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Experience: What’s it Good For? June 27, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in memes, Other, Philosophy, statistical analysis, tagging, web 2.0.

This is third in a series of posts about my study of responses to the dreaded 150 Things meme.  All of which will end up on the COMBS page of this site, eventually.

My wife and I rented “The Pursuit of Happyness” from Netflix about a month ago but finally found time to watch it on Sunday night.  I like Will Smith.  We lived in San Francisco for a while, at a time when I was interested in the stock market.  We are both interested in the plight of the homeless.  There were a lot of reasons that we thought we’d like the movie.  But we just couldn’t get through the unhappyness part of it.  We stopped watching after maybe 25 minutes and sent it back.

But it got me thinking about this meme, which some people looked at as a to-do list for life.  It should all add up to something, shouldn’t it, all these experiences? 

I combined the positive responses to questions #38 (have you ever actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment?) and #141 (have you ever thought to yourself that you’re living your dream?) to divide the sample into people who were relatively content (those who responded in the affirmative to both), and relatively discontent (those who did not).  Then I crosstabulated these against the rest of the questions.  So, what correlations did I find at the 95% level of confidence?  None.  Didn’t seem to make much difference. 

That again:

None of the accomplishments on that list was strongly related to how content you said you were. 


1. strugglingwriter - June 27, 2007

Good post. I don’t have anything to add, but wanted to tell you I enjoyed this post. We haven’t check out “The Pursuit of Happyness” and I’m not sure we will after reading this. We’ll see. (This is me pretending I have time to rent movies :) )

2. silverneurotic - June 29, 2007

You really should have stuck it out, it was really great. Depressing at first, but it really made up for it. Try to rent it again if you can.

3. Travis - June 30, 2007

I find it fascinating to see the kind of statistical analysis your getting out of this meme, and the kinds of conclusions you can from.

4. caveblogem - June 30, 2007

strugglingwriter, Thanks much.

silverneurotic, I think that’s one of the reasons that we wanted to see it, but we just couldn’t make it through the tough part. Homelessness in San Francisco is one of those depressing things for me. My first post-college job was two blocks from City Hall in SF. Every morning I’d exit the Civic Center train station and look out on a makeshift homeless shantytown. The Mayor in those days had decided to allow them to stay there at night until he could find a solution. And it wasn’t a happy time for me either, lonely and away from home for the first time.

Travis, Thank you very much. One of the nice thing about the blog-o-sphere is the ability to float ideas that are not-quite-there yet and have people respond to them. Particularly when the response is favorable.

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