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It's a somewhat flattering title, he says, given the tiny percentage of the global population who have had their brain patterns monitored by the same state-of-the-art technology, which involves attaching 256 sensors to the skull, and three hours' continuous MRI scanning.
The fact remains that, out of hundreds of volunteers whose scores ranged from 0.3 (what you might call the Morrissey zone) to -0.3 (beatific) the Frenchman scored -0.45.
Davidson is one of the world's leading investigators in the field of neuroplasticity: the comparatively recent discovery that the brain is constantly evolving in response to experience, and that such evolution can be represented in a scan, then quantified.
"The relationship between the left and right cortex of the brain can be measured," says Ricard, "and the relationship between them faithfully represents the subject's temperament." Heightened activity on the left, he says, is associated with pleasant emotions; bias to the right indicates negativity and depression.
He shows me the chart of volunteers' results, on his laptop.
To find Ricard, you have to keep scrolling left, away from the main curve, until you eventually find him - a remote dot at the beginning of the x-axis.
Now that I come to think about it, Manchester United had done absolutely nothing for me." "Because elation is a transient thing - not true spiritual fulfilment." "But if I achieve spiritual fulfilment, will I lose interest in going to Old Trafford? That's one of the mistakes people make: that a serene, balanced mind is a dull mind.
I love football." Matthieu Ricard, French translator and right-hand man for the Dalai Lama, has been the subject of intensive clinical tests at the University of Wisconsin, as a result of which he is frequently described as the happiest man in the world.
You need to take out the stones and put in more provisions." "More wine? What I'm saying is that these interludes - of alcohol, or physical exercise - give a hint of what life could be like, if you changed the balance of your mind, instead of altering external circumstances." A laboratory rat, he says, given access to a "pleasure bar" that stimulates euphoria in the brain, will keep pressing the lever until it dies of starvation.Not that I'm saying you'd be any happier where I grew up in Manchester, where two of my three uncles have been fired at with Uzis..." "What," Ricard interrupts, "is an Uzi? We can develop our potential as if "polishing a nugget" and eventually (omega) achieve happiness, "like a bird soaring into the sky when his cage is opened".Ricard's book exudes inspiration and intelligence, qualities embodied in its author.The monk explains that the flat - sparsely decorated with Tibetan artwork, and pictures of the Dalai Lama - belongs to a wealthy philanthropist who has moved to the country.Before I met Ricard, who greeted me in his maroon robes, I confess to having harboured some scepticism about his good works.
US neuroscientists have declared him the happiest man they have ever tested.