Happiness
Old 03-20-2012, 09:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I thought the question of happiness would generate some good discussion so what do you guys think the key to happiness is? A big house, good job, car, spouse, a few kids? Travelling the world? Is it something simple? Is the key to happiness something personal, spiritual? This may be a bit personal, but how are you trying to achieve happiness?
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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it's different person to person. No single person is the same, meaning no single person gets the same pleasure from the same activities. So how can you define what makes the average human happy, when in this regard there is no average human? A person who gets pleasure in life working 80 hours a week making 200 k a year then taking 2 weeks off to somewhere exotic is extremely different with someone who is content with making 50k/week, working 40h/week, and going out with his friends or family most nights of the week.

we simply cannot say what makes the average human happy or rather what the key to happiness is.
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by pzabby View Post
it's different person to person. No single person is the same, meaning no single person gets the same pleasure from the same activities. So how can you define what makes the average human happy, when in this regard there is no average human? A person who gets pleasure in life working 80 hours a week making 200 k a year then taking 2 weeks off to somewhere exotic is extremely different with someone who is content with making 50k/week, working 40h/week, and going out with his friends or family most nights of the week.

we simply cannot say what makes the average human happy or rather what the key to happiness is.
I'd be content making 50k/week
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hugs. Real ones. May just be a few seconds of 'happy', but still.
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Old 03-20-2012, 01:01 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hugs. Real ones. May just be a few seconds of 'happy', but still.
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Old 03-20-2012, 01:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Old 03-20-2012, 01:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by pzabby View Post
it's different person to person. No single person is the same, meaning no single person gets the same pleasure from the same activities. So how can you define what makes the average human happy, when in this regard there is no average human? A person who gets pleasure in life working 80 hours a week making 200 k a year then taking 2 weeks off to somewhere exotic is extremely different with someone who is content with making 50k/week, working 40h/week, and going out with his friends or family most nights of the week.

we simply cannot say what makes the average human happy or rather what the key to happiness is.
I think part of the problem there is that you've identified happiness with pleasure. I think it is possible to have happiness in the absence of pleasure, particularly if we restrict pleasure to originating from certain activities.

I prefer to focus on the more ancient concept of fulfillment, which points us away from hedonistic pleasure and towards a more pluralist view of how to be happy in a more permanent state. Where feelings of pleasure modulate from moment to moment, fulfillment is a life-long pursuit, perhaps one that cannot even be fully appreciated or evaluated while you're still alive.

When I think of fulfillment, I often start with a line of thought common to Utilitarian ethics: It's better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied, and anyone who says otherwise has only ever been on one side of that dichotomy. Similarly, I think many would agree that an opium addict who has seen nothing but his bedside cannot really be "happy" or fulfilled. This is damaging to the view that pleasure is synonymous with happiness or fulfillment.

Beyond that, I don't know if I can offer anything really concrete. My primary pursuits are intelellectual, as I believe that sort of fulfillment is not the sort that can easily be taken away from you, except in neurodegenerative cases where your ability to appreciate the intellect is likewise diminished. I view this pursuit a bit more broadly than others, where I consider moral and social development to be equally important as a sort of "pure intellect."
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Old 03-20-2012, 01:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I failed to mention it explicitly, but it is implied: aesthetics, and the pursuit of aesthetics, is the most fruitless sort of pursuit because, aside from any subjective value judgements, it is also the least permanent of all fulfillment. If you find happiness in your own beauty (in the conventional, society-approved sense), you will surely be destraught for 2/3 of your life. If you find happiness in beautiful things, you will often find them beyond your reach, changing in character, and temporally contingent. You will chase one beauty to the next, never landing on any sense of permanent fulfillment which you can wake up with each morning.
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Old 03-20-2012, 01:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I think part of the problem there is that you've identified happiness with pleasure. I think it is possible to have happiness in the absence of pleasure, particularly if we restrict pleasure to originating from certain activities.

I prefer to focus on the more ancient concept of fulfillment, which points us away from hedonistic pleasure and towards a more pluralist view of how to be happy in a more permanent state. Where feelings of pleasure modulate from moment to moment, fulfillment is a life-long pursuit, perhaps one that cannot even be fully appreciated or evaluated while you're still alive.

When I think of fulfillment, I often start with a line of thought common to Utilitarian ethics: It's better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied, and anyone who says otherwise has only ever been on one side of that dichotomy. Similarly, I think many would agree that an opium addict who has seen nothing but his bedside cannot really be "happy" or fulfilled. This is damaging to the view that pleasure is synonymous with happiness or fulfillment.

Beyond that, I don't know if I can offer anything really concrete. My primary pursuits are intelellectual, as I believe that sort of fulfillment is not the sort that can easily be taken away from you, except in neurodegenerative cases where your ability to appreciate the intellect is likewise diminished. I view this pursuit a bit more broadly than others, where I consider moral and social development to be equally important as a sort of "pure intellect."
That is what I was going for when I started the thread. The key to happiness being permanent, a fulfillment, rather than day-to-day pleasures that elevate your temporary mood.

My longterm goals which I hope will equal fulfillment when I am older include; being married, having a kid, having lifelong friends, travelling as much as possible, not being obsessed with work, living somewhere that I have access to outdoor activities.
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Old 03-20-2012, 01:59 PM   #11 (permalink)
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That is what I was going for when I started the thread. The key to happiness being permanent, a fulfillment, rather than day-to-day pleasures that elevate your temporary mood.

My longterm goals which I hope will equal fulfillment when I am older include; being married, having a kid, having lifelong friends, travelling as much as possible, not being obsessed with work, living somewhere that I have access to outdoor activities.
those are all day to day pleasures.

I disagree with Lig in one point.

happiness i believe is a result of a combination of pleasures, but not goals. If one were to search throughout their lives for happiness, aim to reach a goal, etc, you would never reach it. Imo goals can never be reached, because goals are never set in stone or permanent. What makes an individual happy varies from year to year, month to month, day to day, second to second.

fulfillment can never be reached in one's life simply because humans as a species always feel as if nothing is ever enough. All people, at death, regret their lives, in one way or another, but ultimately because they believe they could have done so much more, which in some cases is true, and in others untrue.

to make one truly happy is to fulfill momentary pleasures, and have a lack of goal, looking forward, because looking forward will always allow us to skip by the present, as does looking in the past.

Ceaser Milan, a dog "expert" (however much a person can be) once said that the difference between dogs and humans is that at death no dog is ever sad. They accept death with ease, because throughout their life they have lived in the present, and made the most out of every possible situation. I don't generally agree with Ceaser and his tactics (i've had a dog, and trained him well, and that's not easy to do with a jack russel) but this saying is incredibly true.
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Old 03-20-2012, 02:11 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pzabby View Post
those are all day to day pleasures.

I disagree with Lig in one point.

happiness i believe is a result of a combination of pleasures, but not goals. If one were to search throughout their lives for happiness, aim to reach a goal, etc, you would never reach it. Imo goals can never be reached, because goals are never set in stone or permanent. What makes an individual happy varies from year to year, month to month, day to day, second to second.

fulfillment can never be reached in one's life simply because humans as a species always feel as if nothing is ever enough. All people, at death, regret their lives, in one way or another, but ultimately because they believe they could have done so much more, which in some cases is true, and in others untrue.

to make one truly happy is to fulfill momentary pleasures, and have a lack of goal, looking forward, because looking forward will always allow us to skip by the present, as does looking in the past.
Ceaser Milan, a dog "expert" (however much a person can be) once said that the difference between dogs and humans is that at death no dog is ever sad. They accept death with ease, because throughout their life they have lived in the present, and made the most out of every possible situation. I don't generally agree with Ceaser and his tactics (i've had a dog, and trained him well, and that's not easy to do with a jack russel) but this saying is incredibly true.
How do you continually fulfill momentary pleasures? In my experience, that leads to a whole lot of ups and downs. With lifelong fullfilment I believe you can live your life always slightly on the up. Fullfilment comes from reaching goals. I do agree with living in the present though, and trying to appreciate your surroundings on a day-to-day basis to find some kind of peace of mind.
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Old 03-20-2012, 04:00 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pzabby View Post
those are all day to day pleasures.

I disagree with Lig in one point.

happiness i believe is a result of a combination of pleasures, but not goals. If one were to search throughout their lives for happiness, aim to reach a goal, etc, you would never reach it. Imo goals can never be reached, because goals are never set in stone or permanent. What makes an individual happy varies from year to year, month to month, day to day, second to second.

fulfillment can never be reached in one's life simply because humans as a species always feel as if nothing is ever enough. All people, at death, regret their lives, in one way or another, but ultimately because they believe they could have done so much more, which in some cases is true, and in others untrue.

to make one truly happy is to fulfill momentary pleasures, and have a lack of goal, looking forward, because looking forward will always allow us to skip by the present, as does looking in the past.

Ceaser Milan, a dog "expert" (however much a person can be) once said that the difference between dogs and humans is that at death no dog is ever sad. They accept death with ease, because throughout their life they have lived in the present, and made the most out of every possible situation. I don't generally agree with Ceaser and his tactics (i've had a dog, and trained him well, and that's not easy to do with a jack russel) but this saying is incredibly true.
Cesar's a dink. Dogs don't understand the concept of death, no matter what people might say. They don't possess the ability to reflect on their lives. There's more to it than that, but I'm exhausted.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:07 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:16 PM   #15 (permalink)
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"Happiness is not a goal, it is a by-product." - Eleanor Roosevelt
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