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Old December 1st, 2012, 05:40 AM   #1

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Pleasure Paradox


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

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What do you guys think?
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Old December 1st, 2012, 07:35 AM   #2
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Interesting. I'd call it the rainbow effect:
You can see it, but you can't touch it.

Though I don't really understand how waiting for a surprise can make you happy.
I get anxious if I am waiting for a surprise, that it might turn out to be something I fear or otherwise don't want.

Last edited by philosopher; December 1st, 2012 at 07:42 AM.
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Old December 1st, 2012, 09:30 AM   #3

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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.

Last edited by Dreamhunter; December 1st, 2012 at 09:38 AM.
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Old December 1st, 2012, 09:34 AM   #4

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamhunter View Post
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.

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.
It is some what true I think. Though I would say that some of us nurture what we get that makes us happy. Like the example you get with the car. One person may smile everytime they sit in the drivers seat - because they adore the car they always wanted and appreciate it. Another person may get in the car like it is just another material posession and moan that they want a better one. I think it depends on the person and their view of life, how materialistic they are etc... to how long that happiness lasts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamhunter View Post
..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.
I like that quote.
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Old December 1st, 2012, 09:52 AM   #5

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Now I recall a quote, which said, "Happiness does not come from having what you want, but from wanting what you have."

The guy who's happy in his old beat up car is happy because he's satisfied with it. He wants it. He's like, "It's mine. Of course I like it."

While the guy in the new car is still unhappy because he wants something else. He's like, "I gotta have that Merc." But if that Merc is realistically within his ability, it might actually give him happiness from the anticipation of one day owning it.

I think it also has something to do with habit. Someone who has learned to make it a habit of being happy tends to find an excuse to stay happy. While someone else who's made a habit of being unhappy will always find a reason to be unhappy.
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Old December 1st, 2012, 09:57 AM   #6

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamhunter View Post
Now I recall a quote, which said, "Happiness does not come from having what you want, but from wanting what you have."

The guy who's happy in his old beat up car is happy because he's satisfied with it. He wants it. He's like, "It's mine. Of course I like it."

While the guy in the new car is still unhappy because he wants something else. He's like, "I gotta have that Merc." But if that Merc is realistically within his ability, it might actually give him happiness from the anticipation of one day owning it.

I think it also has something to do with habit. Someone who has learned to make it a habit of being happy tends to find an excuse to stay happy. While someone else who's made a habit of being unhappy will always find a reason to be unhappy.
You make some really good points, I like the second quote too.

It is good to learn how to be content with what you have. I think these days too many people get used to being discontented (unhappy with their lot as you say) and constantly think about what they cannot have, rather than what they can.
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Old December 1st, 2012, 10:08 AM   #7

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"You may find that having is not so pleasing a thing as wanting" - Spock (in TOS, 'Amok Time')
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Old December 1st, 2012, 01:56 PM   #8
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Before you all go too hyped on the "happiness anticipation"-wagon, I'd just like to say that I am quite happy with my current life, and the grass is more green on my side. All around me I see death, devastation, destruction and sorrow and the grass is yellow and dry all around me.

I am just afraid of losing it all.

My life, and my way of thinking just prove you all wrong. My mind proves every single psychologist on EARTH wrong!

I just hate psychology, because it doesn't apply on me.
And I am quite happy with that.
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Old December 1st, 2012, 02:23 PM   #9
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Does this mean we're all slaves to what we think about things and not things themselves?
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Old December 1st, 2012, 02:41 PM   #10
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It entirely misses the point, because it offers no clarity on what happiness actually is.
Its a vague supposition about a vague idea about a vague emotion.


Happiness is actually easy to define and easy to identify why and when it occurs.

Happiness is the condition of being outside of oneself. Of Not thinking about oneself, of not being aware of oneself.

The less you think about yourself... the less you are concerned with yourself, the happier you are.

This is why happiness is correlated with being in love- when you are thinking about someone else and their feelings and pleasures.... as opposed to when you are breaking up, when you are focusing on YOUR loss and Your loneliness.
Its why people who lose themselves in work, or in a hobby report higher happiness.
And why folks who dedicate themselves to helping others are happier.


Happiness has nothing to do with seeking it... it happens, naturally, when you are too busy, too preoccupied, or too enlightened to be bothered with your own needs, feelings or state.

Happiness is being Engaged with a world outside of yourself.
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