Posted in Miscellany

“we do not see the world as it is, we see the world as we are”

This is a quote from the Talmud, which, along with a similar quote from the Buddha are epigrams to a research report from Wake Forest University, the University of Nebraska and Washington University in St. Louis. Dustin Wood, Peter Harms, and Simine Vazire studied college students’ attitudes toward others and their life satisfaction. They found that those who have the nice things to say about others have greater life satisfaction and lower levels of depression.

I’m not sure which comes first, the chicken or the egg. Are they kinder in their attitudes because they experience a sunnier life, or is their life sunnier because they approach others with a positive attitude? Or perhaps it’s that those who tend to like others are liked in turn?

Brief summary at Sciam. Full report here.



Lilian is the author of Web of Angels, a novel about a mom with DID (multiple personalities). She's also the author of the historical novels, The River Midnight and The Singing Fire, about secrets, friendship and motherhood in 19th century Poland and London.

4 thoughts on ““we do not see the world as it is, we see the world as we are”

  1. Now isn’t that interesting? But then, in all areas of research, the same thing is true. It even works for science – the way we perceive is often linked to the way we measure and interpret, and this is linked back to the kinds of questions we ask. All knowledge arises out of an internal desire to know that is often subjective in its contours, and of course nowadays, all research has to be paid for, and so is limited by what governments think we need to look into. There is no such thing as innocent knowledge or objective experience.

  2. This makes me want to start being nicer to people 🙂 Or rather, thinking and saying nicer things about them. I think I behave nicely; it’s my thoughts that are sometimes different … anyway, interesting research.

    1. Yes, my thoughts can be judgmental–sometimes surprisingly. It’s a story we tell ourselves. Sometimes I’m equally surprised by the change in how I feel when I re-examine the story and tell it (mentally) differently.

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