The two-day conference can be understood as the latest manifestation of a larger global phenomenon, labeled by the media as the " happiness movement " or " happiness industry. Does it matter? And are we actually approaching a tipping point? The origins of this growing phenomenon go back to what has popularly been called the "science of happiness" or, in more scholarly terms, Positive Psychology.
In his book Flourish , Prof.
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Seligman explains that while the goal of psychology has traditionally been to relieve human suffering, the goal of positive psychology -- a field that is just 15 years old -- is different. It is about actually raising the bar for the human condition and enabling individuals and communities to flourish.
Since the field's humble beginnings in the late '90s, it has seen considerable growth. In , the late Philip J. Stone, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, taught one of the first positive psychology courses to just 20 students. Ten years later, the landscape had changed. You can find over university courses across the United States, a master's degree program at the University of Pennsylvania and almost 1, articles related to the field published in peer-reviewed journals.
Other fields have taken notice, too. The publication of his book, Happiness: Lessons from a New Science , soon followed and set the stage for a major upswing in interest in " happiness economics. As with several big, potentially game-changing ideas in the past 15 years -- think Facebook, Google and WordPress -- university students are at the forefront of their implementation.
The happiness phenomenon is no exception to this pattern. So might this indicate that Prof.
Tipping Point to Happiness
Seligman is right? A tipping point is defined as the point at which the buildup of minor incidents cause a larger, more significant change. So, is all this activity at universities going to tip this world towards happiness? Certainly, some of the world's most influential social movements started on university campuses. And yet, I'll refrain from carving out this argument any further because it is not just about what is unfolding on some American college campus.
The most powerful evidence can be uncovered in "the real world. On a policy level, happiness made its debut on the world stage on March 20, , when the first official United Nations International Day of Happiness took place. Politics is a reactive force rooted in a wide array of community organizations, artistic initiatives and popular support. In the case of happiness, the most notable community organizations are the London-based non-governmental organization Action for Happiness , Sustainable Seattle's Happiness Initiative and the New York-based H app athon project.
When academia, politics and the arts are on to something, business cannot be far. October 04, Deforestation in indigenous territories is much lower than in other areas. But those efforts are fraught with danger.
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