Happiness apps for the iPhone

In: Uncategorized

21 Nov 2010

A “happiness app” for iPhones is now available in America (at trackyourhappiness.org) and Britain (at mappiness.org.uk – linked to the Movement for Happiness). After you fill in some basic questions for statistical purposes you are sent regular text messages asking how you are feeling and what you are doing. The app evidently then generates a report on how your happiness varies depending on what you are doing, who you are with and other factors (I would try it but I do not have an iPhone).

The American app is part of Matt Killingsworth’s doctoral research at Harvard University. He works in the lab of Daniel Gilbert.

The British app is linked to research at the London School of Economics.

So a philosophical concept that has been discussed by the likes of Aristotle, Plato, John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, Jean-Jacques-Rousseau, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill and many others is reduced to a string of numbers related to an individual’s mental state spewed out by an iPhone app. Sounds like narcissism and philistinism rolled into one.

It is also particularly ironic that this application is linked to what is perhaps the most coveted of mass consumer goods at present.