Hello and welcome to the TCC Weekly – the Friday bulletin for people who know their manga from their anime.
This week we bring you the psychology of cosplay: the parameters of dress-down Fridays, we tentatively predict, will in future be relaxed to allow you to rock up at work donning your favourite superhero outfit. And from the outlandish to the introspective, we bring you the latest research about why you must embrace depression if you want to be happy.
And of course, there’s Charlie’s Attic, which this week becomes a rampageous loft – smurfs, Marvel supervillains, and zombies all jostle for Charlie’s attention, but he’s too busy reading about Hexit (Havering Exit) to pay much attention.
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Earlier this year, the Evening Standard brought Londoners a guide to the top 6 books about how to achieve happiness. The focus of the piece reflects a cultural trend in the UK and elsewhere, with more and more people turning to the latest self-help book with the intention of pursuing a life of greater self-fulfilment and joy.
But what if the very act of chasing happiness is self-defeating? What if the key to living a fulfilling life lies in embracing darkness instead? New research by top psychologists across the pond suggests just that: we should, they say, “resist the urge to strive for happiness” and accept meanness, depression and angst instead. Click here to find out more.
Also this week:
Is using nudge better than an outright ban on plastic bags?
“My first priority as Mayor will be tackling the housing crisis”, Sadiq Khan, 2016. “If we don’t deal with the housing crisis London will become miserable” Zac Goldsmith, 2016. “There’s a crisis in housing”, Caroline Pidgeon, 2016.
There’s no two ways about it: in political language the word ‘housing’ is almost always accompanied by the word ‘crisis’. In effect, they are linguistic Siamese twins. But what are the causes of the non-affordability of housing? Who should shoulder the blame, if anyone?
Anna Minton’s recently published book, Big Capital, is quite clear in its answer to this question, and the clue is in the title: it’s mainly down, she argues, to the behaviour of the ultra-rich and luxury flat developers. But the book has taken something a hounding from ex-Guardian journalist Dave Hill, who argues the causes are more complex.
Whatever the causes, we’d argue that the focus should as much be about creating solutions as it is on identifying the roots of the issue. And when it comes to coming up with answers, local authorities and housing providers must work with local residents to involve them in the process, so they feel ownership over outcomes and bring their skills and experience to the table.
So we’d humbly point readers to our New Conversations guide. In it the principles of citizen involvement are outlined in a fairly easy-to-use way, and we point out both the opportunities and potential pitfalls to citizen engagement – click here and scroll down to p.98 to find out more.
“Believe it or not, Britain is getting happier”. That was City AM’s splash last week – with the paper reporting on MNW (Measuring National Well-being) programme figures which show that Britons are ostensibly feeling better about life. On key indicators, the stats show that “as a nation we were more satisfied with our jobs, felt our health was better, and enjoyed our leisure time more” compared to last year.
But if the report doesn’t reflect your personal state of mind, does the fact that others are happier make you feel happy? We thought we’d put the question to the test, and so we donned our lab coats and entered our Values Lab. Under the petri dish, we placed the following statement:
“I love to see other people happy. I get as excited about the good fortune of others as I do about my own.”
Like me/very much like me
A little/quite like me
Not at all/not like me
The most startling result is the extent to which threat-wary Settlers identify far less with the statement than Pioneers and Prospectors: they are a whopping 11% behind ethics-driven Pioneers and aspirational Prospectors. It’s a reminder of the extent to which Settlers – who are also fiercely loyal to people they perceive as part of their own group – can struggle to empathise with people they don’t consider as part of their own tribe.
Also this week:
How to interpret ‘success’ in Higher Education across the pond