Happiness

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Grayson

Senior Member
Messages
1,079
Happiness

This last day or so has seen me evaluating some of my most fundamental values, a lot of what I have unveiled has not made me happy. This has caused me in the last few hours to consider happiness and all it means. I thought that I would share my thoughts here, that you may consider and reach your own opinions. In doing so, you may pause and consider your own personal happiness and how best to achieve it.

I have learned one thing from my recent experience. Happiness is essential to life.

Happiness: The elusive state of consciousness.

Happiness is simply an emotional state of feeling good, of being free from pain and unpleasant emotions.

Unfortunately, happiness is an elusive state of mind that all men strive for but few attain.

As Thoreau told us in Walden: "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."

However, once we understand the mechanics and principles of Happiness, we realize that there is no need for and no point in being unhappy, ever.

There are no free lunches in life but anybody can achieve lasting happiness if he makes the effort to absorb the underlying principles involved. Unhappiness used to be considered an unavoidable part of human existence. Knowledge and rationality can help us overcome this dilemma.

Most people oscillate between short bursts of happiness and long periods of neutral emotions or unhappiness. Only recently have we gained the insight that happiness need not merely be an involuntary emotional response to outside events. Happiness can be purposefully achieved, maintained and enhanced by our rational mind.

Human problems and unhappiness can exist only when our actions, perceptions or expectations are not in alignment with objective reality: When we do not clearly understand what is really happening in the objective reality of our world around us. What is Objective Reality?

Objective Reality is everything that exists with or without human acknowledgment. What we call "nature" is the small part of Objective Reality that surrounds us and, of course, people are just as much part of Objective Reality, as trees, the ocean or other galaxies. Objective reality is everything that just simply exists. Objective Reality existed long before humans inhabited the world. It will exist long after we as individuals, or even the human race, will have disappeared.

If we could have total, absolute knowledge and understanding of Objective Reality, we would be in complete alignment with the world around us. Conflicts and problems would disappear because they can only arise when our perceptions or our expectations are in conflict with Objective Reality. It is as simple as that.

Can we really "choose" to be happy or unhappy? Answering this question gives us the first opportunity to face Objective Reality head-on: Merely saying that something can be done just because we choose to do it, choosing between inaccessible alternatives, is counterproductive: I cannot jump to the moon merely because I choose to do so.

However, there is nothing to stop us from getting to the moon, if we see the reality of the steps necessary to accomplish it: To provide ourselves with the technology, with the knowledge required, to build the rocket to get to the moon.

Before we can choose to go to the moon, before we can choose to be happy or unhappy, it is absolutely essential that we have an exceedingly clear view of objective reality without fudging, wishful thinking or irrationality.

We need to have a clear view of the way the world really is and the connectivity of man to the universe. We need to segregate relevant knowledge. such as Gravity and Probability, from knowledge that is irrelevant to human existence, such as the Big Bang. From cosmology to geology, from evolution to psychology, we need to provide ourselves with the clearest possible perspective of the way things really are.

We have to take a hard look at such relative, human concepts as fairness, patriotism, pride, beauty, honor, religion, good and evil, altruism, and other perplexing ideas. Many of these ancient concepts, these icons, are obsolete in view of our current knowledge of the universe. We have to decide which of these icons need to be replaced with a reality based fact-system.

Above all, we must clearly understand that human "problems" are always the result of our misalignment with reality. In order to be closely aligned with objective reality we need to separate the wheat from the chaff. The more we dig, the more chaff we have to shovel. From politics to love, from economics to sex.

Most people have a severely distorted world view. They are stumbling through life, confused, aimless and unable to achieve happiness . Most of these distortions are generated by inadequate education and faulty conditioning. We need not be intellectual giants, but a minimum of intelligence is helpful for a clear understanding of the world around us.

Persons who rely on religion for guidance through the shoals of life have to overcome a particularly obstinate impediment: They need to abandon the illusory comforts of a belief system that is steeped in irrationality, and replace it with a reality-based fact system. However, many religious persons have probably harbored doubts about the effectiveness of their belief system. They merely need to come to grips with the fact that there are new and more effective means of dealing with the realities of life. That is not to say that belief in a religious sense is invalid, merely self defeating inevitably.

Many people are ineffective in recognizing the reality of problematic situations and thus do not have the option of choosing between happiness and unhappiness. However, it is within the grasp of modern man to acquire a very thorough understanding of Objective Reality and of man's position in the universe.

And yet, even with the best tools of modern science we can perceive only a fraction of the environment in which we are submerged. It is inherently impossible for man to have total knowledge of reality. Therefore it is not possibly be in total alignment with Objective Reality at all times.

It is the human lot to have some conflicts and problems. And yet, by perceiving Objective Reality as clearly as humanly possible, we can minimize our conflicts and can thus optimize our happiness.

Who would rather cry than laugh? Who would choose to be unhappy if it is just as easy to be happy?

If we take responsibility for our emotional response to all events in our life, there is nobody else to blame if we are not happy! The choice is ours alone.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you; weep and you weep alone.

"Happiness depends upon ourselves." --- ARISTOTLE

Be happy and make personal happiness your one and only mission in life. The rest will fall into place. :D

EDIT: Got the text tags wrong again.
 

CaryP

Senior Member
Messages
1,438
Happiness

Interesting post Grayson. Here's my take on happiness. I agree that it's a fleeting emotion. It comes and goes throughout the day. Coffee already being made by the time you wake up = happy (unless you have the expectation that someone else is supposed to have already made it). Spilling part of breakfast on your work clothes and you have to change = unhappy. Being surprised by the very light traffic on the way to work = happy (unless you dread going to work, and prefer the heavy traffic). Running out of gas on your way to work = unhappy. I'm sure you get the picture

But the range of emotions available to us at any one time is dependent on the mood we're in, especially the mood(s) we tend to live in most of the time. A discipline I've studied over the last 17 years or so is the Ontology of Language. Great distinctions for effective action as human beings. From this discipline are four primary moods that most humans operate out of:

Peace - acceptance of the "facts" of life

Ambition - acceptance/embrace of the possibilities of life

Resentment - rejection of/conflict with the "facts" of life

Resignation - rejection of/conflict with the possibilities of life

Peace and ambition come as a pair. So do resentment and resignation. Kind of hard to be peaceful and resigned, or ambitious and resentful at the same time. Living out of peace and ambition will experience a lot more "happy" moments. Living in resentment and resignation will still experience "happy" moments, just less of them.

So is happiness something to be pursued? My take is no. It comes and goes. Life is a big training ground or school if you will. To be learning is to experience problems or breakdowns. Do you know anyone who's figured it all out, and doesn't need to learn anything at all? I don't. So while we're all here in the cosmic kindergarten, our ongoing learning process called life will hand us breakdowns causing temporary absence of happiness.

I prefer to pursue satisfaction. What is satisfaction? Lot's of definitions to go around there, but this is my favorite because it boils it down succinctly. Satisfaction equals enough action. In other words

if I make $X per year, I'll be satisfied,
if I live in X kind of house and neighborhood I'll be satisfied,
if I meet X conditions of health and fitness, I'll be satisfied,
if I have X conditions in my relationship/marriage I'll be satisfied
if I have $X a month to live on in retirement, I'll be satisfied
if I achieve X position at work, I'll be satisfied
if I could lower my gold handicap to X, I'll be satisfied
if I could learn X hobby/sport/trade, I'll be satisfied
you get the picture

Problem is most people (Americans are my overwhelming experience) don't have a clue about what would be enough action for them to be satisfied - in almost every aspect of their lives - totally clueless. There's a general malaise of "this ain't it" and "what's missing". Generally, what's missing is some reflection and soul searching for what would be "satisfaction" in their lives (i.e. what kind and how much action produced by them would result in satisfaction in the different areas of life). Most people just aren't that rigorous. Not are they not only clueless about what satisfaction is, they don't even know what the question is (what would it take to satisfy you here?). There's a "victim" mentality of "this ain't it" "what's missing" "why isn't my life perfect, and who's fault is it." Why have lawsuits become a veritable religion in the US? We've denagrated into a culture of resigned, resentful, whining victims looking for someone else (God, the government, society, luck, the cosmos, the lottery, anybody will do) to hand us that magic "something" (money, better relationships, better job, better place your current source of unhappiness here ) that will suddenly transform our lives into one non-ending happy fest. Unfortunately, it don't work that way little children. Does this apply to everyone? Absolutely not. My commentary here is about societal trends. Resigned and resentful are the norm - most of the mind numbing, sleep walking masses, quietly (sometimes loudly) leading those lives of desperation as Mr. Thoreau pointed out.

That's why people who live primarily in peace and ambition are such a treat. They light up a room. We're attracted to them. They stand out. I'm not talking about vicious, aggressive sharks whose ambition is to never have enough, but always covet more. These types are usually the least happy - they never have enough and they know it. I'm talking about the rare people who seem to know where they're going, and work diligently to get there, while empowering others along the way. Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway fame is probably one of my favorite examples. I would venture that some of the coaching "greats" also fit the bill here.

The other breakdown with satisfaction is demanding a result in areas beyond our control. The really everyday, bite you on the ass example is other people. If only he/she would just be/not be like that...I'm sure you know this one. Other examples here could fill volumes... all the crap people whine about on a daily basis that is totally out of their control, yet they have some huge emotional investment in being dissatisfied and "unhappy" about it. It becomes one of their "raisons d'etre." A lot of what I'm talking about here are those "facts" of life. How many people do you know that are in denial of, non-acceptance about, raging against the machine about common stuff you can't change like;

your age
your sex
your height
your race

your looks (yes, cosmetic surgery can change a person's looks, but how many beauty queens have you heard about having major insecurities about their looks)

your past relationships (friends, parents, children siblings included, not just love interests. Know anyone bitter over ex-spouses, damaged relationships with one or more family members?)

your past in general (You can't change the past actions you've taken, but you can change the interpretation.)

This post is getting longer than I intended so I'll conclude here.

If you want to experience more happiness, you have to be clear about what satisfaction is for you in a lot of areas of your life. The more the better. Over time you'll will have to redeclare what is satisfaction. Over time what satisfies you will change. Life is an ongoing process of learning. What satisfies you today will not satisfy you after new learning over time. Some area of life causing you problems? Ask yourself the question, "what would satisfy me here?" You have to be able to answer the question in terms of ACTION YOU can take (yes, you have to get off your ass and do something) to eventually accomplish desired results. The really BIG satisfactions usually don't come easily or quickly. It's easier to accomplish the BIG satisfactions if you break them down into a series of smaller, but progressive satisfactions. If you're asking the question "does this have something to do with goal setting?" uh, yeah. Goals give us direction and purpose. Their acheivement gives us the learning along the way, and the SATISFACTION upon completion.

If your dissatisfaction/unhappiness can not be resolved by your actions (i.e. changing other people, changing the '"facts" of life, etc.) you might as well get over it, accept it, and embrace it so you can have PEACE about it. Of course you can opt to continue suffering about it, but you'll experience less happiness.

If you've made it to here. Thanks for reading. Sorry to be so long winded on a Sunday morning. Kinda "preachy" of me huh. :lol: (Oh, God, I just used a damn smiley face! What's happening to me???)

Cary
 

Grayson

Senior Member
Messages
1,079
Happiness

And you wanted me to believe that you were a dumb hick???

Now, I need to think on this afore I reply and appear the hick.
 

StarLord

Senior Member
Messages
3,187
Happiness

We can only eat one meal at a time.
We can only wear one shirt, pants, socks, shoes at one time.
We can only travel in one direction at one time.
We (as men) can only do one thing at a time. (women amaze me when they multitask)
We can only sleep in one bed at a time.
We can only be with one woman at the same moment in time (don't go there)
We can only bathe in one tub at a time.
Luckily we can talk to alot of friends at one time but they all have to be listening to us and not talking.
We can listen politely, nod and smile during the lulls, as all of our friends talk to us at the same time.

Happines is a state of mind. We can make our life a heaven depending upon our outlook and lack of expectation.
We can make this place a living hell depending upon our outlook and overload of expectation.
Expect nothing from your fellow humans and view them as spiritually evolved souls and this place can be paradise.
Expect people to cater to your selfish whims and see only their faults and you're gauranteed a trip to Dante's 7 level Hotel of eternal heat while your still alive.
Treat others as you would be treated for a LONG ENOUGH PERIOD and great things just start falling out of the woodwork.
Be kind to yourself always.
Refuse to compare yourself against others.
Each of us are a single facet on the great diamond known as God
Give your wisdom away and you make room for more to come. Hold on to it and hoard it and the well will dry up.
 

Grayson

Senior Member
Messages
1,079
Happiness

Curious that you should mention shoes, it sparked this off in my mind.

Aristotle, elaborated on the principle of moderation by postulating the principle of diminishing returns, as applied to the monetary sphere. Being an astute observer of human traits, he stipulated that an upper limit is imposed on the utilitarian use to which money can be applied. Since money is a human invention, human nature determines the measure of such optimums

If we have no shoes at all, we suffer from pain and discomfort. We will be inefficient in the pursuit of our objectives, such as hunting for game. Such complete lack of shoes represents life below the threshold of minimum necessities and puts our life at risk.

If we own one pair of shoes, we can function rather effectively, but we cannot compete for food or other essentials if our shoes are wet or if they need repairs.

If we have two pairs of shoes, we can be certain of having proper footgear at all times, a condition representing the optimum combination of needs and resources.

If we acquire more than the optimum of two pairs, we conflict with the law of diminishing returns. Three pairs of shoes will provide only a slight advantage because it may provide the opportunity to rotate shoes to avoid blisters. We need to weigh this slight advantage against the cost of acquiring, maintaining and safeguarding the extra pair of shoes.

The principle of diminishing returns will become even more obvious when we insist on acquiring the fourth, fifth and sixth pair of shoes. Since we can only wear one pair of shoes at a time, these additional shoes will not increase the quality of our life but will, instead, make us more concerned about their potential theft.

If the possession of shoes is a matter of survival, and if many needy people have no shoes at all, they will incur considerable risk to separate us from our unneeded shoes. Ultimately, to possess 300 pairs of shoes in the spirit of Ismelda Marcos, will lead to ridicule or even disaster, as she discovered to her chagrin.

This illustration illuminates the Aristotelian principle of diminishing returns as it pertains to man, his money and his possessions: Total lack of money, signifying the lack of physical resources that money represents, can mean deprivation or even death. A minimum of resources will keep us alive but will provide little in the way of life?s joys. An optimum match of human resources and human needs will provide us with all necessities for survival and will provide us with the opportunity to enhance our happiness by reducing or eliminating most adversity and pain from our existence.

Beyond this optimal point, we burden ourselves with anxiety about the potential loss of our resources, with the additional cost of acquiring them, with disproportionate benefits and with the additional burden of protecting our possessions from predators or from the hazards of time and decay.

All that from one pair of shoes, shame on you for provoking me with that article of clothing. :lol:
 

StarLord

Senior Member
Messages
3,187
Happiness

Ahh, but you DID bite didn't you my friend?

Wonkers!!! The Acoustics here are Bloody Amazing!!! Grayson, strike me dead if I lie, but Mate, I did not imput this twice. Bleedin Amazin, that Is.

Cant wait to tell Jedi and Satan about the echoes in Happiness. :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

Cyberbomb

New Member
Messages
22
Happiness

"The greatest crimes have been commited with the best intentions"

Happiness is a double edged sword so to speak, everyone strives to achieve happiness, a good feeling, and the satifaction it brings them, and to the person him/herself it is worth doing anything possible to get it, but... happiness is the root of the best moments of life, and the greatest evils also.

Everyone has their own way of obtaining happiness, weather it be working in the profession of your choice, doing something exciting, or helping someone else out, everyone goes out of their way, and in a sense, out of their senses also, to forfill the plee of happiness, but it isn't always that great.

Like light and darkness, is like happiness and unhappiness, what is darkness?? You may say its the word itself, and thats how many people identify it, but darkness in reality, is just an abstace of light, without light there is darkness, without darkness there is only light, so light is the only reality in this situation.

So we can also say that happiness is the only reality as well, but what does that matter?? Well, if happiness is the only reality in this situation, and it is the root of what I would like to say is the reason to all actions, then all of the worst things in life spawn from happiness as well as the best.

When someone insults someone else, it takes away their happiness, and the insulter gains some through the laughs and feeling of superiority, so the other person who is addicted to the great feeling of happiness attempts to take the happiness back by insulting back to "even the score" and then this continues until words turn to blood as the people begin fighting.

Im sure everyone has come across someone who likes to boast about themselves, how great they are at this game or how awsome they can play this sport or even how they are better then you, the person gains happiness through is own achievements, but unfortunitly, the person craves for more happiness and recognition that the happiness that he has now doesn't leave, making this person annoying as he is "stealing everyone elses happiness"

What people don't realize is that happiness is unlimited, and that it is their perspective that creates it, but they insist on stealing everyone elses, those bastards, they have the key to heaven but continue to corupt in the depths of hell.

Now lets go deeper into this, everyone strives for happiness, and everyone wants it, and they will claw and beg and even steal it eventually but, why?! We walk around everyday as we live out a life with no clear purpose or path, we wander and lose ourselves in the everyday flow of time.

We react to everyone and everything around us based on how we feel, how much happiness we possess, yet, whats the point of happiness?! Why is it there, we didn't ask for it, we never even thought of it, but yet it continues to make us want it from birth to death, from year to year, day to day, second to second, but did we ever really want it??

Theres no reason for it, it only exists, it is only there, it only continues to sit there in infinite quanity and make people lie, cheat, and steal to get it, we in truth... are only slaves.

We react to everything based on how we feel, so what happens if we feel nothing? What happens if there is no desire for this feeling, this intruder to our life that we let guide our decisions, that we let get so out of control that it becomes the most inportant assent in our lives, we are slaves to the guidance of emotion, we may feel like we are in control, that we make our own decisions, that we walk free and proud, but that is only wishful thinking, noone realizes that because they act and react as they feel, that they are only letting something else make choices for them, that they give up their free will and mind to something else that you let do as it pleases while we wander around and watch as it shapes the lives that we were supposively living.

What is happiness in the end? It is a material in a sense, like soil or trees, that wants to control everything, so ask yourself... are you really free, or a slave?
 

Grayson

Senior Member
Messages
1,079
Happiness

Until we stop being a human doing and start being a Human being we are slaves to our individual perceptions of reality, objective or otherwise.

Happiness cannot be given, nor taken away, it can be surrendered by ourselves to our perceived reality though. Each of us is as unique as our fingerprints, so to each a difference in perspective exists. That is the nub of the issue, to retain our individual state of wellbeing and comfort, no matter the circumstance.

Starlord proffers us some great wisdom in this, both here and in the Religion thread, though he has missed my point sometimes. That has not stopped him in offering up sensible avenues of pursuit though. The soul is ephemeral and eternal, it can be happy no matter what. That is our happiness, our salvation and our vehicle through our intertwined realities.

BTW, nice post Cyber, some rumination required afore I offer a fuller reply.
 

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