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  1. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    I guess the difference is motivation. Resignation implies you wanted something better and let go of it out of defeat. If you can accept things as they are, yet seek something better, you can be happy. Not necessarily being an optimist, so much as learning to see even bad situations have some good in them, and vice-versa. Learning to embrace a kind of balance, I guess.

    I really think I failed to describe what I was talking about adequately, but I hope I explained at least part of it well enough.
    No. I think you got your point across. I understand this, and have tried it.

    There is a second truth that people miss--an inner calling/voice that "is what it is" as well. When this is in alignment with the way things are, things go well. But when things get out of alignment, when we are forced to chose (temporarily at least) between being true to ourselves or accepting things as they are, that's when spiritual pain sets in.

    This is where we are tested spiritually. In many ways, we are simply talking around each other. I thing most of us are aware of the points people bring up. We cannot discount the role of heredity, biology in all of this.

    Quote Originally Posted by mippus View Post
    I disagree on this. It is true that most emotions come to us in an uncotrolled, call it spontaneous, way. However, I really believe we can think ourselves into emotions and emotional states. Thus we can sustain sadness when we start seeing it as part of our identity. And just the other way around as well. Isn't this what behaviourism can do?
    There are plenty of behavioral techniques that can help a lot. They are often stop-gaps however, if steps aren't taken to make an individual's situation better, also.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grayscale View Post
    i think you are missing my point. yes, the world exists as it is, regardless of how you see it or feel about it... full of aspects both negative and positive. this we cannot change... what we can change, though, is our understanding (which alters our actions) and focus (which alters our perspective)
    Well, Zen-master. It is easy for me to miss points. When we change our understanding, are we not trying to change it to be more compatible with the way things actually are?

    Focus, I suppose, is the main point. We can of course find the silver-lining where there are gray clouds. But, often, it is simply wiser to bring an umbrella.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grayscale View Post
    I see two ends of a spectrum... one is fear, the other is love... you can either be driven by the former or pursue the latter. this isn't lying to yourself, it's smart thinking. anyone who has ridden a motorcycle will be familiar with the concept of target fixation... what you look at is where you're going to end up going. if you look for good opportunity in everything, then it only follows that you will get the best results possible.
    This much makes sense. Unfortunately, people can be in points of their life where riding a motorcycle is not a good analogy. They have no target to fixate upon. What was "good," no longer seems good, and non new target is apparent. There is simply a state of confusion an unhappiness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grayscale View Post
    if are only ever driven by fear, although you may manage to survive, you will never be happy--fear is a beast you will never escape. the most basic fears-inadequacy and deficiency-can be easily identified in today's society. greed, for one, is a simple enough example of this... the poorest see the well-off as rich, the well-off see the millionaires as rich, the millionaires see the billionaires as rich... many will never think that they have enough. this is because they are trying to find security and happiness by feeding a fear of not having enough. this is, of course, completely irrational... a leftover, primal instinct that isn't useful in modern society. this is apparent from studies that show the increase in happiness in correlation to income is marginal except in cases of extreme poverty (where the instinct to have enough to survive is legitimate)

    on the other hand, we can find happiness by pursuing love... both inward and outwardly. as mentioned earlier, i see two halves to this, the first being understanding, how we see inwardly and determine how to act and respond... the second being our focus on the world around us and how we see outwardly, which determines our perspective. i shall begin with the former... let's say someone does something that would probably make you angry. you could, of course, become angry and blame them for what they've done, or... you could realize that blame is admitting that someone else has control of your feelings and choose to respond differently. the world is what it is, what you need to determine is how you respond to it. i believe with this understanding, we can strive to live a healthy lifestyle (physically and emotionally) and thus learn to love ourselves... strive to find purpose in our lives and thus learn to love our existence... strive to create solid relationships with others and thus learn to love the people around us. as for the second half, it's simply a matter of focusing on and appreciating all of the positive aspects of the world and the people who inhabit it... loving every moment more than you mourn its loss.

    it is no surprise that fear is centralized in the most primitive part of the human brain, nor that the things that separate humans from animals like art, music, and other aspects of culture, complex communication, etc. incite activity in the upper, more developed part of the brain. the biggest difference, in my opinion, is that while the purpose of the reptilian brain is survival, the higher mind is what allows us to thrive
    This also makes sense. Positive goals have a lot more staying power, if you can find them. But sometimes the voices/visions of fear are so strong that all you want to do is make them go away. Nothing else is heard/seen/felt till that happens.


    Quote Originally Posted by Grayscale View Post
    it's important to ask yourself... "am i doing this, or looking at something a certain way because i feel like i need to in order to survive?" the bottom line is... in the grand scheme, you're probably going to be just fine. the only question left is whether or not you're going pursue happiness once you realize that.
    That is easy for broadly capable people to say, but many are capable in only very a narrow sense. Take, for example, many people I knew in the Math and Physics departments at school. They are quite good at solving equations and coming up ideas for proofs, etc. but very handicapped in almost everything else (not officially autistic, but similar in many ways). How is it that you believe these people will be fine, in the grand scheme of things? What happens when their grants go away? What happens when they can no longer rely on the only thing they are capable at doing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grayscale View Post
    considering my S-ness, that much writing should tide me over for at least a couple of weeks.
    Really, you read like the Dalai Lama (meant as a complement, BTW)

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    Ah, you bring up an excellent point. I find there to be a distinction between an emotion by itself, and an emotionally-infused, sustained mood. The former being derived instantaneously, without any foresight, and the latter being more of a result of a person's behavioral tendencies to either dwell on a given emotional state, or ignore, or acknowledge and get over it. I believe that cognitive behavioral therapy helps one control their moods by teaching them what and why they feel the things they do.
    CBT has been proven a most effective way to lift depression, but even here, recurrence is very frequent. One thing people miss is that the environment a depressed person is in is just wrong for the person. They may need to find a different one, but not know where to look.

    This is the hardest part (finding the right environment). The part most professionals, friends, family members, etc. are usually unable to do (and find very frustrating). IMO, this has to be done by the depressed people themselves, once they have regained the energy and resources to search.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  2. #32
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Consistent long term happiness comes from a balance of appreciating what you have and having things worth appreciating. Generally those things are having basic survival needs, good relationships with friends and family, a job you like, and doing things that have a positive impact on others.
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  3. #33
    you are right mippus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    Ah, you bring up an excellent point. I find there to be a distinction between an emotion by itself, and an emotionally-infused, sustained mood. The former being derived instantaneously, without any foresight, and the latter being more of a result of a person's behavioral tendencies to either dwell on a given emotional state, or ignore, or acknowledge and get over it. I believe that cognitive behavioral therapy helps one control their moods by teaching them what and why they feel the things they do.
    then we agree. Now I see what you mean, so forget about my remark in this respect. I still see it as relevant to a sustained state of happiness though.
    Vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas

  4. #34
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    I wrote up a post about Seligman's approach on another website. Here is the start of the post:

    _______________

    The American Psychological Association (the APA) is the parent organization representing the entire professional field of psychology in the U.S., and Dr. Martin Seligman was president of the APA for a year recently. In the last couple years Dr. Seligman has been pushing for more study of "positive psychology" within the overall psychology field. (You can go to the APA website at American Psychological Association and do a search for "Seligman" for his credentials.)

    Seligman's argument is that professional psychology is oriented too much toward treating illnesses. He argues that psychologists also need to spend time studying what constitutes happiness (satisfaction with life) and find out how to maximize happiness among people who aren't otherwise ill. I suspect that this new emphasis has something to do with the aging of the baby boomers. Elderly people tend to be less satisfied with their lives, so a study of what constitutes happiness will help a large portion of the U.S. population in coming decades.

    Here is a link to a long article about the history and rationale behind the new "positive psychology" for those who want to delve into those things. It's kind of long and technical, and it's not required reading. I'm just providing it for those who are interested in the background of this new psychological discipline.

    Redefining the Good Life: a New Focus in the Social Sciences

    Anyway, as part of his push for the new "positive psychology," Seligman has set up a website devoted solely to "positive psychology" alone. It includes lots of questionnaires and personal tests on levels of happiness in one's life and also newsletters describing the newest research on what constitutes and maximizes "happiness." The website is called "Authentic Happiness" and is located here:

    :: Authentic Happiness :: Using the new Positive Psychology

    I didn't read everything there; I just did a lot of skimming. There is a lot on the website that is new agey and not my cup of tea. But I noticed one interesting article from the "Authentic Happiness" website entitled "Pleasure, Meaning & Eudaimonia." It identifies three paths for finding happiness:

    [...]

    ____________________

    [See the following link for the rest of the post:]

    Positive Psychology (Happiness) - INTP Central

  5. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    Consistent long term happiness comes from a balance of appreciating what you have and having things worth appreciating. Generally those things are having basic survival needs, good relationships with friends and family, a job you like, and doing things that have a positive impact on others.
    I think it is more than just "balance," but alignment. I those with a strong inner "calling" have a burden as well as gift. If that inner voice(which really get louder if we try to silence it) is very far out of alignment with circumstances, it can hurt a lot. When the calling is close to circumstances, it is amazingly joyful.

    Quote Originally Posted by mippus View Post
    then we agree. Now I see what you mean, so forget about my remark in this respect. I still see it as relevant to a sustained state of happiness though.
    Yes. I would say that breathing techniques in particular, as well as increasing the level of exercise is very important.

    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    I wrote up a post about Seligman's approach on another website. Here is the start of the post:
    I actually went through all the questionnaires on the website when I first found it. I believe it was free at the time. It may still be free.

    A few things mentioned in his book. It was found that (unlike 35 years earlier) life satisfaction increases significantly with age, while pleasant affect decreases slightly, and negative affect stays the same.

    Further thoughts on:

    1. The pleasant life:This approach leads to running a "hedonic treadmill." The pleasures in life are things we get accustomed to, each time, they will need to be amped-up to get the same level of pleasure. Taking time to be mindful, an savor moments helps in this regard, however.

    2. The good life: I think you nailed this one. This is mainly about increasing the gratifications in life--achieving more flow. Aligning your work, life, etc. to make more use ones strengths. Like you said, this may not mean anything real. After a while, trying to achieve flow, just seems like a purposeless game you play with yourself.

    3. The meaningful life: Although this means accomplishing things with value to others, I think it is important not to ignore your own calling. We are not all made the same, or meant to do the same thing. Trying to achieve meaning through "achieving" things of value to others really isn't that meaningful if you are actually living someone else's life.

    Are you a doctor, because it is "noble" and your parents wanted you to become one? For some, this may be enough. But if individuals had a strong, deep calling towards something else, this "noble" life is a lie, and the individuals would know it.

    I think it is about aligning one's strengths to achieve (nearly) universal virtues. This way one stays true to oneself, while creating something of value to others.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    A few things mentioned in his book. It was found that (unlike 35 years earlier) life satisfaction increases significantly with age, while pleasant affect decreases slightly, and negative affect stays the same.
    Interesting. Though I suppose it depends what stage of life one is measuring. For example, the really old folks may have outlived all their friends and family, in essence surviving a small holocaust among their acquaintances. So no doubt they're significantly more depressed than when younger.

    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Further thoughts on:

    1. The pleasant life:This approach leads to running a "hedonic treadmill." The pleasures in life are things we get accustomed to, each time, they will need to be amped-up to get the same level of pleasure. Taking time to be mindful, an savor moments helps in this regard, however.

    2. The good life: I think you nailed this one. This is mainly about increasing the gratifications in life--achieving more flow. Aligning your work, life, etc. to make more use ones strengths. Like you said, this may not mean anything real. After a while, trying to achieve flow, just seems like a purposeless game you play with yourself.

    3. The meaningful life: Although this means accomplishing things with value to others, I think it is important not to ignore your own calling. We are not all made the same, or meant to do the same thing. Trying to achieve meaning through "achieving" things of value to others really isn't that meaningful if you are actually living someone else's life.

    Are you a doctor, because it is "noble" and your parents wanted you to become one? For some, this may be enough. But if individuals had a strong, deep calling towards something else, this "noble" life is a lie, and the individuals would know it.

    I think it is about aligning one's strengths to achieve (nearly) universal virtues. This way one stays true to oneself, while creating something of value to others.
    I think the main point of the three different types of pleasure was that it's necessary to indulge them all simultaneously and in balance. Concentration on just one will lead to surfeit and loss of the pleasure, as you pointed out. (Though I read the material and wrote the post a year ago, so I can't guarantee that that was exactly what was recommended.)

  7. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    Interesting. Though I suppose it depends what stage of life one is measuring. For example, the really old folks may have outlived all their friends and family, in essence surviving a small holocaust among their acquaintances. So no doubt they're significantly more depressed than when younger.
    That maybe true. I don't know many people in the 70+ range. However, most people in their 50's and 60's I know (granted, they're mostly retirees who spend an awful amount of time playing social chess) seem quite content with their life over all. Some spend some time teaching something or another, but if that work gets too demanding, they let it go.

    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    I think the main point of the three different types of pleasure was that it's necessary to indulge them all simultaneously and in balance. Concentration on just one will lead to surfeit and loss of the pleasure, as you pointed out. (Though I read the material and wrote the post a year ago, so I can't guarantee that that was exactly what was recommended.)
    Yeah. Each style has it's own good feelings associated with it. But I think the good-life is harder to incorporate than the pleasant life, and meaningful life is harder still.

    I still savor a good meal, love a hot shower, enjoy the sounds of a busy city or that of nature. But these get blunted over time.

    I may be going through a(n early?) mid-life crisis. It's an identity crisis of some sort at least. For a while, I thought I knew what my strengths were, and how these were used to manifest good (in the nearly universal sense) things. But, somehow, all that changed. The things I had identified as my strengths, turned out to be ephemeral, or at least fickle in producing value in the world. So I am now in search of more permanent strengths.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    That maybe true. I don't know many people in the 70+ range. However, most people in their 50's and 60's I know (granted, they're mostly retirees who spend an awful amount of time playing social chess) seem quite content with their life over all. Some spend some time teaching something or another, but if that work gets too demanding, they let it go.
    Probably depends on personality type to some extent. The 50s is a wonderful time for me as an INFP. I finally have achieved some self-acceptance, and my scope or reach is greater than ever before. But other personality types may see it as a time of physical and personal decline.

    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Yeah. Each style has it's own good feelings associated with it. But I think the good-life is harder to incorporate than the pleasant life, and meaningful life is harder still.
    Again, depends on the personality type. NFs can be attracted to the meaningful life above all (finding meaning in serving others) and pursue it until they feel spent and burnt out. NTs often seem good at achieving the good life (finding a good niche for their talents), but can end up in a dead end because they never look past their signature strengths to see what else might be of value in the world.

    So maybe there's good feedback to be gained in pursuing all three paths simultaneously. If you get too wrapped up in one path, you'll get reminders from the other paths that there is more to life.

    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    I may be going through a(n early?) mid-life crisis. It's an identity crisis of some sort at least. For a while, I thought I knew what my strengths were, and how these were used to manifest good (in the nearly universal sense) things. But, somehow, all that changed. The things I had identified as my strengths, turned out to be ephemeral, or at least fickle in producing value in the world. So I am now in search of more permanent strengths.
    I don't know--Reality check? You may have reached the limits of your strengths for now. Maybe pursuing the other two paths (compelling you to develop and appreciate your weaker areas) will open some new avenues. Your strengths will still be there for you, and the other two paths will lead you to new fields of endeavor in which you can apply your strengths anew.

    Or something like that...

  9. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    So maybe there's good feedback to be gained in pursuing all three paths simultaneously. If you get too wrapped up in one path, you'll get reminders from the other paths that there is more to life.



    I don't know--Reality check? You may have reached the limits of your strengths for now. Maybe pursuing the other two paths (compelling you to develop and appreciate your weaker areas) will open some new avenues. Your strengths will still be there for you, and the other two paths will lead you to new fields of endeavor in which you can apply your strengths anew.

    Or something like that...
    Thanks for the insights FineLine. I had some more personal thoughts to share, but I thought it would be better reserved for my blog.

    EDIT: here is a direct link to info. about the three paths to happiness that FineLine and I were talking about.
    Last edited by ygolo; 01-19-2008 at 06:13 PM. Reason: Added a link for reference

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  10. #40

    Default Nearly Universally Acknowledged Virtues

    Another excerpt from the book:

    While psychology may have neglected virtue, religion and philosophy most assuredly have not, and there is astonishing convergence across the millennia and across cultures about virtue and strength. Confucius, Aristotle, Aquinas, the Bushido samurai code, the Bhagavad-Gita, and other venerable traditions disagree on the details, but all of these codes include six core virtues:
    • Wisdom and knowledge
    • Courage
    • Love and humanity
    • Justice
    • Temperance
    • Spirituality and transcendence
    What do you guys think?

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

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