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Old December 1st, 2012, 04:09 PM   #11
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The theory is that we cannot gain happiness by seeking it, rather it happens as a by product of something else. Also that people who take chances are more likely to experience happiness, because as humans we we tend to have the feelings of happiness when we don't know what to expect and when we are awaiting a good outcome. As an example when you take a chance on love, you never know how it will turn out, but whilst you are in anticipation of how the love will develop further - you maintain the feeling of happiness. There have also been studies where two groups of people could win a price, the first group get it instantly, the second have to wait for the price as well as it being one of two price choices, unawares to the recipient. The second group held the happy feeling for longer whilst they waited for what their surprise would be.

It seems that to sometimes open yourself up to random events and allow yourself not to focus too deeply on specific elements of your life, you may be happier. Focus on happiness as a goal and you may never reach it.

"Pleasure is, and must remain, a side-effect or by-product, and is destroyed and spoiled to the degree to which it is made a goal in itself.." - Viktor Frankl

Paradox of hedonism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



What do you guys think?
Far as I can tell such "paradox" is just philosophical speculation not based on actual scientific research.

Modern psychological research has repeatedly shown that happiness can actually be not only actively sought but even synthesized by each and anyone of us; the works of Dan Gilbert are a notable example
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Old December 1st, 2012, 06:27 PM   #12

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There was something I remember from reading an article many many years ago, while I was still a student.

It said that there is no such thing as happiness, but only the anticipation of happiness.

If you really think about it, it's true. For instance, you're getting a new car. You're happy only between the moment you knew you're getting it until the moment you actually get it, at which point there's no more happiness, because there's no more anticipation.

In my student days, what with the limited funds, I always took my time when buying something new, like a shirt, jacket, a music casette. I'd go to a shop several times before actually buying a jacket I liked. Unless there was a limited quantity, in which case, I'd leave a small deposit as earnest money. Window shopping gave me more pleasure, and for longer, than the actual buying.

Like the sages say, happiness is not a destination, but the journey you undertake towards that destination. So, just enjoy the effort, and do not worry about the outcome. Just do the best you can, then accept whatever outcome you get. That acceptance is key.
As for the general topic of the thread- its biochemical. A lot of the things that people think make them happy- sex, spending, etc. release endorphans in the brain the same as doing drugs. Just like drugs, there is a law of diminishing returns until they have to engage in the beahvior just to feel normal. The trick is not to overindulge.

As for the car metaphor, when I was young I had Ford ranger that I bought with 200,000 miles on it, I ran it up to 550,000, and gave it away to a kid who got some use of it.

I vowed that when the crappy Saturn I had after broke down, I would get another Ranger. I did, a 2008 with 22,000 miles on it.

I am happy every time I drive the thing. To me, it is a Rolls Royce, a Cadilac, whatever. My faith in the quality of the vehicle makes me happy.

The key here is that my happiness is not casued by a biochemical rush that wears off. So if you find yourself unable to make yoruself happy, look at your motivations and expectations.

As the Dali Lama said: Happiness does not just happen. You must work for it.
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Old December 1st, 2012, 08:15 PM   #13

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brisieis View Post
The theory is that we cannot gain happiness by seeking it, rather it happens as a by product of something else. Also that people who take chances are more likely to experience happiness, because as humans we we tend to have the feelings of happiness when we don't know what to expect and when we are awaiting a good outcome. As an example when you take a chance on love, you never know how it will turn out, but whilst you are in anticipation of how the love will develop further - you maintain the feeling of happiness. There have also been studies where two groups of people could win a price, the first group get it instantly, the second have to wait for the price as well as it being one of two price choices, unawares to the recipient. The second group held the happy feeling for longer whilst they waited for what their surprise would be.

It seems that to sometimes open yourself up to random events and allow yourself not to focus too deeply on specific elements of your life, you may be happier. Focus on happiness as a goal and you may never reach it.

"Pleasure is, and must remain, a side-effect or by-product, and is destroyed and spoiled to the degree to which it is made a goal in itself.." - Viktor Frankl

Paradox of hedonism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



What do you guys think?
If it is not logical don't waste time thinking about it.

I don't mean to sound bad, but too much abstract thinking leads to emotional problems.
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 12:02 AM   #14

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Originally Posted by cachibatches View Post
The key here is that my happiness is not casued by a biochemical rush that wears off. So if you find yourself unable to make yoruself happy, look at your motivations and expectations.
That is very good advice to anyone who is a 'rush seeker' of which there are many. Infact I think many us can be guilty of it without even realising that we are doing it half of the time.
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Old December 4th, 2012, 07:02 AM   #15

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Happiness tends to happen whilst we're looking for something else. When we try to aim at happiness, it eludes us, or it turns out to be a disappointment, or we're so screwed up we don't recognise it when it happens.

Risk takers don't necessarily find happiness any more than anyone else, simply because it depends on what makes one happy. Some people are happiest sat in front of the TV, brains in neutral. Others, like yours truly, are happiest when as far from other people as possible, or doing extremely stupid things. Some need family around them, a position I cannot understand.
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Old December 4th, 2012, 07:37 AM   #16

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Originally Posted by Brisieis View Post
Focus on happiness as a goal and you may never reach it.

"Pleasure is, and must remain, a side-effect or by-product, and is destroyed and spoiled to the degree to which it is made a goal in itself.." - Viktor Frankl

What do you guys think?
Absolutely true, I think.
And by the way big thanks for locating the quotation Briseis, I knew someone once said something like this but didn't know who it was.
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Old December 4th, 2012, 07:38 AM   #17

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Absolutely true, I think.
And by the way big thanks for locating the quotation Briseis, I knew someone once said something like this but didn't know who it was.
You're welcome. I too recall the quote but couldn't put my finger on it.
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Old December 4th, 2012, 11:40 PM   #18

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You just said the words: You can't put a finger on it.

Isn't that another way of describing happiness? You just feel it. But you can't capture it and hold it, or keep it in your pocket. If it comes, when it comes, it comes.

Ok, one needs to do the slog work too, if one wants lasting real-world happiness. It's hard to always be happy if one doesn't have a proper job that pays one enough to sustain a certain lifestyle, a few friends, close family, a hobby or two etc. etc.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 02:43 AM   #19

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Originally Posted by Brisieis View Post
The theory is that we cannot gain happiness by seeking it, rather it happens as a by product of something else....

What do you guys think?
Basically it's back to the old Victorian maxim "duty first"
It was true, you know. I think we find happiness in the passing - quite accidentally on the roadside - like daisies. Or mushrooms.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 04:42 PM   #20

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This thread is titled the Pleasure Paradox but only talks about happiness. Are you implying that pleasure is the same as happiness? In my book they are different things. Pleasure is a feeling; happiness is a state of mind.
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