A German magazine had an interesting article on happiness and what makes people happy. (I checked, but it isn't online. For those with access to German magazines, it's in the Focus of this week.)
Too much choice is as bad as too little. And money and goods don't make happy. Religions and philosophy have told that over and over, but apparently it has been scientifically proven by now.
They had the example of one man who, at a rather young age, had reached the American dream. He had a lot of money, a huge house with all the right furniture and everything, and he just broke down. The doctors couldn't really find out what was wrong, but he decided that the problem was simply this: being busy making money and buying things, he had lost himself on the way. So he sold his house and most of the things he owned and moved to Portland, Maine. The article said something about how remote and quit that place is. Apparently, whoever wrote that has never been further north than Portland, never been to Bangor, much less Presque Isle. But I guess compared with New York or Los Angeles, Portland is remote and quit. There were other examples, too. Professors who decided to work only eight days a months as freelance advisors. (from what I hear from my sister at the university in Berlin, profesors don't work much more than eight days a month anyway, but well...)
There was a test were you could find out what type of person you are. My mom scored really low, meaning she doesn't care about things at all. Which is true, really. She is the kind of person who thinks money is nice to have, but if you don't have much of it, then you'll just live without and buy less. My father, on the other hand, defines himself and everybody around him with one single category: money. As my Mom had more influence on my upbringing, I scored in the lower middle. Nothing special. But it is good to know that I won't break down if I can't buy my clothes from Armani (do they make women's clothes? If not, just put in any other fancy designer) or drive a Mercedes. I would like to do these things. (Not the Mercedes, I'd love to have a Maybach), but I can live without them. I do take quite some time to decide, and I can spend several minutes chosing toothpaste. But if I have very little money, I will be able to chose the cheapest without getting a nervous breakdown.
Incidently, there is only about 5 Euros on my bank account. Fortunately, the month is almost over.
Another interesting thing onTV today was a show on MTV. Usually, I'm not too happy with the fact that a station that calls itself Music television has so little music in the program,but this show was interestin if a little voyeuristic (is that a word that exists in English?).
It was about a few people joining a summer camp for fat people. America surely holds the record of fat people, but Germany is following close and gaining ground. I just read about this clinic for kids where they come to lose weight. If a 14 year old weighs more than a small horse, than it's not only the kids fault. Where are the parents? Aren't they supposed to keep an eye on their kids and look what they eat? And if they don't do that, don't they realize something's wrong when a skirt for their daughter looks more like the tent for a small circus? The problem is that right now, the kid might be "only" fat, but in a few years, they will have both psychological and health problems. The youngest person with the type 2 diabetes, the type ususally elderly people get, is 9. If he's lucky,losing weight and exercising will help. But he'll be ill for the rest of his life. And if it isn't diabetes, these kids have rheuma, breathing problems, aching joints and bones - and all because nobody cared enough to take care of their eating and exercising habits. What the parents do to their children should be treated as a crime. If you let a child starve, that's considered worthy of a severe penalty. But if you ruin the child's health and entire future, that should be OK? That just doesn't seem right.
MAybe in a few years, these kids will start sueing their parents. But most likely, they'll just sue McDonalds and Burger King and the guys who produce candy bars. Hey, they just produce and sell the stuff. They don't force you to eat it!