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  1. #1
    your resident asshole
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    Default What gives anyone the right to be unhappy when there always someone worse off?

    There is many a time when people say that you have no right to feel unhappy because of the "starving children in Africa" or something similar.

    This raises an interesting point, though.

  2. #2
    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    Happiness and unhappiness are at least to some degree biological processes. When a person is depressed it is often because they are under a lot of stress then their brain releases adrenaline and cortisol for a period of time. If the period of time is sufficiently long (between 3 and 6 months for most adults) the high cortisol levels lead to feelings of fatigue and sadness and a sense of powerlessness. The person literally functions differently. This is what gives people the right to be depressed (ie the reality that feelings to some extent are not chosen they HAPPEN).
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

  3. #3
    WALMART
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    Relativity. First world problems. Yadda yadda.

  4. #4
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    While there's a good point in there to consider- because a lot of times unhappiness can be the result of taking things for granted, and reflecting on that which we have in abundance but forget to appreciate can indeed help us be happier- it's not like realizing that will instantly mean all our own needs are being met. Pointing out that there are people somewhere who don’t have food isn’t going to help someone whose primary problem is an inability to connect with others directly around them.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

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  5. #5
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    Does this also mean that if I haven't eaten for the past day I shouldn't be hungry, because someone in Africa hasn't eaten in the last week?

  6. #6
    Senior Member JivinJeffJones's Avatar
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    What gives anyone the right to be happy when there's always someone better off?

  7. #7
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    People who say those sorts of things are usually well-meaning but unhelpful.

  8. #8
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    I've always been confused when people say you have no right to be unhappy because others are suffering. Oh, others are suffering and starving... that reminds me to be happy?

    I think we are much more reactionary than we'd like to think. It feels better to assume we have unlimited free-will to control our lives and outcomes, but there is no proof of this assumption. When there is unhappiness, it seems more productive to look for the root causes and correct these. Is it a chemical imbalance? Psychological issue? Poor nutrition? Mind games have never worked for me. I can't fool myself into feeling something, and have found the problem solving approach to be much more efficient.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

    I want to be just like my mother, even if she is bat-shit crazy.

  9. #9
    Boring old fossil Night's Avatar
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    Emotions are transient. They happen in the moment and change with the stimuli in our environment. Barring biochemical defects, it's unusual to not experience most every emotion at some point during your daily/weekly life. Emotions serve as warning signals that we need to pay attention to something happening around us. The circumstance - and how we see it - then determines the emotion and the depth we feel it.

    To your question, why do people feel sadness at personal circumstance despite greater problems elsewhere is an interesting one. You'd think folks could reason away their typical frustrations when considering starving children or abused, oppressed peoples abroad, but we don't take perceptual account that way. By default, most favor their needs first and can easily justify being angry or upset - even after thinking about how hard other people have it.

    Emotions are all relative and don't scale to an absolute metric. So, it's not wrong to overvalue your problems even when they really don't matter when weighed against egregious problems others face; you're just taking care of yourself in the moment.

    Having patience with this makes you less prone to erratically move into a negative emotional state, but it won't prevent its recurrence at some point or another.

  10. #10
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    I've always been confused when people say you have no right to be unhappy because others are suffering. Oh, others are suffering and starving... that reminds me to be happy?
    I've always held the belief that to manage to be happy when others around you are not (and I mean this in a global sense) is an indication of something lacking in one's character.

    Also, I think questions of "rights" don't apply when it comes to internal states. No one can legislate for those. Even the US constitution only offers the right to the pursuit of happiness. If pursuing happiness is every person's right, then the fact that so many are denied that right is going to occasionally put a damper on your day. Unless you're entirely egocentric, that is.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

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