The Pursuit of Happiness

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When it comes to human happiness, the ancients were under no illusions. "The gate is narrow, and the way is hard," says the Bible. And without the gods on your side, thought the ancient Greeks, the search was hopeless.

By the time of the Enlightenment and the American Declaration of Independence, the active pursuit of happiness was described as a right. By our time — in the era of self- help bookstores, feel-good gurus and the Prozac nation — happiness itself is often seen as a right, and anything less a rip-off. The ancients would have laughed.

Hear about the history of happiness, and what the happiness of other times and people can tell us about our own.


Darrin M. McMahon, author of "Happiness: A History."

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst

Christopher Peterson, professor of psychology at the University of Michigan.

This program aired on January 30, 2006.


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