently thought there is about 21,000 protein coding genes in human DNA, so that is like a language with an alphabet of 20,000 letters... except not all are expressed in every cell. AFAIK what genes are, and are not, expressed in a cell is actually what dictates what type of cell it is.

This study seems to be noticing a difference in some the white blood cell's machinery based on behavior - an up or down regulation of otherwise normally expressed gene's for a white blood cell. Therefore changing the way the white blood cells can operate in the body to fight pathogens as they emerge both from within and as intruders from outside.

I guess it all depends on what they mean by hedonic and eudaimonic as it related to their study and group of 80 participants. The paper has some interesting quotes on it;


"Philosophers have long distinguished two basic forms of wellbeing: a “hedonic” form representing the sum of an individual’s positive affective experiences, and a deeper “eudaimonic” form that results from striving toward meaning and a noble purpose beyond simple self-gratification."

"...with hedonic well-being hypothesized to motivate basic physiological and psychological adaptations, and eudaimonic well-being hypothesized to motivate more complex social and cultural capacities."

"says more about which form of well-being one would not want to do without, rather than which form one would be better to avoid. For people in whom one form of well-being outweighs the other, striving predominately toward meaning may have more favorable effects on health than striving predominately toward positive affect per se."

"eudaimonia and health (e.g., social pleasures such as connecting with others, cognitive pleasures such as taking in new ideas, spiritual pleasures such as connecting to something larger than the self, and creative pleasures such as generating new knowledge or works of art)"

"Hedonic and eudaimonic well-being were originally distinguished to resolve basic and ancient philosophical questions regarding the best way for humans to live. The present data offer little grounds to prefer one mode of happiness over the other based on affective experience, but they identify a stark contrast at the level of molecular physiology.

If “the good life” is a long and healthy life free from the allostatic load of chronic stress, threat, and uncertainty, CTRA gene expression may provide a negative reference point for how not to live (figuratively in its association with adverse experience and literally in its expression of disease-promoting genes).

If we ask which type of happiness most directly opposes that molecular antipode, a functional genomic perspective favors eudaimonia.

Genomics-based analyses also reveal an adverse molecular physiology of hedonic well-being that appears not to register at the level of experienced affect. This dissociation of molecular well-being from affective well-being implies the potential for an objective approach to moral philosophy rooted in the utility of health and the basic biology of human nature as revealed in 2 million years of evolved genomic programming to help human beings survive and thrive in this world.
"


A functional genomic perspective on human well-being
Barbara L. Fredrickson, Karen M. Grewen, Kimberly A. Coffey, Sara B. Algoe, Ann M. Firestine,
Jesusa M. G. Arevalo, Jeffrey Ma, and Steven W. Cole
Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599; Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC 27599; University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA 90095; and Jonsson Comprehensive
Cancer Center, Norman Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, AIDS Institute, and Molecular Biology Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095
Edited by Burton H. Singer, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, and approved July 2, 2013 (received for review March 20, 2013)

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Last edit: 25 Aug 2013 23:31 by Adder.

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