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  1. #11
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lightsun View Post
    Coriolis wrote," Why bother trying to attain happiness? Seems if we try instead to develop our abilities, to contribute to the world around us, and to help others as we go along, happiness will take care of itself."

    Coriolis if it became happenstance-then why don't the populace indeed fpllow down unto a road called actualizing and fullfillment with your gift?
    Because developing their abilities takes work and sustained effort. Contributing to the world around them takes commitment and follow-through. And helping others requires thinking of someone beyond themselves. (Of course, if they would at least think of themselves constructively, this would already be an improvement.)

    Many people seem to prefer instant gratification, minimizing effort, and momentary good feelings.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  2. #12
    Senior Member Santosha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    Why bother trying to attain happiness? Seems if we try instead to develop our abilities, to contribute to the world around us, and to help others as we go along, happiness will take care of itself.
    How so? Also, (I've been wanting to ask an INTJ this for a while).. why the emphasis on contributing to the world? Wouldn't happiness be easier to find through acceptance of what exists? Or maybe I'm thinking contentment is more sustainable....
    Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun - Watts

  3. #13
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    How else would one try to attain happiness? By just sitting there and wishing oneself happy? That seems about as effective as wishing oneself physically fit, or smart, or capable. One becomes these things by taking action to bring them about. The connection is less direct for happiness, but it seems related to fulfillment and self-expression, which require one actually do something.

    To me, acceptance is not much better than stagnation, at least if one is accepting something that is negative or problematic. Acceptance means one has given up on trying to improve it. You might argue that some things cannot be improved. I would counter that more things can be improved more significantly than most people credit; they just aren't willing to put out the effort to do so. Acceptance is often preached by those who benefit from an undesirable status quo. I for one am never happy to accept something that can and should be improved. In fact, it is often in correcting such situations that I feel most fulfilled and by extension most happy.

    This gets close to your question about contribution. The textbook answer, at least for INTJs, would be to look how our functions work. Ni shows us how much better things could be; Te shows us how to get there; and Fi perhaps gives us motivation to do something about it. Using our ideas to influence the world around us is a significant part of our identity.

    More broadly, though, each of us has skills, talents, abilities, passions. What should we do about that? Leave them undeveloped, and just scrape through life doing the bare minimum? Develop them, and keep them to ourselves? Better, but still limited. Yes, we can paint a thousand paintings and hide them in the attic, to be discovered only after our death. We are likely to gain more, though, by sharing some of them with others, which is their gain as well. In this sense, developing one's creativity and expressing or exercising it beyond the sphere of the self is one's contribution.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  4. #14
    Senior Member lightsun's Avatar
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    Hello Wind Up Rex it's an old format of mine. It did help with organizing. In the future I'll edit this.

  5. #15
    Entertaining Cracker five sounds's Avatar
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    Happiness is found by giving yourself to the Creator's purpose for you. Nothing else is satisfying.
    You hem me in -- behind and before;
    you have laid your hand upon me.
    Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.
    Likes Forever liked this post

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by lightsun View Post
    H : How To attain Happiness

    “Happiness is not the mere possession of money; it is the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. [... snipped]
    I'm mostly seeing a lot of platitudes in the OP: Flow, balance, finding one's "gift." But I'm not really seeing a clear description of a psychological mechanism for how Happiness occurs.

    Okay first: I assume we're talking about day-to-day Happiness (cheerfulness, pleasure in life) rather than, for example, some kind of longer-term self-satisfaction or vindication after a life largely spent in pain and drudgery.

    One theory has it that day-to-day Happiness occurs when an experience in the outside (objective) world mirrors the "sense of life" that we posses in our internal (subjective) world.

    Example: We work for many days (or weeks or years) on a project. As we work, we dream of its conclusion, of the accolades we will receive. Finally the project is finished.

    --Outcome 1: If the project is a success, we are rewarded with money and fame. We experience a confirmation of our mind and self on the deepest level. The positive feedback from the (objective) concrete world functions as an affirmation of the efficacy of our internal (subjective) consciousness. The world tells us, "Your approach to values is right; your grasp of the world is right, you are right." As a result, we are happy.

    Outcome 2: If the project is a failure, it is ignored by the outside (objective) world; or worse, our project brings upon us disapproval and abuse. Thus the feedback from the outer world is: "Reality is not what you think, your values are a delusion, you as a person are wrong in every way that counts." As a result, we are unhappy.

    This can even happen on the level of watching a TV show or seeing a piece of art or watching a political debate. To the degree that the experience accords with our internal world view (our "sense of life"), we gain a sense of security, confirmation, and happiness. On the other hand, to the degree that the TV show, piece of art, or political debate rattles us and forces us to confront uncomfortable truths, we are unhappy. (Perhaps we are subsequently convinced by the new experience and motivated to change our viewpoint to match the new experience, leading to future happiness; but at the time of the experience itself, the emotion is usually unhappiness.)

    Again, the definition: Happiness occurs when an experience in the outside (objective) world mirrors the "sense of life" that we posses in our internal (subjective) world.

    In a way, this definition is over-simplistic. One could respond, "Well, of course. When things go my way, I'm happy. When things go against me, I'm unhappy." Still, such a definition is useful, because it breaks the idea of Happiness down into three neat components, each with their own rules:

    The outside (objective) world: Some people would deny the ability of the outside world to affect us, assuming we can maintain an appropriate philosophical or spiritual detachment. But the outer world is real, and it affects us. If we fall down down a set of concrete stairs, we'll bear the bruises. And if we swim against the current in all our pursuits, we'll spend our lives exhausted and floundering. Align yourself with the rules of the world, and it's simply easier to be happy.

    Mirroring: This is one of the most powerful psychological phenomena of all. 1) Mirroring helps us learn. Scientists have discovered "mirror neurons" in our brain. When we watch someone do something, brain scans show that our brains light up as though we ourselves were doing the same task (even though we're just watching). 2) The degree to which our parents notice us and mirror our concerns and needs in our youth determine things like our self-esteem and confidence later in life. 3) Mirroring is a key function of things like empathy and active listening: To the degree that we mirror the needs and concerns of others, we establish a bond with others and gain their trust.

    Not only do we need people to mirror us, but we also seek mirroring in the world at large. Success tells us we're on-track; failure tells us we've gotten off-track somehow and are floundering in haze and anonymity.

    Sense of life: This is a conglomerate of our wants, needs, values, hopes, dreams, etc. It's a big bundle of things accumulated over our lifetime, and much of it gets tucked away in our subconscious and automatized for instant consultation and retrieval. From this, we get emotions: Our subconscious "sense of life" gets tickled in a positive or negative way by outside experiences, and positive or negative emotions well up from our subconscious in response.

    The trouble with our "sense of life" is that, being largely subconscious, it can be hard to access and very resistant to change. It can also be horribly out of date, stocked full of childish concepts, dreams, and fears that never get validated in the outside adult world. It can also be horribly short-term in nature, filling us full of pleasure when we eat candy and ice cream but later reacting with displeasure when we're fat and ill as a result of eating all that candy and ice cream. This is the problem with emotions (as opposed to Reason): Emotions are short-term and bad at cost-benefit analyses.

    ************************

    Okay, that's about it for definitions. One thing remains: If you're unhappy, how do you achieve Happiness?

    Well, looking at the definitions above, the answer seems pretty clear.

    The outside (objective) world: You can't change the rules of the outer world. Sure, you can lobby for changes in legislation for months and years and get an occasional victory or get your favorite candidate elected. But we're talking about Happiness on the day-to-day level, not social change. On the day-to-day level, you pretty much have to have to adjust to the world rather than insist on the opposite.

    Mirroring: Pretty much the same as the outside world, that is, you can't really change the rules of mirroring. "No man is an island," and all that. Lack of mirroring is a form of "swimming against the current": It can work for a while, but eventually you feel adrift and start wondering what it's all about. It's the problem of the religious hermit in the cave: At first he creates a form of "internal mirroring" by imagining that God smiles upon his endeavors. But it takes a lot of energy to create that type of internal self-mirroring, and over time most hermits complain of being assailed by doubts and fears. It's why solitary confinement is such a severe punishment: We crave mirroring. Hermits and criminals have, in fact, lived entire lives in solitary confinement, voluntarily or otherwise; it's doable. But it's a form of "swimming against the current," and one doesn't imagine that criminals and hermits are happy people. A life of solitude (absence of mirroring) isn't a recipe for day-to-day Happiness.

    "Sense of life": Obviously, here is the most changeable item, the item most directly accessible to any one individual. Be a good observer of the world around you, soak up the lessons of life and apply them in your own daily actions, and align yourself with the rewards of life rather than banging your head against walls and running a gauntlet of punishments. The extroverted businessman is kind of the apotheosis of this outlook on life; the introverted philosopher building castles in the sky is kind of the opposite.

    Naturally, introverted philosophers will rise up and claim that castles in the sky have their rewards as well. And I don't disagree. But this thread is about day-to-day Happiness (cheerfulness, pleasure). And successful, extroverted, older businessmen with lots of life experience and lots of successes under their belt tend to be better at day-do-day Happiness.

    But let's look at the introverted philosopher in more detail. Let's say we have an introverted philosopher building castles in the sky. Or maybe a disaffected Millennial for whom nothing seems to go right. Anyway, such an introvert is happy while living in his castles in the sky and imagining himself accomplishing great deeds. He would even like to become a professional writer so that he can live in his fantasy world all the time and get accolades for exposing others to it as well. Meantime, however, life in the real world doesn't offer much happiness. And in fact, he can't seem to get much traction; everything he attempts in the outer world seems to fail or fade to gray.

    Well, he needs to pull apart his "sense of life" and see where it steers him into conflict with the outer world, denying him mirroring. However, as I said above, one's "sense of life" is a big bundle of things accumulated over our lifetime, and much of it gets tucked away in our subconscious and automatized. And it largely manifests itself in the form of emotions, which can themselves be problematic and hard to pin down. So what does he do?

    There are two main approaches:

    1) The approach of the psychotherapist: Therapists and counselors help you dive deep and unearth when and why you formed your particular "sense of life" in the first place: Why do you surrender control to others? Why are you so defensive around others? Why are you outraged when people disagree with you? As a child you formed the templates for your reactions to the world in your relationships with parents and family members; so what are your formative experiences?

    2) The approach of the life coach: They say, "Never mind how you got where you are; instead, let's talk about what to do with your life next." They ask: What are your values? What are your needs? What are you doing about it? They say, "You want to be a writer? Fine. But while you're hyper-focused on that one long-term goal, you may have other values and needs going unmet. If you unearth those other values and needs and begin addressing them as well, your path in life will feel smoother, you'll meet with more mirroring, and you should find yourself a happier person overall. That will make life easier for you over the short-term while you use the long-term to determine whether writing is in fact a feasible goal."

    Evaluating the two different approaches side-by-side:

    The psychotherapy approach is certainly doable. Group therapy is a way to get some insight while keeping costs down. This approach is good for those who don't have the focus or energy to dig into self-help books and do a lot of introspecting by themselves. Such people will probably get better results interacting with a live person or a group.

    The life coach approach is the stuff of self-help books. I could recommend a book or two and go into how life coaches analyze values and goals and teach life skills (personal boundaries, emotional skills, etc.) in order to align students more with the rules of the outer world. With greater alignment to the outer world, one increases the mirroring occurring in their lives (thus increasing their day-to-day Happiness). But I'll leave that for some other post.
    Last edited by YUI; 03-12-2017 at 03:40 PM.

  7. #17

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    Bertand Russell wrote a book called The Conquest of Happiness, its probably the better book on the topic out of all the many, many books I've read, I also tend to disregard a lot of the more recent happiness science musing and stuff.

  8. #18
    reflecting pool Typh0n's Avatar
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    I think what leads to happiness is different for everyone.
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  9. #19
    Wake, See, Sing, Dance Cellmold's Avatar
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    If happiness was an attainment there would be a method.
    'One of (Lucas) Cranach's masterpieces, discussed by (Joseph) Koerner, is in it's self-referentiality the perfect expression of left-hemisphere emptiness and a precursor of post-modernism. There is no longer anything to point to beyond, nothing Other, so it points pointlessly to itself.' - Iain McGilChrist

    Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
    "Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
    Piglet was comforted by this.
    - A.A. Milne.

  10. #20
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiltyred View Post
    Attain happiness = avoid unhappiness

    Amazing how well this works.
    It is amazing how well it works. Perhaps it is because we are attuned to respond to unhappiness, so it is easier to see than happiness. So in a way unhappiness is a pointer to happiness, and all we have to do is follow the pointer to where it is pointing.

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