Friday, May 19, 2006


Virtual youth is only a website away. Myspace.com makes it possible, according to the Los Angeles Times, to act like an adolescent no matter how old you are. I don't know about you, but adolescence was soooo much fun! It's kinda scary that there's a cyber-world for such behavior.

Caution, not for the faint of heart or anyone whose memories of middle-school angst still cause serious depression: "LET'S begin with an exercise. First, name the eight most important people in your life Â? friends, family, rock stars. These are your Top 8. Now rank those people in order of importance. Finally, send a copy of this list to everybody you know, including people who didn't make the cut. Be careful not to hurt the wrong feelings, or you may end up getting bumped from other people's Top 8s."

OUCH! Not on the list? Not picked for the team? Why do I want to think about this?

I've always thought adolescent human beings should inhabit another planet. Isn't that why we are exploring Mars? One planet may not be big enough. "There are more than 76 million people on MySpace (about 270,000 join daily), and Anderson [president of MySpace] wants to expand the MySpace experience until the entire Net rests within it." Anderson claims, "That's the goal and ambition. Almost all the things you can do online can be enhanced by the social structure of MySpace."

Key word=ALMOST. And almost all the things you can do in real life you can do virtually online. There are just some things we do not want to do or know other people are doing. "Social structure"? There's a dissertation in some sociology Ph.D. student's future.
Warning--Segue ahead

Speaking of sociologists, if you made it through adolescence with only slight scaring, you grew up to believe money can't buy happiness. And now studies prove this to be solidly true. Neither, it seems, can government help you to be happy. "Those who areskepticall about the capacity of a government to make us happy are sometimes advised to look at Bhutan, the absolute monarchy that has adopted the politics of happiness. This is the Buddhist kingdom that has forced more than 100,000 Hindus of Nepalese origin to leave the country. It may not be very democratic, but its track record on promoting happiness is second to none. In pursuit of this cause it has boldly banned wrestling and MTV." The point of life, according to experts who are happily studying our happiness quotas, is to accept what life offers, not necessarily searching for what makes us happy.

Professor Furedi, the segue above, capsulizes the study in this formula: "concern with prosperity and economic growth diminishes the quality of our emotional life and makes us unhappy." Thus, if you want to be happier, don't set your sights, your dreams, your hopes too high; in fact, lower them considerably, and you will be far happier. ["They argue that if we were more modest in our aspirations and lowered our expectations, we would be far happier people."]

Today, I think I'll hope for a Happy Meal.

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