Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Happiness generally comes from links with other people

William Egginton on theodicy, neuroscience, and free will.
“As much as we owe the nature of our current existence to the evolutionary forces Darwin first discovered, or to the cultures we grow up in, or to the chemical states affecting our brain processes at any given moment, none of this impacts on our freedom. I am free because neither science nor religion can ever tell me, with certainty, what my future will be and what I should do about it. The dictum from Sartre that Strawson quoted thus gets it exactly right: I am condemned to freedom. I am not free because I can make choices, but because I must make them, all the time, even when I think I have no choice to make.”

depression and graduate students from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek (Graham Harman)
George Santayana is an underrated author. In The Sense of Beauty (always the surprise hit of my aesthetics classes whenever I use it) he talks about how beauty and happiness are not the same, that artists (and by extension, thinkers) suffer because they prefer beauty, whereas happiness generally comes from social factors: friends, marriage, a satisfying job, sufficient income so as not to worry, and being held in high esteem in the circles in which you travel. And in fact, it’s a reasonably good rule of thumb. Happiness (though perhaps not self-fulfillment) generally comes from links with other people. Or maybe with animals as well: pets can make us happy too.

The overriding interest is in oneself, not in the means adopted. … Sandwiched between an overwhelming regard for oneself and an inability to control one's circumstances with the precision one seeks, we are looking for newer technologies of the self. New age beliefs may or may not be science but they certainly in technologies in that they seek to manipulate the world around us in order to give us outcomes we desire. … Santosh Desai is a leading ad professional.

Peter on 26.02.2008 at 17:52 (Reply)
From my observations, intelligent people often have a tendency to over analyse certain people, situations, etc. The ability to “switch off” and just enjoy the moment is a key to happiness in my opinion. This is completely different from ignorance btw.
John Wesley on 26.02.2008 at 18:04 (Reply)
I would agree with your point about over analysis, especially if you tend to over think potential problems and can’t appreciate positives.
Definitely different than ignorance, but I also think the point about ignorance helping people be happy is valid. Imagine, for example, someone who has no idea about the U.S. economic problems compared to someone who is constantly fretting about it.
etavitom on 26.02.2008 at 18:47 (Reply)
thanks for the interesting post! i think highly intelligent people are sometimes unhappy because they are more aware of stupidity and absurdity around them…. best, brad
Jacques on 02.03.2008 at 09:20 (Reply)
Also, they are more inclined to see ‘patterns’ – connecting events and realizing something similar happened before – because they tend to hide in reading and history – based on that, you can become rather good at predicting outcomes…
KM on 26.02.2008 at 20:17 (Reply)
I believe the interests of intelligent people cause problems for them as well. While many intelligent people may be interested in some of the same topics, it is difficult to find social activities associated with them. 

Loyalty binds people together.  Friendships, marriages, even nations are built on loyalty.  Try imagining a person who has no loyalty whatsoever to anything or anyone.   Such a person would be friendless, loveless, nationless.  She would feel no devotion to any higher cause or principle – like truth or justice.   … Earlier I said that loyalty unites and that’s a good thing.  But loyalty also divides. And that’s a bad thing.  For example, soldiers at war are driven to kill each other by their competing loyalties.  
From pure self-centered cost-benefit analysis, it can be hard to make sense of loyalty.   You might even call loyalty a form of irrationality.  But without loyalty (and trust) all kinds of relationships wouldn’t be possible.   So if loyalty is a form of irrationality, it may be a darned good thing that we are irrational in that way.    

Charles Fourier developed his idea that
the natural passions of man would, if properly channeled, result in social harmony. He compared gravitational attraction in the physical world to “passional attraction” among humans. Fourier’s calculus of the mechanism of the passions was an interactive system of three distributive passions, the cabalist (or intriguing) passion, the butterfly (or alternating) passion, and the composite (or enthusiastic) passion. Together, these ensured the gratification and equilibration of all other human passions and resulted in the formation of the “passionate series,” the foundation for Fourier’s ideal unit of society, the phalanx.

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