Do you think people know what it is that makes them happy in the first place?
David Cain: That is a great question, and I think the answer is generally no. What amazes me most about human beings is that we all want exactly the same thing — happiness — and there is so little frank discussion on how to achieve it. Part of the problem is that we’re given bad answers by both nature and society. Nature tells us we’ll be happy if we just eat something or have sex, and society tells us we’ll be happy if we just bump up our salary or buy certain things. Mother Nature just wants us to pass our genes along and couldn’t care less about our happiness, not unlike marketers who just want us to pass our money along to them. So there is widespread confusion between gratification and happiness in human societies.