If you are rich and pretty and famous you are tempting an early grave because a devotion to the surface, and not the core, leads to psychological dissension between the wanton self and the desirous of mind — according to a new University of Rochester study.  Perhaps marrying an ugly girl is, after all, the secret to carrying on a longer life.

Life goals, or aspirations, organize and direct behavior over extended periods of time. The current study, guided by self-determination theory, examined the consequences of pursuing and attaining aspirations over a 1-year period in a post-college sample.

Results indicated that placing importance on either intrinsic or extrinsic aspirations related positively to attainment of those goals. Yet, whereas attainment of intrinsic aspirations related positively to psychological health, attainment of extrinsic aspirations did not; indeed, attainment of extrinsic aspirations related positively to indicators of ill-being.

Also as predicted, the association between change in attainment of intrinsic aspirations and change in psychological health was mediated by change in the satisfaction of the basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Discussion focuses on the idea that not all goal attainment is beneficial; rather, attainment of aspirations with different contents relates differentially to psychological health.

I wonder what a long-term study would reveal?

Would these results be the same in 10 years, or 50 years later when, perhaps, beauty faded, and human resolution and acceptance was the replacement?

Is it better to die young and pretty — or is the effort of the human compass always forward and forever northward and constantly deep into the darkness of  the unknowable death — and money, fame and a lovely face do nothing to enhance our lives into the inevitable end?

4 Comments

  1. It seems people who have absolutely no long term goals in life aren’t always particularly happy. However, there are many who choose a “take each day as its own and just enjoy life while you can” approach and therefore have much pleasure in having no goals.

  2. There is something to be said about the insolent, happy, masses, Gordon. They are content in space as they are…
    Then there are those who always reach and never stoop to help up others and they seem condemned to live only in the future of the next, the newer, the better — and they condemn themselves to living a life that can never be seen, felt, or achieved — only wanted.

  3. I guess you could sum it up as “Too much vanity kills you!”
    It becomes an obsession with many to look a certain way and the up keep is life draining. I have better things to do with my time than waste it excessively pampering myself just so I can look 10 years younger than my actual age. Isn’t getting old a part of life?
    A wise person once said, “Beauty is only skin deep!” True beauty is an internal attribute not necessarily an external one.

  4. I think it has to do with survival, Kimberley. If you look and act old, you’re seen as dispensable and feeble. There is a lot of power and wisdom in old age, but few of us are allowed to express those truths to the young.

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