M'lady and I went to Atlanta a couple of weeks ago to visit the amazing aquarium. Afterward, we had a couple of hours to kill, so we decided to visit The World of Coca-Cola® where we saw the following video:
Needless to say, we both thought this quasi-provocative video was slightly disturbing (the computer animated talking helicopter has nipple rings). I even entertained the possibility we were brainwashed or subjected to subliminal advertisements (unbeknownst to us, of course). In any case, the video made me think about the dark side of the well-being research this blog is about: it's undeniable that unhealthy behavior can reliably make us happy (in some cases)!
Thus, I found it funny that after we got back, I was perusing the Journal of Happiness Studies and I came across an article which seems to show that Taiwanese kids who eat fast food are fatter and happier than Taiwanese children who don't eat it. This is slightly surprising, given the fact that it's been shown food has a fleeting effect on your subjective well-being.
As always, confounding variables should be accounted for, but, for the sake of argument, let's suppose that there is a causal connection. If this is so, we might be forced to make a choice between 'objective' and 'subjective' aspects of well-being. The authors point out that we must be aware that an unintended consequence of fighting childhood obesity might be lower overall levels of happiness.
Even though I think we can teach children to choose healthy food, I doubt that we can ever ignore the allure of food which is so sweet, fat and fast. Thank you, evolution! In the age of sugar substitutes and oral contraceptives, do we really need to exercise discipline? When what feels good isn't good for us, we can use technology to bridge the gap between happiness and health. We need not exercise restraint. We can, in short, have our cake and eat it too.
P.S. Beverly is magnificent!