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Happiness

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Jul. 28th, 2006 | 10:04 am
mood: happyhappy

(This was written in the context of online games, and partially inspired by my dad's request for more philosophy)

As humans, we always want more (or less) of something. More money, more love, less pain, less stress. More levels, less deaths, more monsters, less looters.

But we also want happiness.

I believe that these are conflicting goals! The part of us that wants more and less DOES NOT lead us to happiness. It drives us to do things, but those things it drives us to do aren't the things that make us happy. Put another way, what we are driven to do is not what we ought to do if we want to be happy.

It's possible to want more and less of things and to be happy as well though.. and this can occur when we stop saying that there is something wrong with the way things are.

Normally, it goes like this: Something is wrong! I am level 20, and I should be level 30. I am unhappy, because I am not level 30. When I am level 30, I will be happy!

Then I reach level 30, and I am unhappy because I am not level 40. Then I reach level 40, and ....

But what if it was like this? I am level 20. Everything is perfect. I am happy at level 20, AND I want to be level 30. When I reach level 30, I will still be happy, AND I will want to reach level 40.

The difference is that in the first case, I am ALWAYS unhappy. In the second case, I am ALWAYS happy. It's totally unrelated to the levels that I have more of. It's all related to being happy with what I have, rather than thinking that I will be happy ONLY AFTER I have more.

Ok, that's my rant for today :) I would love to hear your opinions!

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Comments {7}

nothing new but worth a comment

from: anonymous
date: Aug. 3rd, 2006 11:21 pm (UTC)
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I use this mechanism to stimulate learning in my students.

I try to create the "I'm here I want to be there" feeling, and then offer the info that will allow the move to the new position and it seems to be absorbed much more easily.

Lemma: If one is always happy and satisfied, will one try to do nothing, learn nothing, never advance?

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btherl

Re: nothing new but worth a comment

from: btherl
date: Aug. 4th, 2006 12:18 am (UTC)
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Someone else asked me the same question. My answer is: If one is always happy and satisfied, then one is capable of anything. There is no need to choose to do nothing just because you are happy and satisfied.

My second answer is, if one is always happy and satisfied and doesn't need to do anything to stay that way, then there is no need to advance. The destination has been reached already. What humans call "advancement" isn't always good.

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Re: nothing new but worth a comment

from: anonymous
date: Aug. 4th, 2006 12:33 am (UTC)
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What if Nirvana or enlightenment is not your goal, but rather the stimulation of ever learning new things - the curiosity - the thrill of finding out things a la Lois Lane!

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btherl

Re: nothing new but worth a comment

from: btherl
date: Aug. 4th, 2006 12:45 am (UTC)
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Wouldn't you rather be happy and satisfied while you learn new things, rather than unhappy and unsatisfied?

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Re: nothing new but worth a comment

from: anonymous
date: Aug. 4th, 2006 01:58 am (UTC)
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Actually, you made up the "unhappy" premise in your first journal entry - you assumed that if you were one place and craving to be another you were necessarily "unhappy", whereas you might merely be excited and stimulated!

I think this has gone in a circle.

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btherl

Re: nothing new but worth a comment

from: btherl
date: Aug. 4th, 2006 02:51 am (UTC)
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That wasn't the intention of my words. I was intending to distinguish "Being unhappy and wanting something" and "Being unhappy and wanting something". I posted this somewhere else, and some other people also interpreted it how you interpreted. Perhaps I need to rewrite it.

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btherl

Re: nothing new but worth a comment

from: btherl
date: Aug. 4th, 2006 02:52 am (UTC)
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The purpose of this comment:

"It's possible to want more and less of things and to be happy as well though.. and this can occur when we stop saying that there is something wrong with the way things are."

Is to say that you can be happy and want more and less, which I think is what you are talking about.

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