In Jonathan Haidt’s book, The Happiness Hypothesis, Haidt explains genuine examples to get many familiar points across to the audience without us people knowing what he is trying to do. All we are doing is reading the book trying to understand what Haidt is trying to tell us through his style and tone of each different chapter. To begin, chapter four of The Happiness Hypothesis, in my opinion was very interesting. This chapter is the chapter that has kept me the most interested throughout this entire book and I say this because what Haidt says in this chapter all makes complete sense. We can compare it to day to day ideas and they overlap exactly. With this being said, Haidt explains how us humans will judge and criticize other people, but when it comes to ourselves, we never have anything bad to say. Haidt tells and shows us many examples in chapter four that go along with this concept such as a congressman was an outspoken opponent for gay rights and gay marriage.
Later on, he was caught calling into a gay hotline looking for a man that would fit his needs exactly. What I believe Haidt was trying to do is show us that people, such as congressmen, can contradict themselves and fall out of line every once in a while. I believe that no human is perfect and that we all learn from mistakes, but deep down, we have to know what is right and what is wrong most of the time. Although we do commit some wrong mistakes, we can overcome them and they will make us a stronger person in the long run. According to my online survey, I have a strong automatic preference for straight people compared to gay people. In my opinion, this survey doesn’t describe me as well as I thought it would. I believe that it is no one’s right but God’s to judge a person for them being straight or gay. My parents and I argue about this issue all the time. They think gay marriage should not be allowed because of the Bible, but deep down, God is going to judge them on their judgment day and no one else.
I have some friends that are gay and that does not change the way I feel about them. They are a human being just as I am. They breathe air just as I do and walk on two legs just as I and everyone else does. With this being said, why do so many other people judge them? Haidt explains in the book that we judge other people but not ourselves which is very true. We are very hypocritical when it comes to friends, family, and other people we do not know, but when it comes down to judging ourselves, we will never say anything bad about how we look or how we dress. Bottom line is that we all for the most part are hypocrites according to Haidt, which in my opinion true. I believe that needs to change but in order to change, a lot of people must realize that criticize others and not themselves.
With this being said, this chapter changed my view of this entire book. I realize that we all make mistakes and do wrong things, but we can always fix them and change how we act. Nothing is impossible. After reading this chapter, I have come to the conclusion that this book is not always going to be happy thoughts as stated in the title. I was very wrong and mislead according to the title, but it seems to be a good thing so far. The Happiness Hypothesis has changed my mind for the better. What I mean by this is that it never ceases to amaze me with how Haidt explains examples and intrigues us through his writing. Not only is Haidt a good writer, but he is also a great thinker.
Courtney from Study Moose
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