A recent study shows that there is no link between intelligence and happiness. Smart people aren't necessarily happier than people whose IQ is equal to, say, a bag of hammers. They aren't necessarily less happy either. Same goes for the intellectually challenged. Dumb don't mean happy.
There are other links to happiness. Health for example. Studies have shown that people who are happy are healthier.
But the reverse isn't true. Healthy people aren't necessarily happy. A while back I read a study published in British Journal of Psychology. It basically showed life circumstances (including marriage, race, money and health) had little to do with a person's state of happiness.
My 6 year old step-daughter and I were driving home from the airport yesterday when she pointed out some graffiti on train cars slowly passing us. “Jenne! See that? That’s illegal!” (Note to self, kid knows illegal behavior).
I immediately went into a mental tailspin. I am one of her parents. Part of the responsibility of raising a healthy, law abiding citizen sits squarely in my lap. I should tell her she is right and how bad those people are for vandalizing (Jenne, what’s valdellizing?) someone else’s property. I should reinforce the message she’s already gotten from her mother or her teacher or someone much more responsible than I am, that graffiti is bad. I really should. Really really.
But. I love graffiti. I think it is fabulous. I’m fascinated by it. Give me a blank canvas and the best paints and material and I could STILL never do the things those artists do. And they do it usually in the dark. With spray paint. Although she’s right, it IS illegal, I still want her to appreciate it. I want her to see past the “not supposed to” of it and appreciate the infinite talent behind it.
So there I sat. Driving. Fretting. Angel on one shoulder, Tagger on the other.
Then she piped up, “…but the colors, Jenne! The colors are sooo beautiful!”
Light pours down.
I am saved.
“They ARE beautiful!” I say. “The people who do that, they are so talented!” Then I give in to the angel shoulder “but you’re right, it IS illegal. But that doesn’t mean we can’t like it. I mean, we shouldn’t like that they do it because it is wrong... but gosh I sure wish it wasn’t illegal because it sure is great.”
I’m not sure that was the right message.
So today I decided we should learn more about graffiti. Maybe somehow I could reconcile for myself and for her how something wrong can still be right. We looked up graffiti online. We even found this cool website where you can make your own graffiti. When one of us would say how talented the people who did the graffiti were, the other one would point out that graffiti was wrong. And when one of us would say it was wrong, the other one would say how beautiful the colors were.
We were women torn.
After lunch, we drove around looking for graffiti. We drove under bridges. We stopped at bus stops. We cruised up and down streets downtown searching for any little bit of it. Boy did we find it. Big graffiti. Small graffiti. Graffiti that had been painted over. Graffiti that looked brand new. We took all kinds of pictures. If the graffiti was on my side, I snapped the picture. If it was on the kid’s side, she took the pictures.
Her pictures are much better.
Late in the hunt and heading home we spotted a huge mural and pulled up in front of the wall. It was an obviously commissioned work. It was beautiful. The kid asked me how it got there. I told her most likely the business owner hired someone to do it so he wouldn’t have to look at a plain old brick wall. “Jenne! You mean legal graffiti?”
As I've said before, I don't believe in taking in too much news. In fact, I rarely watch, read, or listen to the news. Some people agree with me. Most, however, don't. Those people don't think you shouldn't limit your news intake because you won't know what's going on in the world. I've found that you stay up on things just fine. If I ever feel like I'm falling behind, I simply scan the most popular newssites. I was doing that today and came across this headline on CNN.com