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Truth and Happiness

Any topics that are primarily about humanism or other non-religious life stances fit in here.
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Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: Truth and Happiness

#21 Post by Dave B » March 30th, 2011, 1:45 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

IMO, religious belief only becomes a real problem when people use it to wield power, and to convince some people to do harm to others.
I assume that means in the negative as well, as in the case of JWs and similar refusing to allow their family members medical assistance.

I also think it includes all those who stand on streets corners and shout out that we are all doomed unless we "embrace the lord". Some suckers are going to fall for it I fear. But those kind of suckers usually need a prop anyway (sorry if that sounds nasty, not intended that way.)

I have no beef with the non-evangelical believers, unless they come down hard on their kids if the kids question the use of religion. What they do in their churches/mosques/temples is up to them, if it is legal.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

thundril
Posts: 3607
Joined: July 4th, 2008, 5:02 pm

Re: Truth and Happiness

#22 Post by thundril » March 30th, 2011, 2:29 pm

I also think it includes all those who stand on streets corners and shout out that we are all doomed unless we "embrace the lord".[/quote]
I don't mind these. They're part of the town scene, the atmosphere. Like buskers and hawkers of dodgy gear. Also sometimes good for a laugh, if I've got the time to tease a bit.
Dave B wrote: What they do in their churches/mosques/temples is up to them, if it is legal.
Don't even mind the illegality, as long as they're not harming people. I mean, shagging chickens is probably illegal in most countries, but if that's how they get in touch with their gods, I'm not going to interfere!

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Dave B
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Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: Truth and Happiness

#23 Post by Dave B » March 30th, 2011, 2:58 pm

I mean, shagging chickens is probably illegal in most countries, but if that's how they get in touch with their gods, I'm not going to interfere!
Aw, c'mon, pity the poor chickens a little :laughter:
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

thundril
Posts: 3607
Joined: July 4th, 2008, 5:02 pm

Re: Truth and Happiness

#24 Post by thundril » March 30th, 2011, 3:17 pm

Dave B wrote:
I mean, shagging chickens is probably illegal in most countries, but if that's how they get in touch with their gods, I'm not going to interfere!
Aw, c'mon, pity the poor chickens a little :laughter:
As long as they don't put them on the meat market afterwards! :sick:

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Joined: February 27th, 2008, 12:17 pm

Re: Truth and Happiness

#25 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » March 30th, 2011, 3:22 pm

It's weird, but I have a complete sense of humour failure when it comes to jokes about people raping animals. In fact, they make me feel quite angry. Bizarre, eh?

Emma

thundril
Posts: 3607
Joined: July 4th, 2008, 5:02 pm

Re: Truth and Happiness

#26 Post by thundril » March 30th, 2011, 4:24 pm

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:It's weird, but I have a complete sense of humour failure when it comes to jokes about people raping animals. In fact, they make me feel quite angry. Bizarre, eh?

Emma
Not bizarre at all, Emma. Sorry to have offended. Maybe I've spent too much time with people who don't distinguish between animal rights and human rights, so I've become a bit dismissive of the former, in my preference for the latter . Should spend some time in healthier company?

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Bronte
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Joined: March 29th, 2011, 8:28 pm

Re: Truth and Happiness

#27 Post by Bronte » March 31st, 2011, 3:34 pm

Life is good now. But I have had struggles in the past and happiness isn’t a word I use much. I’m not entirely content either because I worry too much about my kids and their kids in today‘s world. I think it would be fair to say that I am now comfortable. I was a truth seeker. I grew up with trust issues and a lot of confusion about what the world and the people in it were really like. It seems the truth various with each individual depending on their view of the world and the people in it. I had to learn to live and let live for the sake of my own sanity. If someone handed me happiness tomorrow, I wouldn’t recognise it. Truth, on the other hand, at least helps me to make some sense of the world and the people in it.

Wilson
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Joined: November 10th, 2010, 7:25 pm

Re: Truth and Happiness

#28 Post by Wilson » April 1st, 2011, 7:11 pm

Personally I'd take happiness over truth or smarts without question. A happy stupid man is, well, happier than a smart sad man. I guess the issue is, how many IQ points would you give up to be 10% happier? Or would you give up 10% of happiness to be brilliant?

Naturally that's not a bargain that's offered us. At least the devil has never contacted me with such a proposition (smarter but less happy). If he did, logically I'd turn him down; but extra brainpower would be awfully tempting, and besides, if I agreed to less happiness in exchange for more smarts, it would be because I thought that deep down I'd be happier if I were smarter.

In thinking about these kinds of issues, it's helpful to consider evolution and how our personalities were shaped to increase survival and reproduction. It wouldn't be ideal for our species to be happy all the time. If you're totally happy and content, you aren't motivated to improve things for yourself and your group of family and friends. If you could sit around all day with a big smile on your face, not a care in the world, no ambition except to lie in the sun, you're not likely to use your imagination to make things better. They're already perfect! So for the species it's better for us to be hard to please, impatient for things to be more exciting or comfortable. It's good for the species that we want to excel, that we want to be recognized by others as at least competent and at best exceptional. That drives innovation. I think that a certain degree of dissatisfaction, almost a smidgen of depression, is built into our DNA, on average.

Marian
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Joined: August 23rd, 2009, 2:25 pm

Re: Truth and Happiness

#29 Post by Marian » April 2nd, 2011, 3:52 pm

animist wrote:... so I would always prefer to leave someone happily deluded than judge they should know a tough truth (as that's what I would prefer myself) - unless of course they really needed to know....
And there lies the rub. How does one determine if someone 'really needs to know'? Last night, I'm at a party. Discussion comes up where one of the women (all women party) says that she's been in a "FWB" 'relationship' for 3 years. She's going to have a discussion with this person to 'take it to the next level', meaning to go out as a couple. She's going to invite him out for his birthday.
I tend toward speaking the truth (yeah, I finally figured out after 40-something years, why I ain't so popular -lol) and asked if it was possible to go from 'Friend with benefits' to more than that. My personal feeling is 'no'. But I say that with 10 years more experience than the group I'm with. The only FWB can work is if both parties feel exactly the same but that isn't the case here; she wants more.

My friend sitting beside me goes on 'damage control' and says, 'Well as long as she is happy, then it doesn't matter'. The friend says, she's happy. I keep my bloody mouth shut as I don't want to make someone unhappy but inside me knows damn well right that she isn't happy or she wouldn't be wanting more. I think people, but often women in particular, sell themselves out and settle for the FWB for lots of reasons. What I can't understand is wasting time and pretending you're happy when you're not. Life is too short.

But the bottom line is that protecting her feelings took precedence over the 'truth'. Now, I'm sure that some FWB do make it into something more but they probably started off actually being friends and it developed from there but that's not the definition of FWB as I know it.
Transformative fire...

Marian
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Joined: August 23rd, 2009, 2:25 pm

Re: Truth and Happiness

#30 Post by Marian » April 2nd, 2011, 4:06 pm

Wilson wrote:Personally I'd take happiness over truth or smarts without question. A happy stupid man is, well, happier than a smart sad man. I guess the issue is, how many IQ points would you give up to be 10% happier? Or would you give up 10% of happiness to be brilliant?
I'd go for the less smart BUT only on the condition that I wasn't aware that I'd lost the IQ points and there wasn't any chance that I could suddenly be aware. See, it's not about smarts per se, it's about being aware of what's happening around you.
Wilson wrote:Naturally that's not a bargain that's offered us. At least the devil has never contacted me with such a proposition (smarter but less happy). If he did, logically I'd turn him down; but extra brainpower would be awfully tempting, and besides, if I agreed to less happiness in exchange for more smarts, it would be because I thought that deep down I'd be happier if I were smarter.
Have you seen the movie a few years back called: Ghostrider? Talk about making a deal with the devil in exchange for happiness.
Wilson wrote: If you're totally happy and content, you aren't motivated to improve things for yourself and your group of family and friends. If you could sit around all day with a big smile on your face, not a care in the world, no ambition except to lie in the sun, you're not likely to use your imagination to make things better. They're already perfect!
Oh, you must know some of the young people who live down the street. Sure, they're happy because they don't know hard times. They live in mansions and take 3 vacations a year and their parents complain about them being lazy every chance they get. Yet, these people are often the most miserable people you could imagine. So clearly being 'smart' as it's defined by the majority is not a route to happiness necessarily.

Wilson wrote: So for the species it's better for us to be hard to please, impatient for things to be more exciting or comfortable. It's good for the species that we want to excel, that we want to be recognized by others as at least competent and at best exceptional. That drives innovation. I think that a certain degree of dissatisfaction, almost a smidgen of depression, is built into our DNA, on average.
Interesting topic for a study but how could you measure what constitutes a degree of dissatisfaction or depression?
Transformative fire...

thundril
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Joined: July 4th, 2008, 5:02 pm

Re: Truth and Happiness

#31 Post by thundril » April 2nd, 2011, 5:00 pm

I'm not sure getting smarter was necessarily a good move, in evolutionary terms... Homo Sapiens has been around for maybe half a million years, and has clever-cloggsed his way to near oblivion! In strictly evolutionary terms, the cockroach is doing a lot better than us.
I reckon bonobos are probably happier, (all that promiscuity!) as well as been round about the second-cleverest critters on the planet. Hyenas seem to find plenty to laugh about. Warthogs and horned toads have a depressed mien, but given the degree of cosmetic disadvantage, who could blame them? And I really wouldn't fancy the life of an intestinal worm!
So maybe we've got a good mix.

Marian
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Joined: August 23rd, 2009, 2:25 pm

Re: Truth and Happiness

#32 Post by Marian » April 3rd, 2011, 3:05 pm

thundril wrote: And I really wouldn't fancy the life of an intestinal worm!
Well, I don't know...being at the bottom of a bottle of tequila might not be so bad... :laughter:

Cockroaches will rule the earth!
Transformative fire...

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Bronte
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Joined: March 29th, 2011, 8:28 pm

Re: Truth and Happiness

#33 Post by Bronte » April 3rd, 2011, 3:39 pm

I've learned from experience to keep my mouth shut. Most people don't want to know the truth. The only time I would be completely honest with someone is if they asked for my honest opinion and meant it or if it involved a life or death situation. So yes, I'm guilty of telling people what I think they want to hear. It's no skin off my nose. If they choose to live life asleep I say leave them alone with their illusions of happiness. Life can be tough for some people to take.

WhiteTree
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Joined: April 4th, 2011, 10:31 pm

Re: Truth and Happiness

#34 Post by WhiteTree » April 4th, 2011, 11:47 pm

For me the two go hand in hand,I couldn't be happy with beliving that which doesn't exist, or with untruths.
''Nullius in verba.''

Beki
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Joined: July 5th, 2007, 8:43 am

Re: Truth and Happiness

#35 Post by Beki » May 23rd, 2011, 1:07 am

Good discussion! This is what I miss.....

Like Nick, I tend towards the pursuit of truth as having more meaning - reason is what makes us human, to deny reason means losing an intrinsic part of who and what we are. I really don't like being around people who are determined not to use their brains, they are a waste of a good cortex! I balk at the idea of deliberately supressing knowledge of what is in order to maintain some false sense of happiness, what is the point of lying to yourself? True happiness can only come (I think) from a realistic assessment of what is. If there is something that is making you unhappy then you can try to change the circumstances if you can. If you can't then face up to it, accept it, embrace it and try to see the good in it because there is no point dwelling on things that you can't change. At the end of the day and in the timescales of the cosmos, you really are hugely unimportant so why blow things out of proportion. This too will pass......

That said, "truth" has limited application. There are things that we can know (provable facts) and there are things which we have developed in order to live 'better' lives and the two things are not the same. As Hume said - you can't derive 'ought' from 'is'. An example would be to treat others like you want to be treated. To show respect etc. These are not 'truths', but they are beliefs which, if put into practice should make for a happier overall society. We have developed these customs to move away from our 'red in tooth and claw' nature and have, on the whole done better because of it. But that doesnt' make it a 'true' and uncontestably 'right' way to live.

Generally I see myself as a pretty happy person. If I start getting stressed out an worried I think of all the good things that I have in my life (which is a lot). Human nature seems to dicate that we dwell on the "what we don't have" rather than "what we have" (perhaps this is the 'discontent' that spurs evolution as per Wilson above) but I don't think that you necessarily have to be discontented to grow and change - I'm a fan of lifelong learning for it's own sake....

But happiness is not the be all and end all either. Grief and sadness is a natural part of life too and it has it's place. Every so often (maybe about once a year) I go on a downer for no apparent reason. During that time I want to be alone and I've recognised that the best thing to do is just to have some alone time. It's weird, lasts about three days and then goes. But the fact that I've recognised that it happens and know how to deal with it means that it is no big deal. Again, recognise, accept, deal with it..... Hey, it works for me!
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. - M Ghandi

Beki
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Joined: July 5th, 2007, 8:43 am

Re: Truth and Happiness

#36 Post by Beki » May 23rd, 2011, 1:16 am

Oh and by the way - never ask me for my opinion on anything if you dont want to hear the truth. CanNOT be bothered pussy-footing around 'delicate' souls who ask for an opinion and then don't like what they hear and take the huff. It's total attention seeking behaviour - "let's talk about me, but only good stuff"....... :headbang:
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. - M Ghandi

Wilson
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Joined: November 10th, 2010, 7:25 pm

Re: Truth and Happiness

#37 Post by Wilson » June 19th, 2011, 6:38 am

thundril wrote:I'm not sure getting smarter was necessarily a good move, in evolutionary terms... Homo Sapiens has been around for maybe half a million years, and has clever-cloggsed his way to near oblivion!
Of course evolution doesn't care about that; it's not an intelligent godlike being with concerns about its critters. Evolution tends toward helping species survive and reproduce in a particular environment, and if the environment changes enough, the characteristics that were good for the previous conditions may be detrimental for the new ones. Species go extinct all the time.

Wilson
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Joined: November 10th, 2010, 7:25 pm

Re: Truth and Happiness

#38 Post by Wilson » June 19th, 2011, 7:07 am

Most of us who inhabit forums like this are proud of our brains or at least enjoy thinking about challenging issues. So it's hard for us to think we could be happy if we were less intelligent. But how about chimps or dogs who love life even though they aren't as smart as we are? And a lot of Alzheimers patients are happy! Most patients with dementia are miserable because they are frustrated with their inability to remember things, but some get to the stage where they are perfectly content - maybe because they've forgotten that their memory is bad, or that they should be able to remember things. Is that chimp, or that dog, or that happy Alzheimer's patient better off than a tormented genius - or even the average bloke?

Rhetorical question only. What does "better off" even mean in that context?

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