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[P]
Happiness is a mental illness

By gndn in Op-Ed
Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 06:34:03 AM EST
Tags: (all tags)

Life consists of suffering, followed by death. It is illogical to expect any creature in those circumstances to find anything but the most fleeting sense of pleasure. Why then is it possible for humans to feel a sustained sense of happiness? At least one expert has suggested that happiness itself is a form of mental illness, one which allows us to suppress the despair and misery which surrounds us and allows us to instead live inside a self-induced delusional cocoon, in which we actively deny the harrowing realities of life and allow ourselves to believe that our lives are in fact more meaningful and fulfilling (and less painful) than in fact they are.


"There are no atheists in foxholes"

This familiar expression informs us that when in situations of peril or imminent doom, human nature forces us to turn to god(s) for help, due to the realization that we are at times unable to help ourselves. I propose that life itself is such a situation - we are all in constant, mortal danger. At any moment, any one of us could drop down dead where we stand, either by natural causes (heart attack, stroke, etc), or unnatural causes (hit by crashing plane, shot by crazed gunman, etc). If one accepts the existence of god(s), then one can console one's self with the knowledge that life will continue on after the death of one's body. However, given the complete absence of empirical evidence to support the existence of an afterlife, can we scientifically claim that such consolation is valid, or must we inexorably arrive at the conclusion that it is, in fact, delusional?

Delusions of immortality and divine protection are useful for getting through short-term, disastrous scenarios (by giving one the confidence that one needs to overcome the immediate obstacles in one's path), but they can easily become a crutch on which one finds one's self totally dependent if used in a general sense. Such delusions can also easily result in overconfidence, leading to dangerous, reckless, or even self-destructive behaviour.

Having established that such self-delusions can be dangerous, it is tempting to suggest that the delusion should be discouraged or stripped away, but what effect would that have on those who have come to rely on the delusion? The sudden destruction of the foundation of one's confidence - real or imagined - could have devastating effects on one's ability to deal with hardship. We now see that the delusion may in fact be necessary; the lesser of two evils.

So what has this all got to do with happiness? I submit that happiness is a defence mechanism, one which allows us to selectively ignore certain negative aspects of one's life while simultaneously mentally augmenting the positive aspects. This warped and biased perspective then allows us to believe that all is well, and the resulting mental state (i.e. happiness) is pleasurable enough to allow us to endure what might otherwise be unendurable.

For example, meet Bob - Bob is a middle-aged man, married, two children, owns his own home, and is reasonably successful in his chosen field. Bob is happy. Bob's happiness is derived from his reasonably successful marriage and his reasonably successful career. Bob chooses not to think about the possibility that his young son could be hit by a car every time he walks home from school, or that his high school-aged young daughter could be raped each time she goes to a party. Bob is aware of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, alzheimer's, and a whole host of other medical ailments but chooses not to dwell on the very real possibility that he or his wife could be diagnosed with one or more such ailments at virtually any time. Bob also knows of such things as housefires, home invasions, muggings, random shootings, floods, earthquakes, and meteors, but doesn't concern himself very much with any of them. Finally, Bob is aware that he is a living creature, and that like all living creatures, he will inevitably die, as will his wife and children. At some level, Bob is aware that everything he owns is temporary, and that everyone he knows will die, and that nothing he can say or do will ever change that.

And yet, Bob is happy.

So where does Bob's happiness come from? Objectively, we see that Bob's level of suffering is at a fairly low point, but certainly we realize that this is a temporary condition. Bob's life has no objective meaning, and even if it did, that meaning would certainly cease when he dies. Bob's selective perception allows him to focus on the most pleasant and positive aspects of his life, while ignoring certain other truths. This bias stems from a disorder; an impairment of judgement which, although generally beneficial, is nonetheless a cognitive malfunction. Bob is capable of seeing things the way they are, but instead chooses to see things the way he wishes they were. His daughter is a sweet little princess, his son is a star athlete, his wife is loving and devoted. All of them will live happily ever after.

Bob's delusion may very well leave him ill-prepared to deal with unexpected calamity.

To summarize - that which we call "happiness" is really your brain's way of keeping you from going completely insane from the sheer horror and despair of the cruel and uncaring world in which we live.

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Poll
Happiness is a mental illness?
o True - happiness is illogical and delusional 14%
o True - delusional, perhaps, but harmlessly so 16%
o False - I say this because I truly believe happiness is logical 27%
o False - I say this because I fear the implications of answering "true" 1%
o Don't know/refuse to answer - I don't understand and/or accept the premise of the quesion, and/or I think you're an idiot for asking it 40%

Votes: 55
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o one expert
o mental illness
o There are no atheists in foxholes
o behaviour
o Also by gndn


Display: Sort:
Happiness is a mental illness | 144 comments (132 topical, 12 editorial, 4 hidden)
Don't see the problem (2.50 / 2) (#1)
by khallow on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 03:41:27 PM EST

If tragedy happens to Bob, then he'll go through some soul-searching and then get back to the game of Life. It's very efficient.

Stating the obvious since 1969.

Not necessarily a "problem" (none / 0) (#2)
by gndn on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 03:43:25 PM EST

merely a (perhaps cynical) observation. I don't think that ripping Bob's security blanket away would be a good "solution" to this "problem".

[ Parent ]
original paper "tongue in cheek" (none / 1) (#3)
by khallow on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 04:00:51 PM EST

Glancing around, it appears that the paper was tongue in cheek. I'm not clear what the point was intended to be, but a likely possibility is to note that the definition of "psychiatric disorder" (not mental illness) was subjectively dependent on whether the mental state was considered good or bad. Apparently, happiness achieves the criteria of whatever the authors considered to be psychiatric disorders aside from being a mostly desirable state to be in. The authors of the paper above deliberately ignore whether happiness is "good" or "bad" since that is an "ethics" judgement rather than a "scientific" one.

Stating the obvious since 1969.

The point (2.50 / 2) (#4)
by gndn on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 04:19:07 PM EST

is that the only way to achieve and maintain this state we know as "happiness" is to willfully deceive one's self. If deliberate and sustained self-deception is not a disorder, then what is?

[ Parent ]
huh (none / 0) (#35)
by khallow on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 09:30:05 PM EST

I don't see that the study (at least from the abstract) backs your assertion of self-deception. They propose it is abnormal but not that it is self-deceptive.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

After realising the Horror (2.87 / 8) (#5)
by Aneurin on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 04:19:27 PM EST

embracing insanity is the only possible aspect of Life which can be considered truly sane.

Don't forget to dance, though.
---
Just think: the entire Internet, running on jazz. -Canthros

Despite the high cost of living it remains popular (2.92 / 13) (#6)
by xC0000005 on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 05:05:22 PM EST

Let us examine our alternatives:
a. Grasp how futile life is, how the odds are stacked against us, and basically we're all going to die and then register a bunch of accounts at a web bbs and post meaningless diaries.
OR
b. Grasp how life generally sucks, let go of the bits you can't change, and make what remains as good as you can.

If you continue to lower your standards they'll eventually be met by whatever conditions you are in. Consider the Iraqis, where a good day consists of one where you got to go outside and only got shot a little. A bad day is counted by the number of shrapnel fragments. Because they live in a wasteland full of religous nut jobs with heavy weaponry, making their day "good" doesn't take much.

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't

sloppy comparison (none / 0) (#74)
by tetsuwan on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 01:38:00 PM EST

One major thing about happiness, and what sociologists see when they compare the situation today with that of the sixties, is that expectations on the future have significant impact on perceived happiness. Youth depression wasn't an issue when society welcomed every abled-bodied man or woman with open arms and good jobs. Things rapidly got better, and even though people weren't terribly rich they could see their lifes becoming easier and richer in the future. Today, the expectations on people are typically greater, it's harder to find work even with a university degree (well in Europe).

In Iraq, it's difficult to be happy. Even if your closest family haven't seen violence yet, the future looks gloomy and nothing is to be counted on.

Similarly, even though the immigration statistics suggest otherwise, coming to Sweden as a refugee can be horrible. You get housing and a small alloance, but the decision on whether you gget asylum or not can take two years. In the mwan time, it's almost impossible to do anything useful in this country you don't know. There was a problem when hundereds of children in the most desperate families succumed to total apathy, refusing to eat, talk or do anything but sleep. They had to be taken to a hospital and forced fed. This is what removing hope can do to a human being.

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

Well, I might be heartlesss, but (none / 0) (#81)
by xC0000005 on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 03:03:23 PM EST

I think Youth (as in teen, as in "we riot for jobs") depression has more to do with expectations of entitlement than opportunity for advancement, at least in the US. People for some reason have this idea that just because person X has it a particular way, they should be able to have it that way too. It's easier to blame someone else for the lack of an opportunity they like than to admit that the opportunities are present but require uncomfortable, even difficult change. I'm not sure the expectations on people are higher, I thing that people's expectations are higher, and adjustment's a bitch. "You mean I can't have a rolex and a SUV with no high school education? I'm going to set something on fire." I am all for opportunity. The question is "what is the standard of opportunity a society should set?" We need to be able to say "It's reasonable to expect to be able to get a job. It's unreasonable to expect that with your skills you can get a job that pays 6 figures."

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't
[ Parent ]
Ah well (none / 0) (#83)
by tetsuwan on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 04:02:13 PM EST

I'm talking about kids who cut and kill themselves, the rioters usually adapt pretty well. Maybe it's this perfection thing? If you can't be perfect, let's just forget about it altogether.

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

Cutting (none / 0) (#85)
by xC0000005 on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 04:11:41 PM EST

usually reflects a desire to create physical pain that matches the emotional pain. I was of the understanding that perfectionism in kids leads to depression usually. Then again I'm no expert in children's mental ailments. Perhaps hope would prevent the depression. I'm not sure it would help with the kids who cut. Your case of the self starving children is fascinating - read about it at lunch from a number of sources, all biased one way or the other. It does seem to reflect an unwillingness to continue to exist in the state they were in (even though that state didn't seem bad compared to what it could have been).

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't
[ Parent ]
It's been extensively debated here (none / 0) (#89)
by tetsuwan on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 05:00:37 PM EST

But with little objective facts gathered. I suspect that the people researching it came in with the conclusions thought out a priori. Some people are in the "they are faking it"-camp, other in "it's a natural reaction to our absurd system"-camp. My guess a priori is that it's the extreme variant of a child crying when the parents argue. All the feelings of helplessness and desperation are taken in by the child who is too young and dependent to handle it. The environment is also unchanging enough for these feelings to dominate everything else over time.

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

What IS the situation for these people? (none / 0) (#91)
by xC0000005 on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 06:00:46 PM EST

I gather that they are housed and fed, but little beyond that. All the articles I've dug up on google are focused on how immigration should be changed or how tragic the starving children are. I want to know if they were held in prison cells or plywood boxes. While the parent article is fairly worthless, I had not read about the situation you mentioned, so I find it fascinating. And sad.

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't
[ Parent ]
They are not in prison (none / 0) (#106)
by tetsuwan on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 01:35:59 AM EST

They have housing and food. Materially, they have an OK situation. They are not harassed by the police or anything like that. It's just that the asylum process can be drawn out over several years. A verdict can take one year to get and then it's possible to make an appeal. In the mean time, they are basically in storage, basically the most productive thing they can to is their own laundry.

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

classic teenaged nihilism (2.41 / 12) (#7)
by circletimessquare on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 05:28:55 PM EST

the essay above is actually psychologically common thoughts for a teenager though. developmentally, a teenager is attempting to sever his social bonds to family and society and become mobile. therefore, all of his thoughts are acid as to meaning and purpose, as he or she is attempting to forge his or her own meaning and purpose, apart from others around him

only later, when you settle down somewhere new, which, in today's terms, since we're not troops of monkeys in trees anymore, might simply be a different socioeconomic context in the same geographic area, only then does meaning and purpose begin to take root in your mind

you have nothing to fend for now of your own. classic teenaged socioeconomic situation. but you will have something to fend for of your own, and not talking socioeconomic status, cars and houses, i'm talking simple life experience, that alone is something you will eventually come to want to defend. as a teenager, you have little now of your own

but in the future, life is full of meaning, as your very identity, what you identify as yourself, becomes wrapped up in your life experiences. then life has meaning, and you find happiness in the successful defense of "you"


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Bravo, Sherlock (2.83 / 6) (#8)
by gndn on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 05:35:34 PM EST

I'm in my thirties, married, and ten years into a reasonably successful career. If anything, I'm closer to "Bob" than I am to a teenager.

Is it so hard for you to conceive that someone with "life experience" (as you put it) could look at his own life and find nothing meaningful or worth fending for? Is my life bleaker than most, or am I simply less delusional than those around me?



[ Parent ]
YHBT, LOL (2.33 / 6) (#12)
by raduga on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 05:52:36 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Bob (2.50 / 10) (#16)
by loteck on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 06:14:56 PM EST

If anything, I'm closer to "Bob" than I am to a teenager.

physically, situationally, sure. mentally, you're obviously closer to cts's teenager if this is the first time these thoughts have occured to you.

you obviously think its bullshit anyway. if you don't, why write it up? writing, like life, is futile. when you figured all this shit out, why didn't you murder your family and finish yourself off?

because you know nihilism in this form is kids stuff. your reasoning is oversimplified, uninteresting trash. your writing aint all that special, either.

i suggest you pull it, its an embarassing admission of your lack of philisophical insight and, ultimately, your incredibly low IQ.
--
"You're in tune to the musical sound of loteck hi-fi, the musical sound that moves right round. Keep on moving ya'll." -Mylakovich
"WHAT AN ETERNAL MOBIUS STRIP OF FELLATIATIC BANALITY THIS IS." -Harry B Otch

[ Parent ]

Judging by your language... (none / 1) (#24)
by joto on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 06:59:47 PM EST

I can see that you are not someone I immediately would accuse of suffering from the psychiatric disorder known as happiness. Try it, you might even find yourself enjoying it!

[ Parent ]
methinks the lady doth protest too much nt (1.50 / 4) (#31)
by circletimessquare on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 08:14:25 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
have you actually read Hamlet (1.00 / 2) (#37)
by white light on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 09:38:16 PM EST

and are dyslectic?


..do you really want to help foster this type of laziness?
[ Parent ]
no, i'm dislyctic nt (2.50 / 2) (#38)
by circletimessquare on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 10:18:30 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
dislactic? (1.00 / 2) (#41)
by white light on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 10:44:37 PM EST




..do you really want to help foster this type of laziness?
[ Parent ]
dispeptic nt (3.00 / 5) (#44)
by circletimessquare on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 11:11:51 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Deluded moron. (2.00 / 3) (#33)
by V on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 08:26:33 PM EST

I think I'm starting to realize the root of my dislike of your kind.

All of you are the beginning of the end. Get comfortable, have something to defend, "settle down", "our rights", defend freedom. Might as well go back to the trees.

Even this teenager nihilist has more chance of transcending humankind that all of you who celebrate and are happy to be humans instead of being repulsed by such a lowly state.

Morons like you will inherit the earth. Keep it, the rest of us will go to the stars.

V.
---
What my fans are saying:
"That, and the fact that V is a total, utter scumbag." VZAMaZ.
"well look up little troll" cts.
"I think you're a worthless little cuntmonkey but you made me lol, so I sigged you." re
"goodness gracious you're an idiot" mariahkillschickens
[ Parent ]

problem mate (2.66 / 6) (#39)
by circletimessquare on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 10:19:45 PM EST

all i described was the psychological journey of every human being who ever lived, including yourself

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
IGTT .0000000001/10 (2.69 / 13) (#9)
by balsamic vinigga on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 05:36:12 PM EST

anybody with half a braincell knows that happiness and positive emotions are adaptive by nature not maladaptive which refutes both arguments that happiness is a mental disorder or a defense mechanism.

It infact allows us to adapt: play, excersize, and be social which allow us to be fruitful and multiply.

---
Please help fund a Filipino Horror Movie. It's been in limbo since 2007 due to lack of funding. Please donate today!

IGTP 6.022x10^23/10 (2.50 / 6) (#11)
by raduga on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 05:50:55 PM EST



[ Parent ]
That does not refute (none / 0) (#13)
by gndn on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 05:53:49 PM EST

that it can be a defence mechanism. Nor does it necessarily refute that happiness could be considered a disorder, depending on one's exact definition of "disorder". The word has a negative connotation, of course, but I submit that even a beneficial disorder is still a disorder. Certain types of phobias are recognized by unrealistically pessimistic expectations (social phobia, for one). If that constitutes a disorder, then what of a person who has unrealistically optimistic expectations?

[ Parent ]
you said mental illness (none / 0) (#14)
by loteck on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 06:04:13 PM EST

if you meant disorder, why did you say it in the title?

-1
--
"You're in tune to the musical sound of loteck hi-fi, the musical sound that moves right round. Keep on moving ya'll." -Mylakovich
"WHAT AN ETERNAL MOBIUS STRIP OF FELLATIATIC BANALITY THIS IS." -Harry B Otch

[ Parent ]

*didnt. (none / 0) (#15)
by loteck on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 06:05:29 PM EST


--
"You're in tune to the musical sound of loteck hi-fi, the musical sound that moves right round. Keep on moving ya'll." -Mylakovich
"WHAT AN ETERNAL MOBIUS STRIP OF FELLATIATIC BANALITY THIS IS." -Harry B Otch

[ Parent ]
if you think being irrational is a disorder (2.16 / 6) (#17)
by balsamic vinigga on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 06:19:51 PM EST

you must be like autistic or smoething.  we're capable of thinking rationally (with much effort invested in learning and practicing this skill) but we're innately emotional irrational beings.

So to make irrationality a basis for a disorder in the human mind then you'd be very hard fucking pressed to find any order.

And thinking too much all the time isn't innately human which is another false premise.  Sure if we occupied most of our time searching for meaning and joy in this depressing wourld we'd probably come up short...  but that's not what people do to be happy. To be happy they spend there time entertaining and helping themselves and others.. so the notion that our thinking needs to be broad at all time is another false premise..  we're capable by habit and design to be completely absorbed in this narrow slice of time and space.

---
Please help fund a Filipino Horror Movie. It's been in limbo since 2007 due to lack of funding. Please donate today!
[ Parent ]

In an ideal world... (none / 1) (#54)
by gndn on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 04:06:00 AM EST

being irrational is a disorder. Or it would be, if this were an ideal world. Elsewhere you accused me of not giving people enough credit, but perhaps I have the opposite problem - expecting reason and logic from a pack of terrified, semi-evolved monkeys.
we're capable by habit and design to be completely absorbed in this narrow slice of time and space.

Yet we are unique in being the only species on Earth (we think) that can step back and take a look at the larger picture - the entire world, and our role in it. Is this a gift or a curse? Perhaps we'd be better off living in a "narrow slice of time and space" as you put it - eat, sleep, and mate. Que sera sera. But by deliberately not using the gift (or curse) that we have been given, we are once again back to the self-delusion mentioned earlier, are we not? At the very least we're ignoring certain unpleasant facts, such as the futility of our existence here.



[ Parent ]
It's not an ideal world. (none / 1) (#64)
by khallow on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 08:49:30 AM EST

Also, there's plenty of confusion over what "rational" means. For example, you think that sparing though for the "futility of our existence here" is somehow rational. Ie, waste time on a pointless exercise is "rational". No, it isn't.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

please to be explaining (1.00 / 2) (#69)
by balsamic vinigga on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 10:47:58 AM EST

how knowledge of future calamity and suffering necessitates present misery..  You repeatedly assert this yet don't connect the dots.  You assert taht if i'm happy i must be deluded into no aknowledging that I will suffer greatly in the future.  Yet I do aknowledge this..  Then you think that's because i'm irrationial? Well if being rational means i'll be miserable now then how the fuck is that the ideal? the ideal is misery?  You're just plain incoherent now.

Human history is full of humans who have knowlingly sacrificed their lives/safety to explore new and wonderful things, or to live a heroic life..  That's a metaphore for how the ends justify the means to bring us present joy.

---
Please help fund a Filipino Horror Movie. It's been in limbo since 2007 due to lack of funding. Please donate today!
[ Parent ]

Having the time to stop and think (2.00 / 2) (#79)
by mrogers on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 02:56:12 PM EST

is a rare and recent luxury, and one that might not be around forever. If people with too much time on their hands become unhappy and have fewer children, the people who pass on their genes will either be
  1. those living in unstable societies with no time to worry about the big picture
  2. those who are too stupid to understand the big picture
  3. those who would rather give up rationality than happiness
In other words, we should expect to see outbreaks of war, stupidity and religion whenever life becomes comfortable enough to affect the birth rate.

[ Parent ]
Welcome to the last 100 years (none / 0) (#80)
by gndn on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 02:59:36 PM EST

Nice of you to catch up.

[ Parent ]
Thanks for proving my point [nt] (none / 0) (#93)
by mrogers on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 07:40:46 PM EST



[ Parent ]
IAWTP % (none / 1) (#95)
by hesk on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 07:45:42 PM EST


--
Sticking to the rules doesn't improve your safety, relying on the rules is
[
Parent ]

I HAD DELUSIONS OF CONTROL ONCE (2.50 / 4) (#10)
by Loltrand Lollell on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 05:49:33 PM EST



You wanna get a cup of coffee sometime? (2.60 / 5) (#18)
by ZombieJulianTaylor on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 06:22:36 PM EST

Oh wait, that place was bombed yesterday. +1 FP anyway.

you don't give people enough credit (2.36 / 11) (#21)
by balsamic vinigga on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 06:37:18 PM EST

I'm happy i'll die. Perpetual life would get boring. Life is meaningful because it's sacred and fleeting. Hope wouldn't be as beautiful or inspirational if it was the status quo.

---
Please help fund a Filipino Horror Movie. It's been in limbo since 2007 due to lack of funding. Please donate today!
I'm happy you'll die too. /nt (3.00 / 5) (#22)
by Starbuck on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 06:40:30 PM EST



[ Parent ]
I agree (2.80 / 10) (#23)
by livus on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 06:51:47 PM EST

I'm happy I'll die too.

I also enjoy getting older - who needs reincarnation when even in this one body we experience massive changes in how we look, think, act, feel, perceive, like and dislike.  And then there's extra cool shit like cell change and neurogenesis. And this is just us, there's also everything else in the world.

The whole thing is fucking awesome.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

need more dupes (none / 1) (#30)
by raduga on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 07:57:24 PM EST

my only regret is that I have but one (3) to give livus.

mind you, the traditional buddhist concept of "rebirth" is really, not that far off.
Reincarnation (e.g. die and come back as a cow, lol)
is only one of innumerable delusions, that miss this point:
that we are constantly, in every moment, dying, changing, living, fucking, creating.
Some may argue that you keep on doing this shit forever, others ---> zomfg GAME OVER
but wtf cares?

Living is awesome. <NT>

[ Parent ]

I don't (2.66 / 3) (#62)
by khallow on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 07:49:52 AM EST

Don't get me wrong. Having death as a final way out is necessary, but there's no way that 70 or so years as Homo Sapiens even remotely scratches the surface of living and experience. Growing old? That is a minor change. And death doesn't look like much of a value-add, experience-wise.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Huh (2.81 / 11) (#25)
by livus on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 07:08:27 PM EST

I thought this was going to be about serotonin levels or something - in fact, I thought your premise was possibly going to be that since people with depression are seen as suffering from an illness, people who are usually happier than average should also be seen as abnormal or ill.

Instead your whole premise is that illogic = illness. You also rely on the premise that "meaning" or "purpose" = reason for happiness.

Both of these premises need to be supported in your argument, in order for it to make any logical sense - as far as I'm concerned, they're certainly not given.

 

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

Mania is a well-known symptom of mental illness (2.55 / 9) (#26)
by MichaelCrawford on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 07:13:47 PM EST

... and in its less-severe form known as hypomania, is often mistaken for happiness. In its severe form it is an uncontrollably euphoric state.

One way to distinguish mania from true happiness is to judge whether it's appropriate; for example, manic people are known to laugh at funerals.

Interestingly, it can be both prevented and treated with most of the same medicines that treat epilepsy. I don't know whether it's understood yet why this is the case.

It's immediate cause is an excess of neurotransmitters in one's neural synapses.


Looking for some free songs?


mechanisms are understood in a sense (3.00 / 4) (#87)
by Corey Haim on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 04:47:43 PM EST

First section here.

By "understood", I mean the usual pharmaceutical understanding of psych drugs: they found some measurable variables correlated with the condition, they tinkered with those variables and saw what happened. The variables are probably peripheral effects of the condition, or involved in some stage, with the drugs working by negative feedback of some sort. So they understand the mechanism by which their drugs calm the rapid neuronal firing - but not whether that rapid neuronal firing is a cause, an effect, or something in between in a more complex system.

The rapid firing will be in different parts of the brain (epilepsy vs. bip-dep), will be for different reasons, will have a different relation to what else is going on in those parts - that doesn't matter, they just flood the whole brain with something that calms it by the mechanisms described in the link. Rapid firing is most probably involved in other aspects of brain functioning - we don't know and it doesn't really matter, because those drugs are all we've got at this stage, and they seem to work relatively well.

In Europe, it's illegal for the drug companies to claim that seratonin imbalances cause unipolar depression, because their only backing for this claim is their discovery that fiddling with seratonin leads to a change in symptoms. The name escapes me, but there's a neuroscientist doing fMRI scans on depressives and is claiming that there are numerous, functionally unrelated conditions which we group under the umbrella term "depression". It illustrates how virtually all of our knowledge of mental illness is based on giving labels to statistically clustered symptoms, because we simply don't have sophisticated enough knowledge of brain functioning to be able to describe it in those terms. So we fiddle with neurotransmitters in the meantime.

So basically, what Tom Cruise said.

I mean in that interview.

Not what he said in Top Gun.

Although that was basically true also.

[ Parent ]

I don't know about you (none / 0) (#125)
by Stevenofthemolepeople on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 12:32:24 PM EST

But I feel the need.
The need- for speed.


[ Parent ]
So your parents took your car keys (2.64 / 14) (#27)
by GhostOfTiber on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 07:41:24 PM EST

and grounded you again, huh?

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne

Worth discussion, but your reasoning is flawed. (2.50 / 6) (#34)
by yuo on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 08:57:22 PM EST

As Socrates said, "Nothing can harm a good man, either in life or after death."

If life is without meaning, as you say, then it really doesn't matter if we are happy or unhappy, and in those circumstances, wouldn't it be illogical to choose to be unhappy?

I wish I had thought of pants pants pants pants pants pants pants pants.

Really? (2.50 / 2) (#40)
by Aneurin on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 10:37:14 PM EST

Imagine your life is spent being chained to a rough steel floor while being anally impaled with a ten inch spiked dildo with a mould of ruston's head at the top; breeching your innermost cavities simply because you happen to be from the wrong village.

Does that matter?
---
Just think: the entire Internet, running on jazz. -Canthros

[ Parent ]

lol (2.00 / 2) (#46)
by khallow on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 12:37:46 AM EST

No it doesn't matter to the argument at hand.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Come on (none / 1) (#47)
by Aneurin on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 01:10:44 AM EST

If life is without meaning, as you say, then it really doesn't matter if we are happy or unhappy

I find that hard to accept given the situation.

Are we worth anything?
---
Just think: the entire Internet, running on jazz. -Canthros

[ Parent ]

given what situation? (2.50 / 2) (#61)
by khallow on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 07:32:53 AM EST

You're talking about spiked dildos and child molesting clowns. The slightly more grownups are talking about this happiness thing and whether it is a mental illness. I don't think we're on the same frequency here.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Shifting Frequency For Your Satisfaction (none / 1) (#77)
by Aneurin on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 02:44:51 PM EST

yuo appears to have stated Pascal's Wager in terms of happiness.

If life has no meaning -- that we simply live for an unspecified time and die -- then happiness and sadness are simply products of delusion and excessive amounts of either are therefore disorders. To choose to continue to live would be illogical given this, since purposelessness negates any possible grounding for sentiment.

However, you can create a personal meaning for life (it still being a delusion) and in that circumstance, it certainly would be illogical to choose to be unhappy.

However, if you really were to continue to choose to be happy given the spiked sodomy situation, something that is akin to much of the suffering on this planet, then that surely would be considered insane.

Choice doesn't seem to be a factor in the majority of expressions of happiness and sadness since a multitude of situations can cause the emergence of either without any cognitive control on the part of the individual. This is particularly notable given genetic predisposition of 'mood disorders' and other emotional liability functions.

In the vast majority of cases, emotions are temporal and serve necessary evolutionary functions and all that survival blather. Only when the temporal control mechanism fails does it become disorderly behaviour.

So yes, extreme happiness is a mental illness, and we call it heroin addiction.
---
Just think: the entire Internet, running on jazz. -Canthros

[ Parent ]

Not Pascal's Wager (2.00 / 2) (#98)
by yuo on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 08:22:17 PM EST

In a wager, you make a sacrifice now for a possible reward later. Whereas sacrifice is a means to an end, happiness is an end in itself. Furthermore, happiness cannot be a delusion because it has no external manifestation.

I understand your confusion though, since most people don't understand ethics or psychology (and neither do I, for that matter).

Your argument is kind of meandering, but it seems to focus on the premise that one cannot be happy while being severely tortured, especially if the whole of the tortured person's life is rendered meaningless, unless that happiness is insane. However, this is at the least an assumption, and at the most a case of abnormally applied ethics.

If you'll indulge me, since you've chosen an extreme case (presumably you're an engineer-type), I'll push to extremes as well. An average person in that situation will doubtless be broken, but what is the best philosophy for that person? In other words, what would the most virtuous man do? He would surely be looking forward to the time that the torture ends, even in death. He now has a real concrete hope, and perhaps even a definite purpose: to end the pain. Unhappiness in this situation is no more beneficial than in any other situation.

I wish I had thought of pants pants pants pants pants pants pants pants.
[ Parent ]

Meandering ==> Alcohol :) (none / 1) (#99)
by Aneurin on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 08:54:35 PM EST

Happiness cannot be an end in itself as it is a temporary experience and furthermore, a moving target. One doesn't suddenly find happiness and exist in that state until death.

Given that no agent can possess all the facts and know all divergent possibilities, a delusion it must be in the exact same sense that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy treats negativity as such. Both exist for a reason, and as such are not an end.

A virtuous man would find acceptance knowing that situations and personal transgressions are often beyond the individual's ability to alter. He would find no joy in living and only consolation in dying. At this point, happiness and unhappiness have simply served their purpose for that end.

He now has a real concrete hope, and perhaps even a definite purpose: to end the pain.

Congratulations, yuo know the Meaning of Life. :-)

---
Just think: the entire Internet, running on jazz. -Canthros

[ Parent ]

on topic at last , we are on topic at last (none / 1) (#101)
by khallow on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:02:32 PM EST

A virtuous man would find acceptance knowing that situations and personal transgressions are often beyond the individual's ability to alter. He would find no joy in living and only consolation in dying. At this point, happiness and unhappiness have simply served their purpose for that end.

Why? This is really the problem with your argument. Ie, because there are things (some which are bad) we can't control, for some reason, we aren't supposed to be happy. But you give no reason why this should happen. Why should someone feel no joy in living just because they will have some bad things happen to them or because of mistakes they made? It doesn't make sense logically. The relative powerlessness doesn't from a rational perspective preclude happiness.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Hmmm (none / 1) (#102)
by Aneurin on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 11:33:04 PM EST

There is a distinction between happiness to be alive for the sake of living (baseline), and happiness given a temporal situation of benefit.

Happiness as a default state is irrational and I'd gambit impossible, although commonly -- and I believe misguidedly -- desired.

The desire to reduce pain, however, is nominal. It would appear that happiness is a required counterbalance to the inverse, so far as to deliminate a baseline state of situational acceptance; that is, mediating a desire for no pain. Transient emotional states are merely indicators to that end.

Perhaps terms need to be more clearly defined here, although I'm off to bed (lulz 4.30am)...
---
Just think: the entire Internet, running on jazz. -Canthros

[ Parent ]

Happiness and Delusion (none / 1) (#105)
by yuo on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 01:14:02 AM EST

Your wording on delusion seems carefully deceptive. CBT "treats negativity as" a delusion. It does not follow that negativity is a delusion. It is further my understanding that delusions are always falsely held beliefs. If there is no difference between a man who is happy and a man who honestly believes he is happy, then happiness cannot be a delusion because it can never be false.

When I spoke of happiness being an "end", it was in terms of "means" vs. "end", not as in the "end point". You call it a target, which is essentially the same thing.

I'm not sure you saw my point with the virtuous man argument. You said:
"However, you can create a personal meaning for life (it still being a delusion) and in that circumstance, it certainly would be illogical to choose to be unhappy."

I responded:
"He would surely be looking forward to the time that the torture ends, even in death. He now has a real concrete hope, and perhaps even a definite purpose: to end the pain."

Yet, I neglected to use the word meaning in my response, which was an error. Suffering is a breeding ground for meaning.

I honestly think that this argument is at an impasse because we don't have sufficient data (due to it being an argument on applied ethics). At this point, we should research to find any rational person in history who was happy while suffering horribly... and that's not something I'm going to do.

I wish I had thought of pants pants pants pants pants pants pants pants.
[ Parent ]

I think Aristotle made the exact same argument. $ (3.00 / 4) (#72)
by yuo on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 12:59:16 PM EST


I wish I had thought of pants pants pants pants pants pants pants pants.
[ Parent ]

Psychology Sucks once suggested I was (2.40 / 5) (#42)
by LilDebbie on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 10:49:11 PM EST

hypomanic, which is a roundabout way of saying happy. That said, one could really only characterize happiness as a disorder if it is in someway detrimental to the individual. With your hypothetical Bob, one might consider his happiness a danger to his health if he ignores things like heart disease and fails to take appropriate steps to avoid falling victim to it.

To wit, fat & happy bad, fit & happy good.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

Fool (2.33 / 3) (#48)
by Aneurin on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 01:24:55 AM EST

Hypomanic is most certainly not a roundabout way of saying that you're happy.

If you want to be Bipolar or something, as opposed to actually suffering from a mood disorder, then you're gayer than a clown painted with five pounds of coloured makeup who molests children during such activities involving blowing up balloons in the shape of sexual organs.

---
Just think: the entire Internet, running on jazz. -Canthros

[ Parent ]

Who said I was bipolar? (3.00 / 2) (#71)
by LilDebbie on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 12:19:05 PM EST

This pendulum is stuck on one side.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Hypomania is sufficient criteria for diagnosis. (none / 1) (#78)
by Aneurin on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 02:48:32 PM EST

At least on this part of the globe.

But I repeat, it's not the same as "happy" whatsoever.
---
Just think: the entire Internet, running on jazz. -Canthros

[ Parent ]

Read ahead. (none / 1) (#43)
by vera on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 11:06:34 PM EST

http://www.cato-unbound.org/2007/04/08/darrin-m-mcmahon/the-pursuit-of-happiness -in-perspective/

Your first line exposes the flaw in your reasoning (2.87 / 8) (#45)
by rpresser on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 11:43:49 PM EST

"Life consists of suffering, followed by death."

The Buddha taught four truths -- not one -- about life: There is suffering, there is a cause for suffering, there is an end of suffering, and there is a path of practice that puts an end to suffering.

I don't generally suffer when I see people on TV in painful situations.  Learning to regard my own pain in the same way can bring an end to suffering.

------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty

You lost me at... (2.00 / 2) (#57)
by gndn on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 04:25:23 AM EST

"there is an end of suffering"

No, there isn't. Existence is suffering, and anyone who preaches that it's possible to overcome it is either peddling some strong narcotics or some massive fairy tales (Christianity springs to mind, with tales of eternal joy and happiness waiting for us in the next life, provided we're good little boys and girls here and now). The Noble Eightfold Path is somewhat less overtly offensive than the fairly tales peddled by other religions but still... religion is the most cruel and dangerous deception of all. But that's another rant.



[ Parent ]
that's extreme in the extreme (2.00 / 2) (#65)
by nostalgiphile on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 09:09:44 AM EST

You oughta read the Tao De Jing again:

Life is a going forth; death is a returning home. Of ten, three are seeking life, three are seeking death, and three are dying. Now, what is the reason? It is because they live life's intensity.


"Depending on your perspective you are an optimist or a pessimist[,] and a hopeless one too." --trhurler
[ Parent ]
What's the tenth guy doing? (2.66 / 3) (#114)
by rpresser on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 09:11:33 AM EST

Writing cryptic tractates?
------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]
zactly...he's doing nothing (none / 1) (#116)
by nostalgiphile on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 09:20:58 AM EST

which is the only way to follow the Way.

"Depending on your perspective you are an optimist or a pessimist[,] and a hopeless one too." --trhurler
[ Parent ]
Reminds me of a joke: (3.00 / 3) (#129)
by rpresser on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 03:27:00 PM EST

How many Illuminati does it take to change a light bulb?

Five. One to change it, and one to confuse the issue.

------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]

never misunderestimate the value of confusion (none / 1) (#130)
by nostalgiphile on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 03:33:27 PM EST

it can sometimes be very enlightening.

"Depending on your perspective you are an optimist or a pessimist[,] and a hopeless one too." --trhurler
[ Parent ]
So anybody who claims that (none / 1) (#73)
by rpresser on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 01:24:10 PM EST

they are in pain but not suffering is lying or deluding themselves?

Perhaps you should learn more about people by interacting with them.  Your own experience is not necessarily generalizable to the whole human race.
------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]

Life is suffering (2.33 / 3) (#58)
by it certainly is on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 04:33:05 AM EST

because suffering defines what life is. As M. Scott Peck said, life is necessary suffering, but we fear suffering and develop neuroses just to avoid it. This is the wrong response to suffering. The correct response is to overcome that suffering and grow in experience and depth of emotional capability.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

How Buddhist of you. (n/t) (none / 1) (#76)
by Fon2d2 on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 01:59:19 PM EST



[ Parent ]
happiness in the moment (2.40 / 5) (#49)
by Petrovski on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 03:23:37 AM EST

But why shouldn't Bob be happy in the moment, when he isn't in a foxhole? There isn't a meteor coming his way, he isn't diagnosed with cancer. There is no reason why death or future disease should have an influence on his current happiness -- they haven't happend yet. I don't think that happiness is a way of dealing with future problems, it is rather a direct respons to the current situation.
Yes, the current situation is filled with the possibility of disaster but they are not pressent yet and it is impossible to deal with something that doesn't exist. If I deal with the possibility of disaster I should also deal with the possibility of great luck, eg., that a millionare comes my way and hands me 50 million dollars. I can't deal with that, only the current situation.

Re: happiness in the moment (none / 1) (#56)
by gndn on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 04:12:51 AM EST

But why shouldn't Bob be happy in the moment, when he isn't in a foxhole?

But he is in a foxhole... this whole planet is one big foxhole, and nobody gets out alive. It's not a question of if Bob's life will fall apart, it's when and how.

If I deal with the possibility of disaster I should also deal with the possibility of great luck, eg., that a millionare comes my way and hands me 50 million dollars.

Here's the difference: your chances of winning a $50M lottery are pretty farking slim, but your chances of suffering and eventually dying are 100%. You're correct in that anticipating a large lottery win would be overly optimistic, but to discard the idea of death in the same manner is a form of self-deception. It's not necessarily a bad deception, mind you, as it may help maintain your sanity, but let's call it what it is.



[ Parent ]
Re:Re: happiness in the moment (none / 0) (#59)
by Petrovski on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 04:45:42 AM EST

I don't see why you have to discard death to be happy. You can still enjoy life in the moment, all though it will be gone -- and, yes, I am an atheist and belive that I only have this life.
But that it will end, and that I am getting closer to death is not really a bad thing.

Camus writes that seeking meaning in the moment that has no real or eternal mening is like a beautiful play. It will only last for an hour on stage, it will never be put forward the exact same way and the people who see it and rememeber it will disapear. But it is still beautiful and can be happy all though it isn't eternal -- it appears and disappears on the stage in only a couple of hours.

My example with the 50 million dollars is not concerning death but the hardship that we have durring life. Of cause it is more likely that I get cancer(also considering that I smoke), but I have to wait for my cancer before I can turn away from my happiness and start to feel bad, if I want to.

I have been thinking the same thoughts as you before, but realised that the absurdity of life is wonderful and that I woudn't want to live forever, maybe stick around for 300 years till we get hover cars but not forever.

[ Parent ]

Put in perspective (none / 0) (#117)
by Cro Magnon on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 09:30:59 AM EST

The chances of Bob dying might be nearly 100% (barring some future medical advance), but the chances of that happening soon are slim. Until then, he can get stinking drunk, fool around with his wife some more, and sire 5 more kids (though the last would likely end his happiness ;) ).
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
This SEEMS gay, but I voted it up anywho (1.40 / 5) (#63)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 08:24:34 AM EST


----------------

Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.

You probably wrote it (none / 1) (#82)
by curtis on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 03:57:31 PM EST

As part of your sadistic quest to maximise the misery of everyone here.

[ Parent ]
I did that eyars ago. It's all about maintenance (none / 1) (#109)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 07:41:26 AM EST

these days.

----------------

Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.
[ Parent ]

Why do you like misery? (none / 1) (#110)
by curtis on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 08:35:02 AM EST



[ Parent ]
I don't. I like total destruction. (none / 1) (#111)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 08:52:42 AM EST

Misery oesn't even enter into the equation, dummy.

----------------

Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.
[ Parent ]

Why do you crave destruction? (none / 1) (#113)
by curtis on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 08:55:38 AM EST



[ Parent ]
For fun. (none / 1) (#115)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 09:11:52 AM EST

Why do you crave being annoying?

----------------

Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.
[ Parent ]

I see. (none / 1) (#118)
by curtis on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 09:35:06 AM EST

You find release in destruction.

I don't want to be annoying. I think you are the one who craves being annoying, isn't that the general principle behind trolling?

[ Parent ]

I'm not a troll, so I'm not sure. (none / 1) (#119)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 10:51:46 AM EST

Why do crave being a self-righteous liberal?

----------------

Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.
[ Parent ]

How can I not be self-righteous (none / 1) (#120)
by curtis on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 11:14:24 AM EST

When faced with such trollery? Why should I allow your disruptiveness to pass unremarked?

[ Parent ]
What disruptiveness? (none / 1) (#121)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 11:20:08 AM EST

No oe has ever mentioned this to me before. Are you just having a 'sensitive day'?

----------------

Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.
[ Parent ]

Yeah (none / 1) (#123)
by curtis on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 12:26:11 PM EST

I guess so. It's unlike you to be so concerned. I think you should try to be more caring and understanding like this in future.

[ Parent ]
No, no, no, I don't care at all. I just need to (none / 1) (#126)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 12:48:38 PM EST

know how direct and insulting I should be, since I'm more likely to get a reaction today than on other days.

----------------

Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.
[ Parent ]

I see (none / 1) (#128)
by curtis on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 02:22:45 PM EST

You want to get a reaction. Is it because you're new to human interaction and still find it novel?

[ Parent ]
Yes, I'm still new to human interaction. Good one. (none / 0) (#135)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 07:24:07 AM EST

You must kill them down at over-eaters anon.

----------------

Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.
[ Parent ]

Happiness is a myth (2.00 / 3) (#66)
by starX on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 09:54:48 AM EST

It doesn't exist. Stop chasing rainbows and trying to quantify it..

"I like you starX, you disagree without sounding like a fanatic from a rock-solid point of view. Highfive." --WonderJoust
Happiness is a warm gun (2.85 / 7) (#67)
by wiredog on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 09:58:06 AM EST


The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.
Phage

Happiness is a warm dildo (2.50 / 2) (#103)
by circletimessquare on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 12:14:22 AM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Well, (2.70 / 10) (#68)
by trhurler on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 10:06:34 AM EST

I for one am happy. And honestly the world is a LOT worse compared to what I think it should be than compared to what most of you want, so I think the problem is you.

Specifically, 99% of you chase other peoples' dreams, live other peoples' lives, say what you're supposed to say and not what you aren't, and seek the approval of others incessantly.

And then you say happiness is a myth? The problem is you.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

-1 "happiness" is not defined (1.66 / 3) (#70)
by Elija on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 10:56:03 AM EST

Also, this is boring and unoriginal.


This is bad (2.00 / 3) (#75)
by United Fools on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 01:54:57 PM EST

We promised that people joining us will receive happiness. Now what do we do? do we keep delivering happiness or not?

We are united, we are fools, and we are America!
Doesn't stand up (2.33 / 3) (#86)
by curtis on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 04:26:13 PM EST

Life consists of suffering, followed by death.

No it doesn't. There are many pleasures in life, aren't there?

It's kind of weird how you could think anyone would be swayed by your depiction of Bob. You're saying that he mustn't be happy because of the potential that something bad will happen. Why shouldn't he remain happy until the bad thing happens (if it does at all?). That is surely the rational way to proceed. You are putting forward a very weak, nonsensical argument.

Bob's life has no objective meaning

So what? If he enjoys his life, why is it necessary for it to mean anything?

This is a really stupid piece of writing. I know it's a troll, but you couldn't even make it sound vaguely fucking plausible.

Yo momma looks pretty happy (1.50 / 4) (#92)
by D Jade on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 07:32:02 PM EST

when I bust a nut all over her face... Or maybe that's all part of the show.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
-1; illness? (1.50 / 2) (#94)
by hesk on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 07:41:30 PM EST

Bob's life has no objective meaning, and even if it did, that meaning would certainly cease when he dies.

I propose that objective meaning is an oxymoron as meaning is always subjective, that is, depending on the person constructing it.  Therefore, Bob's meaning to others does disappear magically when he dies.

I agree that happiness is a mental state and I can follow the argument that it is a coping mechanism (although I don't agree with that), but an illness?

--
Sticking to the rules doesn't improve your safety, relying on the rules is

Brain chemistry (2.50 / 2) (#97)
by harrystottle on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 08:15:41 PM EST

you haven't begun to consider the role of brain chemistry. The balance of endorphins, seratonin, oxytocin, dopamine and others in the human brain have vastly more impact on "happiness" than the apparent external conditions. How do we know this? Because we can study people in extremely similar circumstances and with extremely similar backgrounds. The ones with "happy" brain chemistry turn out to be pretty happy even in the direst of circumstances. The ones with "depressed" brain chemistry tend to exhibit the symptoms of depression even in sustained periods of "good times".

Mostly harmless
Neurotransmitter levels (2.50 / 2) (#133)
by Corey Haim on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 08:09:47 PM EST

are observable and are correlated with mood. They are thought to play a role in mood regulation, but that's about as far as our current understanding stretches.

As in any complex system, playing with these variables will have an effect. All this says is that you are interfering with the normal functioning of the system, not that these variables are of fundamental importance to how the system works.

My processor is generating a lot of heat right now, and if I alter its ability to get rid of that heat, by switching the fan off or fitting a more powerful one, this will have a consequent effect on the processor's ability to perform computations.

Is heat then fundamental to how the processor performs computations? No, although it will have a mention in any explanation of how the whole system works.

Ditto for neurotransmitters. They're the most measurable things we have right now, and will be involved in subsequent explanations, but at this stage we are rather like a civilization discovering a running processor with no prior knowledge as to how it works, chattering about the heat as if that were any kind of explanation at all.

So, basically: we'd get nowhere talking about brain chemistry, because none of us can possibly know any more than the experts, who will happily admit the fledgling nature of neuroscience as regards these questions.

(the rest of this would have been better as a top-level comment, not directed at your comment in particular)

The studies you mention are far more likely to be related to cognition: in particular, things such as "explanatory style" and cognitive strategies: broadly speaking, "optimism" and "pessimism". The "sad" ones see problems as permanent ("This is going to go on forever"), personal ("This sort of thing always happens to me") and pervasive ("Everything's going wrong"); the "happy" ones see problems and setbacks as temporary ("This'll be sorted out soon"), impersonal ("Could have happened to anyone") and specific ("It's only a swollen testicle. Everything else is peachy").

The optimists live longer, have fewer health problems, bounce back from setbacks and disappointments quicker, do better financially, seem immune to depression, are happier (hence the observation of "happy brain chemistry": correlation not cause)... Someone like Martin Seligman is probably the best place to start if anyone wants to track down the glut of hard research on this stuff.. it's turned into a very active research area of psychology over the past decade.. and of course in abnormal psychology, the current trend for "cognitive behavioural" explanations, key plank of which is that depressives, even mild ones like the article author, are certainly more "distorting" of external reality than just about anyone else..

Both strategies are equally "accurate", because they only "distort" things which are under personal control: the optimist is accurate in believing he will succeed because his strategy almost guarantees his eventual success; the pessimist is accurate in predicting he will never win because his strategy prevents him from even trying. Neither require distortion of external facts, and where facts about how we will act are concerned, distortion is not an issue because such beliefs act as self-fulfilling prophecies and are inherently self-validating...

So they are both adaptive: ironically, it's pessimism which is seen as an effective defence mechanism in current psychology (it shields you from the risk of failure, which is a consolation of sorts), and is speculated elsewhere (evolutionary psychologists?) to have been a useful trait during catastrophic climactic conditions (the last major Ice Age in particular).

And neither are incompatible with an accurate assessment of the external facts. One's attitude is intentional, it shapes the values and the meanings and the subjective responses we attach to the otherwise value-free facts of external reality (Wittgenstein: "the world of the happy man is quite different from that of the unhappy man", Tractatus section 6?, any of the phenomenologists, existentialists, bits of Searle?, the joy and value-creation of Nietzsche despite having possibly the bleakest view of the facts around him of anyone in his century..) and is a matter of choice and should therefore be chosen to suit one's taste and situation ("In turbulent and perilous times, one should be a Stoic, in times of peace and plenty and in temperate zones an Epicurean" - Nietzsche, the Ghey Science? but add to that, "And under no circumstances a humourless cunt, because what good has ever come of that?")

TRY READING THAT, BITCHES!

[ Parent ]

death isn't certain (2.00 / 2) (#100)
by guidoreichstadter on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 09:42:39 PM EST




you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
Prove it. /nt (none / 0) (#104)
by gndn on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 12:39:45 AM EST



[ Parent ]
I doubt it (none / 1) (#132)
by guidoreichstadter on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 08:04:39 PM EST




you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]
Bob Is in Despair (2.33 / 3) (#107)
by unknownlamer on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 02:03:01 AM EST

He just doesn't know it.


--
<vladl> I am reading the making of the atomic bong - modern science
Hm... a happiness troll! (1.66 / 3) (#108)
by megid on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 04:59:01 AM EST

Like you said, "objectively" Bob is reasonably happy at one given point in time. Thats why he is. If something happens to him (or his "cone of caring", or however you'd want to call his family, friends, etc), he will be unhappy (at that point of time, then). Why should he before?

On an unrelated note, consider separating "happy with one's own life" and "happy with the world's state". Obviously, the latter sucks, while the former can be pretty ok.

And for the last time: There is no fucking meaning in one's life. Make up your own or continue being depressed or whatever. If you can't even figure out what gives your life meaning, what kind of person you want to be, ... then you suck at introspection so much that a life in a tree might be a commendable option.

--
"think first, write second, speak third."

Happiness is a FEEDBACK mechanism (2.50 / 6) (#112)
by localroger on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 08:53:00 AM EST

Happiness (and pleasurable emotions and sensations in general) are feedback signals letting you know that what you are doing is working and that you should keep doing it.

Permanent happiness would be maladaptive, which is why happiness doesn't tend to be permanent. We are restless, generally becoming disenchanted with the things that make us happy over time. That's an adaptive trait because it encourages us to get off our butts and spend more energy optimizing our environment.

Our emotional system evolved primarily to encourage us to survive long enough to reproduce and raise successful children who will lather rinse repeat. If we are doing that (or even doing similar things, without the actual children) our bodies are programmed to give us good feelings to encourage us to keep doing these things.

Sliding into a catatonic stupor over the imminent threats of hurricanes, meteors, and earthquakes would not be productive, so it is difficult for us to concentrate on and maintain constant awareness of such long-term low-probability threats. The reason is that if such awareness were to discourage us from reproducing, there would be fewer people around to survive such events when they occur. That would be bad for the species as a whole, and so we aren't adapted to maintain awareness of such things.

Of course, this is maladaptive in the personal sense when an individual does not react to a real threat such as rising sea level when your city is several feet below the current sea level. Such threats have wiped out populations in the past, but as long as more populations survive the trait has no reason to change.

It's also maladaptive in the context of a threat that we could do something about that threatens the entire species. But such things don't happen often enough for evolution to have concerned us with them, and when they do happen evolution tends to react by starting over from scratch with a different species for obvious reasons.

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer

IAWTP and (2.00 / 2) (#122)
by vqp on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 12:07:42 PM EST

Positive thinking people tend to have children.
Negative thinking people tend not to have children.
Then why are there so many negative thinking people still around, they should have vanished by now.

Here is my argument:
Delusional or religious thinking leads to positive thinking -> more children.
Rational thinking leads to negative thinking -> less children
Rational thinking when applied to science gives reproductive advantages to the whole species, not only the rational individuals.
The equilibrium point would be:
A vast majority of religious people with a minority of rational people using their skills to feed them.

I'm not making moral judgments here but is this happening right now?

happiness = d(Reality - Expectations) / dt

[ Parent ]

... and then the rational people (none / 0) (#127)
by basj on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 01:08:39 PM EST

will eat the religious people, I presume?

(Or rather, propose hereby.)

--
Complete the Three Year Plan in five years!
[ Parent ]

An alternative model of faith and happiness. (2.50 / 2) (#124)
by tert on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 12:32:17 PM EST

I've recently come around back to theism, and this is the route I took.

I think the fundamental property of god is that it is the creator. I think this is more fundamental to god than heaven is (many would disagree with me here, and maybe their happiness is delusional). Now I take my odd step, and equate the creator with the process of creation. In fact, I am inclined to lump all three of these under god: the act of creation, that which creates, and that which is created.

From there it's all non-controvertial. Our understanding of science and mathematics and so forth has given us tools we use to learn about creation. For example we can tell that an important process in influencing the tendency for our observable world to progress from less sophisticated forms to complex life (or even intelligence) is evolution. Evolution is queerly simple, and it can occur as we understand it pretty much anywhere there is selection pressure. Generally any system in which the probability of dying without breeding is correlated with anything interesting (such as the ability to turn available resources into offspring; or, more abstractly, the ability to think) will exhibit something we would recognize as evolution. Death is not only part of creation, it is the primary tool of evolution.

So, yeah, I'm gonna die. But when I die, I will be killed by that which created me. God will strike me down. Small comfort, I suppose. But is that comfort a delusion?

At any rate, here is a review of an article in Nature which suggests that being prepared for a bad experience in fact makes it more difficult to deal with the bad experience. It looks like someone set out to determine the accuracy of your core supposition that happiness makes one less suited for hardship, and found it not to be true.

Thou art god.



So you take your "odd step" and ... (none / 0) (#141)
by icastel on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 12:31:11 PM EST

... then everything just falls into place.  A priceless nugget of information.  You don't even care that the step was odd as long as it takes you where you to your happy place.  That's pretty much what the article talks about.


-- I like my land flat --
[ Parent ]
your odd step (none / 0) (#143)
by tert on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 01:20:24 PM EST

You can choose to ignore the fact that my odd step is correct, and thereby perhaps you may achieve unhappiness.

Congratulations.

[ Parent ]

One's wording makes one sound like a dick. $ (none / 1) (#131)
by Joe Sixpack on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 05:45:36 PM EST


---
[ MONKEY STEALS THE PEACH ]

What are the implictions? (2.00 / 2) (#134)
by cronian on Wed Apr 11, 2007 at 10:16:47 PM EST

Do we need to drug the few people in the world, who are truly happy? What is the most effective depressant? What should over-happy people do to become unhappy?

We perfect it; Congress kills it; They make it; We Import it; It must be anti-Americanism
Delusional (none / 0) (#136)
by Marvaud on Sat Apr 14, 2007 at 11:04:36 AM EST

I actually used to know this lady who while
to most people appeared quite normal, actually
believes that all of us walking around are dead
and she is alive and has special powers, a third eye
and believes in UFOs.
She believes she is superior to other people
and has done some pretty dangerous things because of her beliefs.

this is such a load of crap .. (2.33 / 3) (#137)
by torpor on Sat Apr 14, 2007 at 11:49:26 AM EST

.. i bothered to dig out my 5 year old kuro5hin.org account just to reply.

life is exactly the opposite of the premise of this whole preposterous notion.  death is the default state.  happiness, aliveness, the ability to see outside and be outside and share the moment with your fellow living beings is unique.

if you are not happy, in some way, you are not alive.  period.  any instance of life, experiencing any emotion, whether it be dire or otherwise, is still a rare exception to the absolute blank and irrelevant nothingness of the rest of the universe.

j. -- boink! i have no sig!

You're contradicting yourself. (2.00 / 2) (#138)
by Eivind on Sat Apr 14, 2007 at 07:20:22 PM EST

First you claim happiness is an illness.

Then you turn around and argue happiness is an adaption that helps us deal better with the world we happen to live in.

So, which is it gonna be ? The two directly contradict eachother, given any reasonable definition of "illness".

You're not a Bob (none / 0) (#139)
by Another on Sat Apr 14, 2007 at 11:55:57 PM EST

and you did not write that story. Nor are you reading this response. The reason for Bob's confusion is that Bob believes himself to exist. As for you... well, what do you think?

It is actually possible to deconstruct your self with thought, but to see beyond all your self-indulging fantasies and reactions to "your life" there has to be a clear understanding of what is real and what is not. Radical thought is quite different from regular thought. Most people think regular thoughts, like Bob does. Never mind them, they're busy too. Just treat them nicely and do your own thing.

You're already looking at it. The cycle of pleasure and pain is a kind of disease, and our evasive tactics are innumerable. They're also pretty cool sometimes. Fun to see, interesting to talk about. Make sure you also watch them in action, notice when you're being Bob. Bob may think he understands that life is a death sentence, but thinking isn't much like understanding at all.

Life consists of suffering only until you have had enough, really enough. You might as well believe in reincarnation, just to make sure there's no way out. If there's no escape, what can you do? Then maybe you would find some motivation.

Or you could just tell Bob why he shouldn't be afraid of dying, because there is no Bob, there is no you, and there really, quite honestly, is nothing real about you reading these words or me writing them. It just happens to look that way, and we appear to be communicating ideas about it. Empty words about empty words.

But let's not be silly. We're dying after all.


Happiness, the downside of civilization! (none / 0) (#140)
by rocmon on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 11:45:14 AM EST

Civilization has created the need to be happy much like it has created the need for the ipod - we are overly burdened with our own self importance... which is irrelevant and thus prevents any sustained feelings of 'happiness'. Wouldn't it be better if we lived out our life without the wheel? I can only imagine things will get worse before they get better... if ever again!

Happiness is a warm gun (none / 0) (#142)
by lolita on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 02:46:11 PM EST

bang, bang. Shoot, shoot.

Wow (none / 0) (#144)
by gndn on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 02:46:50 PM EST

How original of you.

[ Parent ]
Happiness is a mental illness | 144 comments (132 topical, 12 editorial, 4 hidden)
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