早稲田商2017 I

Microsoftの共同創業者、Bill Gatesのインタビューの一部。



Let's talk about inequality. *1 As a person who's at the very top of the one percent, do you see this as one of the great issues of our time? *2


Bill Gates: 

Well, now you're getting into sort of complicated issues. *3 Should the state be playing a greater role in helping people at the lowest end of the income scale? *4 Poverty today looks very different than, poverty in the past. *5 The real thing you want to look at is consumption and use that as a metric and say, *6 "Have you been worried about having enough to eat? *7 Do you have enough warmth, shelter? *8 Do you think of yourself as having a place to go? *9 " The poor are better off than they were before, even though they're still in the bottom group in terms of income. *10



Let's talk about climate change. *11 Many scientists and politicians see it as the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced. *12


Bill Gates:

It's a big challenge, but I'm not sure I would put it above everything else. *13 One of the reasons it's hard is that by the time we see that climate change is really bad, your ability to fix it is extremely limited. *14 The carbon gets up there, but the heating effect is delayed. And then the effect of that heat on the species and ecosystem is delayed. That means that even when you turn virtuous, things are actually going to get worse for quite a while. *15



When you look on the horizon over the next 50 years, what is your biggest fear?


Bill Gates: 

I think we will get our act together on climate change. That's very important. I hope we get our act together on large-scale terrorism and avoid that being a huge setback for the world. On health equity, we can reduce the number of poor children who die from more than 6 million down to 2 million, eventually 1 million. I understand how every healthy child, every new road, puts a country on a better path, but instability and war will arise from time to time, and I'm not an expert on how you get out of those things. I wish there was an invention or advance to fix that. So there'll be some really bad things that'll happen in the next 50 or 100 years, but hopefully none of them on the scale of, say, a million people that- you didn't expect to die from a pandemic, or nuclear or bioterrorism.



What do you say to people who argue that America's best days are behind us?


Bill Gates: 

That's almost laughable. The only definition by which America's best days are behind is on a purely relative basis. That is, in 1946, when we made up about six percent of humanity, but we dominated everything. But America's way better today than it's ever been. Say you're a woman in America, would you go back 50 years? Say you're gay in America, would you go back 50 years? Say you're sick in America, do you want to go back 50 years? I mean, who are we kidding?


1. The government does not have to help poor people because, even if they do not have much money, they have enough to eat and a place to live in, unlike poor people in the past.

2. Climate change is a very big problem which we are unable to cope with before it causes worse effects because we lack necessary resources to solve it immediately.

3. We have to make efforts together to address climate change and terrorism over the next 50 year's in order to save millions of poor children from dying.

4.The biggest issue in the future is war, which is out of our control since it is impossible to invent advanced technologies to stop it.

5. Determining whether the past or the present is better is entirely a matter of comparison, and the present American situation is superior to that of 50 years ago in many ways.
















Barry Schwartz: The way we think about work is broken | TED Talk

Today I'm going to talk about work. And the question I want to ask and answer is this: "Why do we work?" Why do we drag ourselves out of bed every morning instead of living our lives just filled with bouncing from one TED-like adventure to another?



You may be asking yourselves that very question. Now, I know of course, we have to make a living, but nobody in this room thinks that that's the answer to the question, "Why do we work?" For folks in this room, the work we do is challenging, it's engaging, it's stimulating, it's meaningful. And if we're lucky, it might even be important.



So, we wouldn't work if we didn't get paid, but that's not why we do what we do. And in general, I think we think that material rewards are a pretty bad reason for doing the work that we do. When we say of somebody that he's "in it for the money," we are not just being descriptive.


※say of ...「...のことを言う」

※not just being descriptive「単に記述的になっているという訳ではない→ただ真実を言っているだけではない(批判的な意味が含まれている)」



Now, I think this is totally obvious, but the very obviousness of it raises what is for me an incredibly profound question. *4

※what is for me ...「私にとっては...こと」

Why, if this is so obvious, why is it that for the overwhelming majority of people on the planet, the work they do has none of the characteristics that get us up and out of bed and off to the office every morning? How is it that we allow the majority of people on the planet to do work that is monotonous, meaningless and soul-deadening? How is it that we allow the majority of people on the planet to do work that is monotonous, meaningless and soul-deadening? Why is it that as capitalism developed, it created a mode of production, of goods and services, in which all the nonmaterial satisfactions that might come from work were eliminated?


※why is it that ...「なぜ...ということになるのでしょう」

※get us up and out of bed and off to work→get O C「OをCの状態にさせる」


※how is it that 「どうやって...ということになるのでしょう」


Workers who do this kind of work, whether they do it in factories, in call centers, or in fulfillment warehouses, do it for pay. There is certainly no other earthly reason to do what they do except for pay.



So the question is, "Why?" And here's the answer: the answer is technology. Now, I know, I know -- yeah, yeah, yeah, technology, automation screws people, blah blah -- that's not what I mean.



I'm not talking about the kind of technology that has enveloped our lives, and that people come to TED to hear about. I'm not talking about the technology of things, profound though that is. I'm talking about another technology. I'm talking about the technology of ideas. I call it, "idea technology" -- how clever of me. (Laughter)



In addition to creating things, science creates ideas. Science creates ways of understanding. And in the social sciences, the ways of understanding that get created are ways of understanding ourselves. And they have an enormous influence on how we think, what we aspire to, and how we act. 


※the ways of understanding (that get created) are ... 「(作り出された)理解の方法は...」


If you think your poverty is God's will, you pray. If you think your poverty is the result of your own inadequacy, you shrink into despair. And if you think your poverty is the result of oppression and domination, then you rise up in revolt. Whether your response to poverty is resignation or revolution, depends on how you understand the sources of your poverty. This is the role that ideas play in shaping us as human beings, and this is why idea technology may be the most profoundly important technology that science gives us.



※whether A or B depends on ...「AかBかは...に依存している、...次第である」



And there's something special about idea technology, that makes it different from the technology of things. With things, if the technology sucks, it just vanishes, right? Bad technology disappears.  With ideas -- false ideas about human beings will not go away if people believe that they're true. Because if people believe that they're true, they create ways of living and institutions that are consistent with these very false ideas. 



And that's how the industrial revolution created a factory system in which there was really nothing you could possibly get out of your day's work, except for the pay at the end of the day. Because the father -- one of the fathers of the Industrial Revolution, Adam Smith -- was convinced that human beings were by their very natures lazy, and wouldn't do anything unless you made it worth their while, and the way you made it worth their while was by incentivizing, by giving them rewards. That was the only reason anyone ever did anything.



※by their very natures→by one's nature「その性質からして、もともと」


So we created a factory system consistent with that false view of human nature. *13 But once that system of production was in place, there was really no other way for people to operate, except in a way that was consistent with Adam Smith's vision. *14 So the work example is merely an example of how false ideas can create a circumstance that ends up making them true. *15

※ends up making them true→end up doing「結局~することになる、~することで終わる」


It is not true that you "just can't get good help anymore." It is true that you "can't get good help anymore" when you give people work to do that is demeaning and soulless. *16 And interestingly enough, Adam Smith -- the same guy who gave us this incredible invention of mass production, and division of labor -- understood this. *17 He said, of people who worked in assembly lines, of men who worked in assembly lines, he says: "He generally becomes as stupid as it is possible for a human being to become." *18

※say of ...「...のことを言う、...について言う」


Now, notice the word here is "become." "He generally becomes as stupid as it is possible for a human being to become." *19 Whether he intended it or not, what Adam Smith was telling us there, is that the very shape of the institution within which people work creates people who are fitted to the demands of that institution and deprives people of the opportunity to derive the kinds of satisfactions from their work that we take for granted.*20

 ※the very shape of the institution (within which people work) create ... 「(その中で人が働く) 施設の形態そのものが...を作り出す」→the very ...「...そのもの、まさに...」

※deprive O of ...「Oから...を奪う」


The thing about science -- natural science -- is that we can spin fantastic theories about the cosmos, and have complete confidence that the cosmos is completely indifferent to our theories. *21 It's going to work the same damn way no matter what theories we have about the cosmos. *22 But we do have to worry about the theories we have of human nature, because human nature will be changed by the theories we have that are designed to explain and help us understand human beings.*23

※do have to 「絶対に~しなければならない」→強調のdo

※the theories (we have) of human nature「(私たちがもっている)人間の性質に関する理論」


The distinguished anthropologist, Clifford Geertz, said, years ago, that human beings are the "unfinished animals." *24 And what he meant by that was that it is only human nature to have a human nature that is very much the product of the society in which people live. *25

※it is only human nature→直訳「その人が住む社会の産物そのものであるような人間の性質を持つことは、単に人間の性質なのだ」


That human nature, that is to say our human nature, is much more created than it is discovered. *26 We design human nature by designing the institutions within which people live and work. *27



And so you people -- pretty much the closest I ever get to being with masters of the universe -- you people should be asking yourself a question, as you go back home to run your organizations. *28 Just what kind of human nature do you want to help design?*29

*1:今日は仕事についてお話しします 私が問い 答えたい疑問は 「なぜ働くのか」ということです なぜみんな毎朝ベッドから 体を引きずり出すのでしょう? TEDのような冒険から冒険へと 飛び回る人生を送るのでなく?

*2:皆さん自身 この質問を 自分にしているかもしれません もちろん生計を立てなければならないのは 分かっていますが それが「なぜ働くのか」という 疑問への答えだという人は この場にはいないでしょう ここにいる人たちにとって仕事は 挑み甲斐があり 夢中になれ 刺激的で 意味があるものでしょう そして幸運なら 重要でさえあるかもしれません

*3:お金をもらえなければ 仕事をしないとしても それが仕事をする理由では ないでしょう 一般的に言って 私たちがやっているような 仕事をする動機として 物質的な報酬はまずいものだと 私たちは思っています 誰かについて 「金のためにやっている」と言うのは あまり記述的とは言えません

*4:これはまったく 自明のことだと思いますが この自明さは 極めて本質的な疑問を 引き起こします

*5:これがそんなに自明であるなら 圧倒的多数の人々に とっての仕事はなぜ 毎朝私たちに起きてベッドを出て 仕事場に向かわせるもののような 特質を持たないのでしょう?なぜ大多数の人が 単調で無意味で 魂をすり減らすような仕事をしている状況を 許しているのでしょう?なぜ資本主義の発展につれ 仕事から得られる非物質的満足を 失わせてしまうような 商品やサービスの生産形態が生み出されたのでしょう?

*6:そのような仕事をする人々は それが工場であれ コールセンターであれ 出荷倉庫であれ お金のためにしています。 賃金以外に彼らの仕事をしようと思う 理由はありません

*7:疑問は「なぜか?」ということです そしてその答えは テクノロジーにあります ええ ええ 分かっています そう そう テクノロジーと自動化は 人間の敵だとかなんとか 私が言っているのは そういうことではありません

*8:私が言っているテクノロジーは 私たちの生活を包み 人々がそれについての話をTEDに聞きに来るような種類の テクノロジーではありません。モノのテクノロジーの話ではないのです。それはそれで重要に違いありませんが。 私が言っているのは 別のテクノロジー、アイデアのテクノロジーです。私はこれを「アイデア・テクノロジー」と 呼んでいます 気が利いてるでしょう?笑

*9:科学はモノだけでなく アイデアも生み出します 科学は理解する方法を 生み出します そして社会科学が生み出した 理解の方法は 我々自身を理解する方法です そしてそれは 私たちがどう考え 何を望み どう振る舞うかに 大きな影響を及ぼしています

*10:貧困が神の意志だと思うなら 祈るだろうし 貧困が自分の無能さの 結果だと思うなら 絶望に陥るだろうし 貧困が圧政のためだと思うなら 反乱を起こすでしょう。貧困に対する反応が 服従か革命かは 貧困の原因が何であると 理解するかにかかっています。これが人間を形作る アイデアの役割です。そしてこれこそが 科学のもたらすテクノロジーの中で アイデア・テクノロジーが 最も重要かもしれない理由です。

*11:またアイデア・テクノロジーには モノのテクノロジーとは違った 特別なものがあります。モノのテクノロジーの場合 駄目なものは 単になくなるだけです まずいテクノロジーは 消えていきます。アイデアの場合 人間に関する誤ったアイデアは それを正しいと信じる人がいる限り なくなりません。なぜなら それを正しいと思う人々が その間違ったアイデアに合致した 生活様式や組織を 作り出すからです。

*12:そしてそのようにして産業革命は 工場システムを作り出したのです そこでの仕事では 一日の終わりにもらう給金以外に 得られるものが まったくないような場所です。それというのも 産業革命の父の一人である アダム・スミスが 人間というのは本質的に怠惰なものだと 考えていたからです。やり甲斐を与えてやらない限り 何をすることもなく やり甲斐となるのは インセンティブを与えること 報酬であり 人が何かをするのは それが唯一の理由なのだと。

*13:工場システムが作られたのは そのような 人間に対する誤った見方に基づいていました

*14:しかし一度そのような 生産システムが生まれると 人が働く方法は それしかなくなってしまったのです アダム・スミスの見方に 合ったものだけです


この仕事の例は 誤ったアイデアはそれを正しいものにするような 環境を作り出しうるという 例の1つに過ぎません

*16:「もはや良い働き手は得られない」というのは 正しくありません 屈辱的で 心をなくすような 仕事を与えているから 「もはや良い働き手は得られない」のです

*17:興味深いことに 大量生産と分業という すごい発明をもたらした アダム・スミスは このことを理解していました

*18:彼は言っています 「組み立てラインで働く者は — 通常人間としてあり得る限り 愚かな者になる」と

*19:「なる」という部分に注意してください 「通常人間としてあり得る限り 愚かな者になる」

*20:彼が意図していたか分かりませんが 彼がここで言っているのは このような職場のあり方は その職場の要求に 適合した人間を作り出し 私たちが当然と思っているような 仕事の喜びを得る機会を 奪ってしまうということです

*21:自然科学の場合 私たちは宇宙について 素晴らしい理論を紡ぎ出しながら 宇宙が我々の理論を 意に介することはないと 思っていられます

*22:我々が宇宙について どんな理論を持っていようが 宇宙は変わらずに居続けます

*23:しかし人間の性質についての理論では 注意が必要です 人間とは何かを説明し 人間を理解する助けとなるべく作られた理論が 人間の性質自体を 変えてしまうからです

*24:優れた文化人類学者である クリフォード・ギアツはかつて言っていました 「人間は未完成の動物である」と

*25:それが意味しているのは 人間の性質というのは その人が住む社会の 産物だということです

*26:人間の性質というのは あくまで「我々にとっての」人間の性質であって 発見されるよりは 作られるものなのです

*27:人々がその中で生き 働く組織を デザインすることによって 我々は人間の性質を デザインしているのです

*28:だから私が最も近くに寄る 機会を得た 宇宙の主である皆さんは 帰って組織を運営しようというとき 自らに問う必要があります

*29:どのような人間の性質を デザインしようと思うのか?

Clint Smith | TED2015  How to raise a black son in America





Growing up, I didn't always understand why my parents made me follow the rules that they did. *1 Like, why did I really have to mow the lawn? Why was homework really that important? Why couldn't I put jelly beans in my oatmeal?*2


My childhood was abound with questions like this. *3 Normal things about being a kid and realizing that sometimes, it was best to listen to my parents even when I didn't exactly understand why. *4 And it's not that they didn't want me to think critically. *5 Their parenting always sought to reconcile the tension between having my siblings and I understand the realities of the world, while ensuring that we never accepted the status quo as inevitable.*6


※having my sibling and I understand →have O do「Oに~させる、してもらう」


I came to realize that this, in and of itself, was a very purposeful form of education. *7 One of my favorite educators, Brazilian author and scholar Paulo Freire, speaks quite explicitly about the need for education to be used as a tool for critical awakening and shared humanity. *8 In his most famous book, "Pedagogy of the Oppressed," he states, "No one can be authentically human while he prevents others from being so."*9



I've been thinking a lot about this lately, this idea of humanity, and specifically, who in this world is afforded the privilege of being perceived as fully human. *10 Over the course of the past several months, the world has watched as unarmed black men, and women, have had their lives taken at the hands of police and vigilante. *11 These events and all that has transpired after them have brought me back to my own childhood and the decisions that my parents made about raising a black boy in America that growing up, I didn't always understand in the way that I do now. *12



I think of how hard it must have been, how profoundly unfair it must have felt for them to feel like they had to strip away parts of my childhood just so that *13 I could come home at night. *14



For example, I think of how one night, when I was around 12 years old, on an overnight field trip to another city, my friends and I bought Super Soakers and turned the hotel parking lot into our own water-filled battle zone. *15 We hid behind cars, running through the darkness that lay between the streetlights, boundless laughter ubiquitous across the pavement. *16 But within 10 minutes, my father came outside, grabbed me by my forearm and led me into our room with an unfamiliar grip. *17 Before I could say anything, tell him how foolish he had made me look in front of my friends, he derided me for being so naive. *18 Looked me in the eye, fear consuming his face, and said, "Son, I'm sorry, but you can't act the same as your white friends. You can't pretend to shoot guns. You can't run around in the dark. You can't hide behind anything other than your own teeth." *19



I know now how scared he must have been, how easily I could have fallen into the empty of the night, that some man would mistake this water for a good reason to wash all of this away. *20



These are the sorts of messages I've been inundated with my entire life: Always keep your hands where they can see them, don't move too quickly, take off your hood when the sun goes down. *21 My parents raised me and my siblings in an armor of advice, an ocean of alarm bells so someone wouldn't steal the breath from our lungs, so that they wouldn't make a memory of this skin. *22 So that we could be kids, not casket or concrete. And it's not because they thought it would make us better than anyone else it's simply because they wanted to keep us alive.*23


All of my black friends were raised with the same message, the talk, given to us when we became old enough to be mistaken for a nail ready to be hammered to the ground, when people made our melanin synonymous with something to be feared. *24 



But what does it do to a child to grow up knowing that you cannot simply be a child? *25 That the whims of adolescence are too dangerous for your breath, that you cannot simply be curious, that you are not afforded the luxury of making a mistake, that someone's implicit bias might be the reason you don't wake up in the morning. *26



But this cannot be what defines us. *27 Because we have parents who raised us to understand that our bodies weren't meant for the backside of a bullet, but for flying kites and jumping rope, and laughing until our stomachs burst. *28 We had teachers who taught us how to raise our hands in class, and not just to signal surrender, and that the only thing we should give up is the idea that we aren't worthy of this world. *29 So when we say that black lives matter, it's not because others don't, it's simply because we must affirm that we are worthy of existing without fear, when so many things tell us we are not. *30 I want to live in a world where my son will not be presumed guilty the moment he is born, where a toy in his hand isn't mistaken for anything other than a toy. *31



And I refuse to accept that we can't build this world into something new, some place where a child's name doesn't have to be written on a t-shirt, or a tombstone, where the value of someone's life isn't determined by anything other than the fact that they had lungs, a place where every single one of us can breathe. *32

*1:子供の頃 私は両親がなぜ ルールに従うように言うのか よく分かりませんでした

*2:例えば なぜ芝刈りをしないと いけないの? なぜ宿題がそんなに大事なの? なぜジェリービーンズを オートミールに入れて食べたらダメなの?

*3:子供時代は そんな疑問で溢れていました

*4:子供である以上 当然のことですし 時には― 意味がわからなくても 言うことを聞くのが一番だと考えていました

*5:両親は私に批判的思考を してほしくなかったわけではありません

*6:私の両親は常に 私たち兄弟に 世界の現状を理解させながらも その現実が必然であると思わないように 育ててくれました

*7:私はこの考え方自体が 強い目的を持った教育だと 理解するようになりました

*8:私の好きな教育者 ブラジル人作家で 学者のパウロフレイレ氏は 教育は批判的な考えを呼び起こし 人間性を共有するためのツールで なければならないと明言しています

*9:彼の最も有名な著書 『被抑圧者の教育学』で 「人は他者を人間として 見なすことができなければ 真の人間にはなりえない」と述べています

*10:私はこの人間性について 最近よく考えています 特に この世界で「完全なる人間」という 特権を与えられているのは 誰なのだろうということについてです

*11:この数ヶ月の間で 世界では 武器を持たない 黒人の男性や女性が 警察や自警団に命を奪われる事件が 次々と起こりました

*12:このような事件や その後の出来事によって 私は自分の子供時代を思い起こし 両親が「アメリカで黒人の男の子を 育てる」際に下した決断が 昔は分かりませんでしたが 今はきちんと理解できるのです


*14:私がちゃんと毎晩 家に帰って来られるように 私から子供時代を奪うのが 両親にとってどれほど辛く どれほど不公平に感じられたことでしょう

*15:例えば ある夜 12歳ぐらいの時 別の街に旅行したときのことです 友達と一緒に水鉄砲を買い ホテルの駐車場を戦場に見立てて 水鉄砲遊びをしていました

*16:車の陰に隠れながら 街灯のあいだの暗闇を走り回って 私たちの笑い声は 歩道に響き渡りました

*17:しかし10分も経たないうちに 私の父がやってきて 私の腕を掴むと これまでにないような強い力で 部屋に引っ張って行きました

*18:私が何かを言う前に― 友達の前で恥ずかしい思いをさせられたと 父に言う前に 父は私が世間知らずであることを あざ笑いました

*19:私の目をじっと見て 恐怖に溢れた面持ちで 父はこう言ったのです 「クリント 悪いが― お前は白人の友達と 同じような行動はできないんだよ 銃を撃つまねをしたり 暗闇で走り回ったりしてはいけない 自分の歯以外の物陰に 身を隠してはいけないんだ」

*20:私私はその時 父が感じた恐怖を 今になって理解できます 私が夜の闇に飲まれて 誰かが水を実弾と勘違いし 最悪の事態になることもあったでしょう

*21:私の人生はこのようなメッセージで 溢れていました 手はいつも見えるようにしろ 手を速く動かすな 日が沈んだら パーカーのフードは被るな

*22:私の両親は私たち兄弟に 「助言」という鎧を着せて育てました 誰かに息の根を止められないよう 肌の色を記憶されないよう 多くのことに 気を付けなければなりませんでした

*23:私たちが棺やコンクリートではなく 子供でいられるように そして これは他の子供より 良い子にするためではなく ただ生きてほしかっただけなのです

*24:黒人の友達は皆 同じようなメッセージを受けて育ち 出る杭は打たれるような年齢に達したり 肌のメラニン色素が 何か恐ろしいものであるように 思われるたびに忠告を受けました

*25:でも考えてみてください 「ただの子供ではいられない」 と感じながら育つ子供のことを

*26:思春期の気まぐれが 命取りになってしまうことや 純粋に好奇心を感じることができず ほんの失敗が許されない状況を 誰かの間違った偏見のせいで 翌朝目覚めることがないかもしれないことを

*27:しかし 私たちは これに定義されはしません

*28:両親は私たちに教えてくれました 私たちの体は銃弾の標的になるためでなく 凧を上げたり 縄跳びをしたり お腹を抱えて笑うためにあるのだと

*29:学校の先生は 降参の意味ではない 授業中の手の挙げ方を 教えてくれました 自分に生きる価値がないという考えこそが 捨て去るべき唯一のものだと

*30:「黒人の命は大事だ」というのは 他の命が大事ではないと言うのではなく いくら否定されたとしても 私たちには恐怖を感じることなく この世に存在する価値があると 主張したいのです

*31:私は自分の息子が 生まれた瞬間に 悪さをしていると疑われ 手にしているものが玩具以外の何かに 見間違われることのない世界に生きたいです

*32:新しい世界を構築することはできない という考えは受け付けません 子供の名前が 抗議デモのTシャツや 墓石に刻まれることがない世界― ある人の命の価値が 息をしていること以外の何かで 決められることのない世界― みんなが同じように 生きられる世界は作れるのです

Why Denmark dominates the World Happiness Report rankings year after year




This year’s World Happiness Report again ranks Denmark among the top three happiest of 155 countries surveyed – a distinction that the country has earned for seven consecutive years.


The U.S., on the other hand, ranked 18th this year, a four-spot drop from last year’s report. 


Denmark’s place among the world’s happiest countries is consistent with many other national surveys of happiness (or, as psychologists call it, “subjective well-being”). 


Scientists like to study and argue about how to measure things. But when it comes to happiness, a general consensus seems to have emerged. 


Depending on the scope and purpose of the research, happiness is often measured using objective indicators (data on crime, income, civic engagement and health) and subjective methods, such as asking people how frequently they experience positive and negative emotions.


Why might Danes evaluate their lives more positively? As a psychologist and native of Denmark, I’ve looked into this question. 


Yes, Danes have a stable government, low levels of public corruption, and access to high-quality education and health care. The country does have*7 the the highest taxes in the world, but the vast majority of Danes happily pay: They believe higher taxes can create a better society. 


Perhaps most importantly, however, they value a cultural construct called “hygge” (pronounced hʊɡə). 


The Oxford dictionary added the word in June 2017, and it refers to high-quality social interactions. Hygge can be used as a noun, adjective or verb (to hygge oneself), and events and places can also be hyggelige (hygge-like).


Hygge is sometimes translated as “cozy,” but a better definition of hygge is “intentional intimacy,” which can happen when you have safe, balanced and harmonious shared experiences. A cup of coffee with a friend in front of a fireplace might qualify, as could a summer picnic in the park.


A family might have a hygge evening that entails board games and treats, or friends might get together for a casual dinner with dimmed lighting, good food and easygoing fun. Spaces can also be described as hyggelige (“Your new house is so hyggeligt”) and a common way of telling a host thank you after a dinner is to say that it was hyggeligt (meaning, we had a good time). Most Danish social events are expected to be hyggelige, so it would be a harsh critique to say that a party or dinner wasn’t hyggelige.


Research on hygge has found that in Denmark, it’s integral to people’s sense of well-being. It acts as a buffer against stress, while also creating a space to build camaraderie. In a highly individualized country like Denmark, hygge can promote egalitarianism and strengthen trust.


It would be fair to say that hygge is fully integrated into the Danish cultural psyche and culture. But it has also become a bit of a global phenomenon – Amazon now sells more than 900 books on hygge, and Instagram has over 3 million posts with the hashtag #hygge. Google trends data show a big jump in searches for hygge beginning in October 2016.


Nor is Denmark the only country that has a word for a concept similar to hygge – the Norwegians have koselig, the Swedes mysig, the Dutch gezenlligheid and the Germans gemütlichkeit.


In the U.S. – which also places a high value on individualism – there’s no real cultural equivalent of hygge. Income is generally associated with happiness; yet even though the country’s GDP has been rising and its unemployment rates have been declining, levels of happiness in the U.S. have been steadily decreasing.


What’s going on?*17 Income inequality continues to be an issue. But there’s also been a marked decrease in interpersonal trust and trust toward institutions like the government as well as the media. In the end, more disposable income doesn’t hold a candle to having someone to rely on in a time of need (something that 95 percent of Danes believe they have).


At its core, hygge is about building intimacy and trust with others. Americans could probably use a little more of it in their lives.
























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