I just heard about the findings of a study done by a Dr. Diamon(d?) and it struck me that it has lots to say about being happy. She put some rats into a sterile and separate environment; some in an environment where they could watch the next batch of rats; and finally some rats in an environment where they had lots of toys to play with and the toys were changed rather regularly. The idea was to see what the difference would be to the development of the brain. It turned out to also indicate something about longevity as well.
The rats were all treated exactly the same except for the specific differences in their environments. Same food, same temperatures and that sort of thing. When the rats died, they had their brains examined to see what areas developed and the relative size of their brains as well. No-one was particularly surprised to see that the rats that had the toys had larger brains and they were more advanced in the “intellect” areas of the brain. It was no surprise to find out that the rats in the sterile environment were much less developed. There were two surprises however.
It was a bit of a surprise to find out that the rats that could just watch the rats that had the toys did not show much difference in their brains and “intellect” areas from the rats in the sterile environment. In other words, just watching does nothing to develop brain function. You have to do stuff and learn from actual experience and interaction.
The other surprise was that the rats that were in the highly stimulating environment that had the toys lived considerably longer than the other two sets of rats. That has an interest for us because it indicates that those that are doing interesting things live healthier and longer.
Therefor, I come to the conclusion that we must be human doings, not just human beings. We need to get out and interact with others. We need to try stuff out for ourselves and learn from our own mistakes. We can learn from the mistakes of others but then move on and advance the ball more by allowing ourselves to try different things and if mistakes occur, at least they will be new ones and we can learn more from them and move on yet again.
Don’t just watch others (TV and the like), don’t stay inside away from all contact, get out into the world and “play with the toys”. Experience and enjoy. DO stuff!!!