TED Talk: Martin Seligman on Authentic Happiness

Psychology is a slippery realm. It deals with fuzzies - be they fuzzy good or fuzzy bad. I think that characteristic flows into people's associated ideas and feelings about psychology. Many people, myself included, just had a fuzzy feeling that something about psychology was wrong - or even evil.

Though it is tough to say exactly why we fell that way. Perhaps it is just the idea of unbalanced information (the thought that they can tell what I'm thinking and I can't tell what they are thinking, or what they think that I'm thinking). Or, perhaps it is more the perception that the trump card of power of a psychiatrist seems to be the threat that they could get you committed to an asylum without your consent or trial at worst, and force you to take prescription medicine that turns you into a constipated zombie-brain at best. Of course, these ideas are wildly exaggerated by Hollywood, and they aren't supposed to really be able to happen under current laws, but none the less, it is part of what makes up the average American's idea about psychology.

Perhaps that negative general perception of psychology is changing. If it is, that change would be due in no small part to people like Dr. Martin Seligman doing the kind of work and research he is doing. In this TED Talk, he summarizes why psychology of the 20th century gives us the willies, why it can change, and what he and his work is specifically doing about it.

The Internet allows participative studies on a large scale than ever before, and it's good to see that being put to the task of clarifying and validating data, methods and results. It is also brilliant to place as much concern and focus on science for the positive as the negative. Bravo!

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