Pursuit of greater happiness requires knowledge about happiness
We want to advance happiness, both for ourselves and for other people. Rational advancement of happiness requires solid knowledge on happiness.
Knowledge on happiness must be accessible
Obtaining knowledge about happiness requires scientific research to be done, and importantly, that the results of that research are made available to those people who can apply it.
Accessibility of existing knowledge is poor
Scientific research on happiness is booming and produces some 800 publications each year. However, access to this knowledge is poor. This is because the view on observed facts about happiness is clouded by differences in the concept and lack of cohesive technical jargon. Moreover, reports of research are scattered over various journals, books and research papers written in different languages. What we need is a selection of findings on one well defined kind of happiness, described in the English language using a standard format and terminology.
For illustration: a search on the word ‘happiness’ in Google Scholar yields some 2.500.000 academic publications. Selecting of this literature for the concept of happiness in the sense of life-satisfaction reduces the number to some 15.000 publications, of which about 7.500 report the results of an empirical investigation in which a valid measure of this concept of happiness was used. This is still leaves us with too much to overview, even for specialists, but this wealth of information can be made accessible if properly organized.
Advantages of continuous ‘harvesting’ of research findings on happiness
For understanding happiness on particular topics:
– Cheaper than doing continuous research yourself
– Provides more up-to-date than that which hired consultants can supply
For advancing happiness in general:
– Efficient accumulation of scientific knowledge on happiness
– Thereby facilitating the evidence-based pursuit of happiness
Analogy with research on human health
Promotion of human health also requires solid knowledge about health and a lot of research into health is being done. The results of this stream of research findings are gathered systematically in archives such as the Cochrane library of medical effect studies, which provides information for health practitioners about the latest state of research in their field.
Evidence based medicine has made that we live now longer and healthier lives than earlier generations. We can do the same for happiness.
The World Database of Happiness received in 2021 the Award for the Betterment of the Human Condition of the International Society for Quality of Life Studies