Friends, food, and flourishing


Flourishing. Contentment. A satisfying life. People have been thinking about it for thousands of years. Aristotle wrote about flourishing in the Nicomachean Ethics, about 2,300 years ago. He called it the greatest human good.

Aristo (to his friends) thought about flourishing, gabbed with his friends, and wrote stuff down. We do the knowledge thing differently these days. We study True Facts with the scientific method. Our knowledge is more certain than Aristo’s.

Over the last few decades, researchers have done hundreds of studies on flourishing. The same things, like relationships, self-acceptance, and meaning, show up again and again.

Cryptid Kitchen explores the research. Knowledge nuggets are scattered around an island filled with happy animal friends. The nuggets are grouped into areas, on different topics. Here are the areas. Some are finished, some are not.

Matcha smiling
Location: Matcha’s Garden
Matcha's Garden
Introduces flourishing, using the Three Lives model:
  • The pleasant life
  • The fulfilling life
  • The meaningful life
Also explains what the game is, and how to play.
Location: Tiny Mining Town
Tiny Mining Town
Briefly explains aspects of human brains affecting flourishing. Topics include:
  • Automaticity
  • Attention
  • Memory
  • Emotion
  • Thought
  • The body
  • Evolution
Location: Tiny Snowy Town
Tiny Snowy Town
Building skills helps people live a fulfilling life. This area explains ways to improve learning effectiveness and efficiency. Topics include:
  • Retrieval practice
  • Concrete examples
  • Dual coding
  • Elaboration
  • Interleaving
  • Spacing
Location: Tiny Desert Town
  • What is depression?
  • Where does depression come from?
  • Is depression a character flaw?
  • Cognitive treatment
  • Meditation treatment
  • Medication treatment
Location: Camp
Optimistic people tend to be healthier. Why? This area shows how to think about the correlation between optimism and health. Topics include:
  • Dutch optimism (study)
  • Learned helplessness
  • Mastery and CVD (cardiovascular disease)
  • Optimism and heart health
  • Veterans, optimism, and CVD
  • Women’s optimism and heart health

How optimism and pessimism can work together. Topics include:

  • Trait vs. situation
  • Is optimism good?
  • Is pessimism bad?
  • Defensive pessimism
Location: Tiny Cathedral Town
How people find meaning in their lives. Topics:
  • Sacred and pure
  • Elevation
  • Social purity
  • Purity vs. autonomy
  • Service to the greater
  • Religion
  • Religion and social control
  • Religious conflict
  • God’s word
  • God believes what I believe (study)
  • Who’s a Christian?
  • Being flexible
  • Meaning at work
This topic might be split in two, with religion being a separate topic from meaning.

Flourishing and other people. Romantic relationships are covered elsewhere.

Research on married vs. unmarried people. What makes close relationships work?

Flourishing at work. How people can flourish in mundane jobs.

What other topics should we add? Use the suggestion page, or email kieran at