23 March 2011

happiness is what everyone wants

Extraverts tend to be gregarious, assertive, and interested in seeking out excitement. An excellent human will be a person good at living life, who does it well and beautifully. What makes a virtuous character possible, which is in turn necessary if happiness is to be possible.

Epicurus’ ethical theory is hedonistic. Hedonism is the view that pleasure is the only intrinsic good and that pain is the only intrinsic bad. An object, experience or state of affairs is intrinsically valuable if it is good simply because of what it is. Epicurus identifies happiness as a more or less continuous experience of pleasure, and also, freedom from pain and distress. He recommends a policy whereby pleasures are maximized “in the long run.” In other words, Epicurus claims that some pleasures are not worth having because they lead to greater pains, and some pains are worthwhile when they lead to greater pleasures. The best strategy for attaining a maximal amount of pleasure overall is not to seek instant gratification but to work out a sensible long term policy.

In 350 Aristotle stated that happiness is what everyone wants (and Epicurus would agree). He also thinks that happiness is best achieved by a life of virtuous activity in accordance with reason. Aristotle does not think that virtuous activity is pursued for the sake of pleasure. Pleasure is a by product of virtuous action.

Stoic philosophers; Zeno believed happiness was a "good flow of life"; Cleanthes suggested it was "living in agreement with nature", and Chrysippus believed it was "living in accordance with experience of what happens by nature." (being yourself)

A number of attributes that correlate with happiness: relationships and social interaction, extraversion, marital status, employment, health, democratic freedom, optimism, endorphins released through physical exercise and eating chocolate, religious involvement, income and proximity to other happy people.

Evolutionary psychology or biology; what features are included in the brain that allow humans to distinguish between positive and negative states of mind, and how do these features improve humans' ability to survive and reproduce? Positive states of mind? Parties etc. Social positive skills, more reproduction?

Positive psychology; the results of actions that individuals deliberately engage in to become happier. - David T. Lykken,

The Oxford Happiness Questionnaire - an aggregate of self-esteem, sense of purpose, social interest and kindness, sense of humor and aesthetic appreciation.[8]

Stefan Klein, in his book The Science of Happiness, links the dynamics of neurobiological systems to the concepts and findings of positive psychology and social psychology.

A widely publicized study from 2008 in the British Medical Journal reported that happiness in social networks may spread from person to person.[ Happiness tended to spread through close relationships like friends, siblings, spouses, and next-door neighbours, and the researchers reported that happiness spread more consistently than unhappiness through the network.

Aging and happiness - Research in the US has found that older Americans are generally happier than younger adults. Young adults reported more anger, anxiety, depression, financial problems, troubled relationships and career stress.

Happiness is also correlated with the ability to "rationalize or explain" social and economic inequalities.

One American study found that people were happier after spending money on experiences, rather than physical things.

Religious people are happier and less stressed because of the social contact and support that result from religious activities

Buddhism - Ultimate happiness is only achieved by overcoming craving in all forms. For ultimate freedom from suffering, the Noble Eightfold Path leads its practitioner to Nirvana, a state of everlasting peace.

Mencius, 2300 years ago - He argued that if we did not feel satisfaction or pleasure in nourishing one's "vital force" with "righteous deeds", that force would shrivel up (Mencius,6A:15 2A:2).

Economic freedom correlates strongly with happiness. According to Professor Edward Glaeser, people constantly make choices that decrease their happiness, because they have also more important aims.

Positive psychology

1. Research into the Pleasant Life, or the "life of enjoyment", examines how people optimally experience, forecast, and savour the positive feelings and emotions that are part of normal and healthy living (e.g. relationships, hobbies, interests, entertainment, etc.).

2. The study of the Good Life, or the "life of engagement", investigates the beneficial affects of immersion, absorption, and flow that individuals feel when optimally engaged with their primary activities. DJing for me. These states are experienced when there is a positive match between a person's strength and the task they are doing, i.e. when they feel confident that they can accomplish the tasks they face.

3. Inquiry into the Meaningful Life, or "life of affiliation", questions how individuals derive a positive sense of well-being, belonging, meaning, and purpose from being part of and contributing back to something larger and more permanent than themselves (e.g. nature, social groups, organizations, movements, traditions, belief systems).

Mindfulness, defined as actively searching for novelty, is also characterized as non-judging, non-striving, accepting, patient, trusting, open, curious, and letting go. Its benefits include reduction of stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain.

Flow, or a state of absorption in one's work, is characterized by intense concentration, loss of self-awareness, a feeling of control, and a sense that "time is flying." Flow is an intrinsically rewarding experience, and it can also help one achieve a goal (e.g. winning a game) or improve skills (e.g. becoming a better DJ).

Spirituality is associated with mental health, managing substance abuse, marital functioning, parenting, and coping. It has been suggested that spirituality also leads to finding purpose and meaning in life. This research on the benefits of spirituality is limited, however, to mostly studies using cross-sectional questionnaires.

Self-efficacy is one's belief in one's ability to accomplish a task by one's own efforts. Low self-efficacy is associated with depression; high self-efficacy can help one overcome abuse, overcome eating disorders, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. High self-efficacy also improves the immune system, aids in stress management, and decreases pain.[25]

A related but somewhat differing concept is Personal effectiveness which is primarily concerned with the methodologies of planning and implementation of accomplishment.

Learned optimism is the idea that a talent for joy, like any other, can be cultivated. It is contrasted with learned helplessness. Learning optimism is done by consciously challenging self talk if it describes a negative event as a personal failure that permanently affects all areas of the person's life.

According to Clifton and Rath [26] ninety nine out of one hundred people would prefer to be around positive people.

Hope is a learned style of goal-directed thinking in which the person utilizes both pathways thinking (the perceived capacity to find routes to desired goals) and agency thinking (the requisite motivations to use those routes)[27]

The hedonic treadmill, also known as hedonic adaptation, is the tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes. "A systematic study of 22 people who won major lotteries found that they reverted to their baseline level of happiness over time, winding up no happier than 22 matched controls"

The paradox of hedonism, also called the pleasure paradox, is the idea in the study of ethics which points out that pleasure and happiness are strange phenomena that do not obey normal principles. the paradox of hedonism points out that pleasure cannot be acquired directly, it can only be acquired indirectly. we fail to attain pleasures if we deliberately seek them.

Evolutionary psychology (EP) - much of human behavior is generated by psychological adaptations that evolved to solve recurrent problems in human ancestral environments.[1] our "inner world" is the result of complex neural structures and interactions in the brain. For example, our brains can perceive a spider, compute that it is a potential threat, and initiate a fear response.

Happiness is a state of mind or feeling characterized by contentment, love, satisfaction, pleasure, or joy. Aristotle said that the highest good for humans, the highest aim of all human practical thinking, is happiness. Happiness is properly understood as an on-going and stable dynamic, a way of being in action. Happiness (also being well and doing well) is the only thing that humans desire for its own sake, unlike riches, honour, health or friendship.

Socrates thought that all human beings wanted happiness more than anything else. Socrates is convinced that virtues such as self-control, courage, justice, piety, wisdom and related qualities of mind and soul are absolutely crucial if a person is to lead a good and happy life. Can a person still have all these qualities whilst their trousers are around their ankles and they are pissing in a doorway after the club?

The concept of freedom is one of the most difficult to analyse in moral philosophy. In one, freedom is identified with the absence of coercion; in the other, it is a capacity to choose on the basis of a rational criterion. In order for a man to be free, other men must fulfil certain obligations. Legal codes and economic arrangements, cultural ideals and physical tools must all conform to a certain pattern if freedom is to be realized.

Free will is the purported ability of agents to make choices free from constraints. Historically, the constraint of dominant concern has been the metaphysical (concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world.)

US & UK governments interrogating Iraqi “terrorist suspects”, vigilantes, clerical abuse of children in Ireland use methods that are outside the law

Freedom; a state in which somebody is able to act and live as he or she chooses, without being subject to any undue restraints or restrictions.

The BBC, a most respected institution World Wide in its education web pages admitted that the United Kingdom was in fact the worst offender on Human Rights violations before losing that esteemed position.

The Buddhist concept of mudita, "sympathetic joy" or "happiness in another's good fortune,"

So, when we were 21 and were invited somewhere we only needed one minutes notice. Get a call, someone says want to come to such and such an event and you go yeah, why not. You put your coat on and go out the door. Simple. Now, when you hit your 40's someone rings and goes would you like to go to such and such an event you find yourself reaching for your diary. Hang on, I’ll see if I’m free, you say. Now, in your 40's unless you get at least a week’s notice, preferably a month, it's almost impossible to commit to anything. Oh, how times change. Even freedom and happiness needs scheduling.

i could go out when i was young and stay out for days and nights on end; sleep on any old clothes line, as it were, spend all my money on frivolous thigns that just took my fancy and not worry about anything except what was going to happen in the next few hours. now it's all direct debits, budgeting, worrying about how i'm going to get back to my lovely bed and whether or not i can get my 8 hours sleep in and set aside the much needed recovery time before i get back to work.

getting into these set rules and not breaking then every single time is so detrimental to the business of actually hanging out with your friends and having fun; one of the primary reasons for being alive i think. does a venue have comfortable seats? should not be the primary reason for actually going to a place. Does hitting 40 distort primary motivations?