Love doesn’t make you happy. Neither does money. It turns out that happiness makes you happy. Sounds redundant, doesn’t it. But it turns out that happiness is a sort of social disease. Check out this study done by the Framingham Heart guys. They studied 4739 people for twenty years. The conclusion was that being around happy people makes you happy. It even works on two degrees of separation (a friend of a friend). But not with happy coworkers (who probably just annoy you).
This brings up all sorts of crazy ideas. Like, could you inoculate yourself against happiness? Could there be a happiness cult? As always, my mind turns to film in these instances. The first to pop to mind was actually TV. In the episode Plato’s Stepchildren of Star Trek (1968), the crew is captured by the Platonians. These beings can control the crew, making them act in all sorts of ridiculous ways. The best is watching Spock laugh. You have to zoom ahead to the two-minute mark to see Spock emotionally freak out.
This is just crazy laughter. To see real, infectious laughter, we need to turn to Austin Powers. Here, Dr. Evil has just revealed his plan, and then his laughter spreads to everyone in the scene.
Then, there’s laughter that disturbs you. Ash, from Evil Dead II is deranged. It’s the sort of happiness you never want, but that sometimes happens in the wee hours. This too is mighty infectious.
So I guess the counterpoint to this theory is: If you want to be happy, ditch the slugs and nay-sayers and hang out with some happy folk.