Are We Happier than Stone Age Foragers? Maybe Not.

Technological progress has moved without exception in a forward direction, and along with it, our gross domestic product has increased steadily. But are we happier as a result?

Technological progress has moved without exception in a forward direction, and along with it, our gross domestic product has increased steadily. But are we happier as a result?

The relatively recent practice of modern agriculture, for example, tied communities to a plot of Earth and forced them to grind wheat and carry heavy buckets of water from the river. They suffered indigestion for the first time, as well as a host of diseases that resulted from domesticating livestock.

Yes, modern medicine has cured many of the resulting ills, as well as generally extending longevity, but its gains have depended on an unprecedented cruelty to animals, says Yuval Noah Harari, whose recent book "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" tackles the subject of human happiness as a historical phenomenon.

Fast forward to post-modern culture where greater wealth has allowed for greater independence and greater comfort. What is lost, says Harari, are the intimate relationships gained through weathering hardships together and overcoming loss as a community. And given the existential threats the planet already faces as a result of our high economic output, the jury is still out as to whether this level of "happiness" is sustainable.

As John Cacioppo explains in his Big Think interview, living a life connected intimately to other people is essential to leading a meaningful, happy life:

Read more at the Guardian

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Why the federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Water may be an inevitable result of the process that forms rocky planets

New research identifies an unexpected source for some of earth's water.

Surprising Science
  • A lot of Earth's water is asteroidal in origin, but some of it may come from dissolved solar nebula gas.
  • Our planet hides majority of its water inside: two oceans in the mantle and 4–5 in the core.
  • New reason to suspect that water is abundant throughout the universe.
Keep reading Show less