Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pierre Côté - The Relative Happiness Index

  Interesting . . . . You test your own happiness at the RHI website.


Can happiness be a science? Can we actually qualify happiness with scientific notions instead of esoteric ones? How can happiness be useful? Are women happier than men? Is Montreal a happier metropolis than Quebec city? What can we learn from happiness? Brace yourself for Pierre Côté, the creator of the Relative Happiness Index, who is ready to answer all of these questions and more!

Speaker: Pierre Côté
Marketing and communication senior consultant
President and founder of the RHI (Relative Happiness Index)
Participant in the TV series Castaway Cities

Join us for this unique tech talk on The Relative Happiness Index (RHI), a unique social observatory tool.

A bold visionary and very sensitive to the social reality, Pierre Côté founded in 2006 the Relative Happiness Index. The main objective of this index is to develop from happiness a real and a scientific variable that will be useful to establish a judgment or to evaluate a society, a community or a group of people.

An independent social observatory tool, the Relative Happiness Index, through the forty inquiries realised since 2006, surveyed no less than 70 000 Quebecers by asking over 800 questions.

The Pierre Côté experience and his profound knowledge of Quebec's society acquired through the Relative Happiness Index makes him a unique consultant. As such, he's regularly invited by the media to share and explain the results of his researches and to comment on different aspects of society.
This is from their website - it offers some definitions for what they are looking at trying to measure.

Abstract Concept or Tangible Reality?

[ A Selective and Relative Notion ]
[ Happiness: a Social Paradox ]
[ Happiness: Aptitude or Attitude? ]
[ Personal Assessment ]

A Selective and Relative Notion

According to French author and politician André Malraux, "happiness is for imbeciles," in the sense that it is utopian to believe that anyone can attain an absolute state in a relative world. It follows that only an absolute imbecile could believe in achieving it some day.

"We should die when we're happy," opined singer Jacqueline Dulac, in clearly demonstrating the difficult, even impossible, quest of attaining perfect happiness and the ultimate value of this state.

While many philosophers, intellectuals, and researchers have given their opinions on the issue of happiness, they agree on only a single point: happiness is subjective and relative. And it's because happiness is so subjective and relative that so much discussion and debate has focused on defining it and, to a greater degree, on determining the various methods for attaining it.

Happiness: a Social Paradox

Today, happiness appears to be turned more outwardly than inwardly. Moreover, the view of success that society imposes on us is such that saying you're unhappy is like admitting your life has been a failure. Undoubtedly, this accounts for the paradox that, while the great majority of people tend to consider themselves happy or very happy, everyday life gives us an increasing number of signs to the contrary.

Many thinkers criticize today's consumer society and its various requirements for its focus on having rather than being and on the obligation to perform, as if quality could only be achieved by quantity.

Some even claim that the many pleasures of modern society—artificial, sensational, and ephemeral—mask the true quest for happiness, push the individual further away from a minimal but essential spirituality, and reduce happiness to a simplistic, materialistic, and quantifiable notion.

Happiness: Aptitude or Attitude?

Is achieving happiness related to an ability that each of us has to accept or reject life as it is? Do some people have a greater aptitude for happiness than others?

Abraham Maslow, the father of humanistic psychology, believed so. He identified two fundamental factors defining this aptitude for happiness: solving concrete problems rather than withdrawing into one's self and avoiding social norms and conditions.

Moreover, Maslow positively stated that happiness is achieved through a higher degree of self-actualization.

There are many other models and theories that advocate striving for and focusing on the "here and now" to attain a certain level of happiness. In fact, any activity whatsoever that requires concentration here and now brings us closer to this state, with the objective being to recreate these conditions as often as possible in everyday life. This attitude then becomes a kind of philosophy and happiness takes root in all kinds of small daily gestures.

Happiness can also be expressed through "cosmic participation" which is the feeling of taking part in something bigger than yourself, something that both surrounds and contains you. This refers to the very meaning of life and to a much more spiritual definition of happiness.

From a more existentialist standpoint, can happiness only be achieved after death? Some people think so and that our time in this world is only a preparatory step. Such thinkers consider that the journey, not the destination, is what counts.

Nevertheless, most intellectuals and thinkers agree that happiness does not occur by itself: it requires personal work. The world we perceive in our minds is not the real world. The discrepancy between the two is what makes us unhappy. It's never good to maintain dissonance and illusion. We need to strive to ensure that the world in our minds resembles the real world as closely as possible.

Personal Assessment

So, is happiness an abstract concept or a concrete reality…or does it is way back and forth between the two? Certainly, it's not easy to demarcate, delimit, or, even less so, define. The Relative Happiness Index (RHI) doesn't aim or claim to do so. The assessment of happiness, however, does interest us when it is firmly rooted in the individual's perception of him- or herself and his or her life.

And who knows, you might find elements on this site that help you in your personal development.

Happy browsing!

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