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To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost.

Flaubert (via kateoplis)

I so far attribute my fitful states of happiness to my mastery of at least the first two of these qualities. Qualities that, while not exactly Tragos-endorsed, are certainly Tragos-enjoyed.

From Flaubert’s letter to Louise Colet, dated August 6, 1846:

"Etre bête, égoïste, et avoir une bonne santé, voilà les trois conditions voulues pour être heureux ; mais si la première nous manque, tout est perdu."

To anyone who might be asking the pressing question, what country will Tragos pick next for his nation-a-week self-educational project, there is an answer. Lady Luck seems to have a preference for small: this week’s country is…
Bhutan.
There is much to learn. For example, in the 2002 Other Final (for the two lowest-ranked teams in the world) Bhutan took on Montserrat, trumping the British overseas island territory 4 to 0. It was a triumph for small nations pinioned by China and India everywhere. They made a documentary about the event. I must see it.
I have also learned that Bhutan is the eighth happiest nation on the planet, and the happiest overall in Asia. As soon as your intrepid reporter discovers why, he will publish the results.

To anyone who might be asking the pressing question, what country will Tragos pick next for his nation-a-week self-educational project, there is an answer. Lady Luck seems to have a preference for small: this week’s country is…

Bhutan.

There is much to learn. For example, in the 2002 Other Final (for the two lowest-ranked teams in the world) Bhutan took on Montserrat, trumping the British overseas island territory 4 to 0. It was a triumph for small nations pinioned by China and India everywhere. They made a documentary about the event. I must see it.

I have also learned that Bhutan is the eighth happiest nation on the planet, and the happiest overall in Asia. As soon as your intrepid reporter discovers why, he will publish the results.

tmblg:

Daniel Kahneman: The riddle of experience vs. memory

My favorite talk from 2010, so far.

Kahneman poses an interesting question: if you were to know that at the end of a fortnight’s vacation, you would be given a drug that would wipe out all memory of the two weeks, would you plan a different vacation than you would had you known you would remember it, and thus tell stories about it.

What Kahneman is asking is: do you place a greater premium on your ability to experience a set of eternal present tenses, or on your ability to tell a coherent and pleasant story about your past?

I’ve often wondered if fun and happiness were opposites. (Of course they aren’t.)But I think the reason I continue to ponder such a stupid notion is that a conceptual division between “fun” and “happiness” seems to be tied to this division between the me who experiences life with the understanding I will not be around to enjoy my stories and memories, and the me who “lives to tell the story,” as Odysseus does in Alcinous’ court.

So I turn to you: what kind of vacation would you choose if you know you wouldn’t remember it? How and why would it be different from the one you’d choose normally?