The Atlantic's cover story is the first article to publish the results of the Grant Study, a 72-year psychological study of 268 men who entered Harvard in the late 1930s, following their inner and outer lives to try and discover the secret of the Good Life. Participants included Ben Bradlee, the editor of the Washington Post when it broke the Watergate story; and John F. Kennedy. The study doesn't seem to draw too simplistic conclusions, and appreciates that each life is a unique holistic experience rather than merely a set of data, though I can't say I like the rating of the subjects in a scoring system of high functioning to low functioning. How can you call any life happy, until the life is finished? Our lives take so many twists and turns...and who's to say that death is really the end of life, and not one more turn in the road? And how can you really look into a man's inner life, and score it? What makes your scoring system so universally valid?
Still, I like this line: 'The youth that the old envy is accompanied by the miserable process of getting from 25 to 35. We've got all this health and all this youth, and you're scared stiff that when it's all said and done, you're not going to amount to a hill of beans. And if you just wait, virtually all the men, by the time they reached 45 or 50, amounted to something. Knowing that is such a relief. But you just don't know it at 30." I hear you brother!
Here's a short video of the programme's wise old research director, Dr George Vaillant, and below that is a response, from Woody Allen's film Love and Death.