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The Psychology of Happiness is a Fuzzy Logic
Posted 1/9/10 , edited 1/10/10
The Marriam-Webster's Online Dictionary defines the word deceive as:

Main Entry: de·ceive
So when I say that our psychology of happiness is a fuzzy logic, could this means that we've being lying to ourselves with our pursuit of happiness as the greatest joy in our lifetime? That just like the mythical Blue Bird of Happiness, our pleasure derives from the illusion of the search for something that's not real?

First, let's look back in 1954 at McGill University, the year that James Olds with his team of psychologists accidentally found what he believed to be the pleasure central in rats' brains:

However, when we read further into the article, we discover that thanks to today's neurophysiology, that part of our brain is actually responsible for our "seeking" and "wanting" behaviors. And not for the sake of pleasure. But what we should take with us is the fact that our brains can easily be hijacked into repetitive seeking and wanting behaviors, due to chemical imbalance of dopamine in our brains.

Next, I would like us to have a look at this video presentation called "Benjamin Wallace on the price of happiness". Now, assuming that we've all seen the said video, we should be mindful that our pleasure derives from our perceptive expectation of the experience, rather than the actual experience itself in retrospect. Furthermore, when the reality of the experience isn't all that pleasant, our pleasure based on our expectation OTOH suffers no deviation on its perceived value. In other words, we can derive pleasure out of sheer hype, even when it's got nothing to do with our actual surroundings.

This is why I think our psychology of happiness is a fuzzy logic of often mistaken hypes at the end of some wild goose-chases. And the more we aim those hypes at our immediate future, the easier we'll be mistaken due to our seeking and wanting behavioral pattern wishes to reengage itself. Just like this video called "Dan Gilbert on our mistaken expectations" demonstrated how easily we can have false expectations on anything, while we keep undervaluing the impact of our own behaviors.

So what do these all add up to?(AKA "but wait, there's more" ) Well when we consider that our constitution is to protect our individual dignity and freedom at our own individual pursuit of "happiness", what we've got ourselves here is a guarantee for "The American Dream" scenario. And as if that wasn't enough, on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, we've got the Japanese society on the verge of collapse for the exact same reason.

But thankfully, as any good designer should know, what's predictable is also designable. Therefore I think our human civilization can be remodeled based on human engineering by nature's design, when we can understand our human nature by us knowing how our human mind works. And there are already promising breakthroughs in that department.

Imagine our individual short-term happiness based on hype at the end of a chase is like micromanagement, a macro-management of happiness is therefore a long-term social interdependency based on individual life purpose at every envisioning about the future. Don't just settle over for petty gratifications that's easy and self-serving, when our brains are designed in the first place to adapt and adopt big changes. We shouldn't keep loosing our sight on what's truly important, just because it's so easy for us to give into what seems to be the social norm.

Let me give another example at how we can all find that deeper sense of happiness, rather than just keep fulfilling ourselves with a superficial sense of pleasure.

I'll invoke the Taoism example of a Zen moment, which is the sense of accomplishment when one mentally figured out something. In Western analogy, this is known as the "Aha!" or "Eureka!" moment. And basically we're all equipped with this mechanism in our brains, to be precise it's what we all get when we all got the same joke.

Think about it, what's so empirically and evolutionary important about the mechanism to understand humor, that natural selection want all of us to have? Well to be frank it allows our brains to enter a mental state that's more acceptable to change. In fact, self-depicted humor is what we do best individually when we admitted to ourselves that we made a mistake, and then we'll move on to change our method because we got the joke, now get over it. Yes, in a sense humor can also act as a mental buffer to lessen the negative impact of mistakes and setbacks.

In the business of entertainment, a comedian tells the best jokes when he/she feels angry about something he/she thought that is wrong. And when the individuals mindset is in that state of invoking their humor, they also became less aggressive. It's also important for us to make clear distinction between humoring ourselves as to venting our frustration, AKA having a temper tantrum. For psychology has very different view about those two behaviors.

Furthermore, when we invoke the sense of accomplishment once again when something went right for us, it's more often in the case where we overcame monumental challenges. And although this genuine reward is only individually self-attainable, the good news is that it is also measurable, predictable, and therefore designable by any good observer. This is also one of the greatest evolutionary accomplishment that our brains obtained when they evolved what's now known as the frontal lobe; the ability to generate synthetic happiness in the form of accomplishment(citation).

However, when we engineered an external reward system for us to encourage individual accomplishments, this is when I think we failed ourselves big time in a major proportion. Simply by us ruining the only condition for individuals to obtain their own self-attainable genuine reward, and get this, when we rewarded them with an external reward before they could truly realize for themselves that they accomplished something monumental.

Not only that, what's so utterly astonishing is the fact that this "external reward system" is what religiously know as God's grace.

If you don't believe me, what do you think about the phrase "God must have a twisted sense of humor"? Or more empirically the often overused "Jesus died for our sins" scenario? And the reality in the world of business that board of directors want to attract creative and talented CEO's with great tenures and big bonuses, when truly innovative individuals will create their own genuine rewards.

Money can buy happiness? Not worth my talent.

A problem also arises when business and politics interjected their own "external reward system" into the field of science as research grands and academia tenures. In the interest of them wanting to exploit benefits from scientific research, thereby them gaining a powerful idea or concept to expertize their own morality. And suddenly, the intellectual debate in the field of science is for a horse being guided by someone on its back, by them holding a stick with a carrot on a string in front of the horse.

Therefore I ask, are we individually capable of becoming scientific intellectuals? Or is our political, economical, and educational systems are turning some of our most brilliant scientific minds into horses or worst, lab rats. For example, we've got Creationism in the West and Japanese Whaling in the East.

Another look at this is to invoke my personal approach; I did not get money for me engaging this particularly intellectual debate, when I enjoy stimulating my mind with challenges. Just as I did not get paid for me teaching others how to exercise, when I enjoy the benefit of an active fitness lifestyle. I'm not in any state of superficial hype or habitual behaviors when I'm in that state of mindset, but the joy that I derive from both social activities nonetheless give me great sense of accomplishment. But my humanitarian services generated zero economic growth in my immediate future, when they are future life investments on my mental and physical health and well being. AKA "use it or lose it".

And if this is making you feeling depressed, well then get over it. Only when you regain what you once lost through your own efforts, that's when you can truly be happy for who you really are. Otherwise you'll not be happy for something that's not naturally yours, while you keep regretting for loosing something that you never really had; depression.
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Posted 1/9/10

DomFortress wrote:

The Marriam-Webster's Online Dictionary defines the word deceive as:

Main Entry: de·ceive
Pronunciation: \di-ˈsēv\
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): de·ceived; de·ceiv·ing
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French deceivre, from Latin decipere, from de- + capere to take — more at heave
Date: 13th century

transitive verb
1 archaic : ensnare
2 a obsolete : to be false to b archaic : to fail to fulfill
3 obsolete : cheat
4 : to cause to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid
5 archaic : to while awayintransitive verb : to practice deceit; also : to give a false impression <appearances can deceive>

— de·ceiv·er noun

— de·ceiv·ing·ly \-ˈsē-viŋ-lē\ adverb
synonyms deceive, mislead, delude, beguile mean to lead astray or frustrate usually by underhandedness. deceive implies imposing a false idea or belief that causes ignorance, bewilderment, or helplessness <tried to deceive me about the cost>. mislead implies a leading astray that may or may not be intentional <I was misled by the confusing sign>. delude implies deceiving so thoroughly as to obscure the truth <we were deluded into thinking we were safe>. beguile stresses the use of charm and persuasion in deceiving <was beguiled by false promises>.(citation)
So when I say that our psychology of happiness is a fuzzy logic, could this means that we've being lying to ourselves with our pursuit of happiness as the greatest joy in our lifetime? That just like the mythical Blue Bird of Happiness, our pleasure derives from the illusion of the search for something that's not real?

First, let's look back in 1954 at McGill University, the year that James Olds with his team of psychologists accidentally found what he believed to be the pleasure central in rats' brains:

In 1954, psychologist James Olds and his team were working in a laboratory at McGill University, studying how rats learned. They would stick an electrode in a rat's brain and, whenever the rat went to a particular corner of its cage, would give it a small shock and note the reaction. One day they unknowingly inserted the probe in the wrong place, and when Olds tested the rat, it kept returning over and over to the corner where it received the shock. He eventually discovered that if the probe was put in the brain's lateral hypothalamus and the rats were allowed to press a lever and stimulate their own electrodes, they would press until they collapsed.

Olds, and everyone else, assumed he'd found the brain's pleasure center (some scientists still think so). Later experiments done on humans confirmed that people will neglect almost everything—their personal hygiene, their family commitments—in order to keep getting that buzz.(citation)
However, when we read further into the article, we discover that thanks to today's neurophysiology, that part of our brain is actually responsible for our "seeking" and "wanting" behaviors. And not for the sake of pleasure. But what we should take with us is the fact that our brains can easily be hijacked into repetitive seeking and wanting behaviors, due to chemical imbalance of dopamine in our brains.

Next, I would like us to have a look at this video presentation called "Benjamin Wallace on the price of happiness". Now, assuming that we've all seen the said video, we should be mindful that our pleasure derives from our perceptive expectation of the experience, rather than the actual experience itself in retrospect. Furthermore, when the reality of the experience isn't all that pleasant, our pleasure based on our expectation OTOH suffers no deviation on its perceived value. In other words, we can derive pleasure out of sheer hype, even when it's got nothing to do with our actual surroundings.

This is why I think our psychology of happiness is a fuzzy logic of often mistaken hypes at the end of some wild goose-chases. And the more we aim those hypes at our immediate future, the easier we'll be mistaken due to our seeking and wanting behavioral pattern wishes to reengage itself. Just like this video called "Dan Gilbert on our mistaken expectations" demonstrated how easily we can have false expectations on anything, while we keep undervaluing the impact of our own behaviors.

So what do these all add up to?(AKA "but wait, there's more" ) Well when we consider that our constitution is to protect our individual dignity and freedom at our own individual pursuit of "happiness", what we've got ourselves here is a guarantee for "The American Dream" scenario. And as if that wasn't enough, on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, we've got the Japanese society on the verge of collapse for the exact same reason.

But thankfully, as any good designer should know, what's predictable is also designable. Therefore I think our human civilization can be remodeled based on human engineering by nature's design, when we can understand our human nature by us knowing how our human mind works. And there are already promising breakthroughs in that department.


so what r u saying? that happiness is some abstract over rated concept that is misunderstood ,misused, and ineffieciant? that its causing pain and destruction?....? peace over war
Posted 1/9/10 , edited 1/9/10

JJT2 wrote:



so what r u saying? that happiness is some abstract over rated concept that is misunderstood ,misused, and ineffieciant? that its causing pain and destruction?....? peace over war

Not unless we keep loosing our sight on what's truly important, just because it's so easy for us to give into what seems to be the social norm.

Imagine our individual short-term happiness based on hype at the end of a chase is like micromanagement, a macro-management of happiness is therefore a long-term social interdependency based on individual life purpose at every envisioning about the future. Don't just settle over for petty gratifications that's easy and self-serving, when our brains are designed in the first place to adapt and adopt big changes.
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Posted 1/9/10
Firstly, let us identify the realities of this issue.

1, Happiness is an unbrella term, for the hell knows only what exactly. Using the conventional connotation of happiness, we will get nowhere. If we are to analyse the pursuit of happiness, it is better to use a more abstract definition for happiness: fulfilled incentives or desires. If what I desire is fulfilled or attained, I become content in that regard. Now, to allow people to do exactly this, no revolutionary solution is necessary.

2, We do not have a system, mechanism or technique for ascertaining what would bring happiness or a state of feeling content to individuals, so identifying the fact that people are being bombarded with ideology and morality and whatnot does not mean we can do anything to put them on the right track by pointing to what is important to specific people. We can allow them to ascertain their incentives and desires with more efficacy, but we cannot ascertain them in their stead and given our current state of scientific progress we will not be in the near future.

3, Any discussion as to what needs to be done in the actual world will have to be limited to how to allow people to better ascertain their true desires. To allow them to do this, clear, critical thinking must be taught, trained and encouraged. In addition, an atmosphere must be created where the attainment of any desires is possible, within reason. For this reason we need liberty.

4, Contrast human rights with liberties. Human rights are negative provisions to the extent that a person, for example, may not be tortured, given an unfair trial, detained for unreasonable periods of time and so on. Human rights are great, but they don't facilitate the attainment of desires as well as liberties. Basically, liberties are implied provisions to the extent that a person may do what is not classed as something he or she may not.

5, Current restrictions apply to fields that are not capable of injuring other persons in their liberties related to their own conduct. Liberties, in other words, does not entail that you enjoy the liberty to force others to forfeit it. You do not enjoy the liberty to force other persons into marriage against their will. Now, there are a few policy restrictions on this principle, such as that parents and guardians are responsible for the financial accounts and education of underage persons, but generally, if there is no public interest involved, limitations truly are pointless. Take for example some non-discrimination laws that may exist in certain countries, such as where religious services may not be refused to homosexual people on grounds that they do no accord with their envisioned rules, such as when homosexual people want a Christian marriage, which is simply nonsensical, as Christianity is an 'if - then' institution, and it is not compulsory to belong to it, so logically, they should have the liberty not to admit certain persons. But take the converse, where homosexuals are not allowed to enter into the legal equivalent of marriage, eg cohabitation, marriage, union or whatever. That again is unwarranted.

6, In my view, the right way to settle the issue is to grant individual liberties to groups and individuals and few rights to infringe those liberties, such as when human rights legislation labels the refusal to provide homosexuals with a Christian marriage an act of discrimination, as may very well happen in the future, but also, at the same time, allow homosexuals to enter into legal equivalents of marriage that are legal or even constitutional facilities and are thus, ideally, secular and not specific to any other cell than the populace at large.

7, To conclude this. Let me say, it is nearly, if not completely, impossible to provide everyone with the right guidance for the attainment of desires, and probably the least complicated and illogical way is to empower persons to act in accord with their wishes and ascertain them freely. Reality does not allow of complicated mechanism for the ascertainment of desires to function desirable, so until further progress is made in the respective areas, the idea should be abandoned.
Posted 1/9/10


I like this thread. Speaking of the American Dream, some say that you have to be asleep to believe it, you know, since it is but a dream. Self-deception happens to most of us when we aren't getting what we want out of life. I believe that if you are going to survive through the hard times, then not deceiving yourself very much is crucial. Happiness is a very personal matter. What one person receives from their actions is not the same as what someone else receives. A man can go his whole life doing something like crunching numbers and be content with it, though there are much healthier things to do. There are also some people who don't seem to know how to be happy, let alone find it. There is a great journey towards joy. It is sometimes a long road or maybe a very short one. Some people will create a definition of what give them rapture or simply do things the old fashion way.

The process of fulfillment in life is one where we must crawl through the darkest depths and climb the highest peaks. Everything has to be looked at to have some idea of what you really want. If you never find out what it is that you want, then illusions will be your only companion. The mind can grant you power, but it is dependent of whether or not that power has legitimacy.
Posted 1/9/10
sigh i don't really know, i am happy right now and i guess that matters but i am just to stupid to understand most of what dom even posted...
Posted 1/9/10


When mechanisms and regulations fail, people are apt to rebellion. This is often what needs to be done.
Posted 1/9/10

CecilTheDarkKnight_234 wrote:

sigh i don't really know, i am happy right now and i guess that matters but i am just to stupid to understand most of what dom even posted...


Dom is talking about how we often deceive ourselves into joy rather than discover it genuinely.
Posted 1/9/10

Jiggalo wrote:


CecilTheDarkKnight_234 wrote:

sigh i don't really know, i am happy right now and i guess that matters but i am just to stupid to understand most of what dom even posted...


Dom is talking about how we often deceive ourselves into joy rather than discover it genuinely.


well like i said that is just way over my head....
Posted 1/9/10

DomFortress wrote:


JJT2 wrote:



so what r u saying? that happiness is some abstract over rated concept that is misunderstood ,misused, and ineffieciant? that its causing pain and destruction?....? peace over war

Not unless we keep loosing our sight on what's truly important, just because it's so easy for us to give into what seems to be the social norm.

Imagine our individual short-term happiness based on hype at the end of a chase is like micromanagement, a macro-management of happiness is therefore a long-term social interdependency based on individual life purpose at every envisioning about the future. Don't just settle over for petty gratifications that's easy and self-serving, when our brains are designed in the first place to adapt and adopt big changes.


Very true. We need challenges! It is like a child in school who refuses to do his work because he doesn't have tasks that are worth his efforts.
Posted 1/9/10

CecilTheDarkKnight_234 wrote:


Jiggalo wrote:


CecilTheDarkKnight_234 wrote:

sigh i don't really know, i am happy right now and i guess that matters but i am just to stupid to understand most of what dom even posted...


Dom is talking about how we often deceive ourselves into joy rather than discover it genuinely.


well like i said that is just way over my head....


It's simple. True happiness, for instance, is not really granted by sitting around watching anime all the time when there is a much wider world to explore. People will argue with this by saying, "why the fuck would I want to get out and see the world when it is nothing but a huge, boiling crock of shit?" In truth, the world is beautiful if you can see past all the filth we've spread over it. I have struggled to find meaning or justification to my existence and still do. What we must do is endure our current situation looking ahead to a better tomorrow. The world falls apart when people lose all hope even though it is much better and more fulfilling to do something rather than not do it. Even attempting to do something helps. If you fail, that is just an opportunity to learn something new.
Posted 1/9/10

Jiggalo wrote:


CecilTheDarkKnight_234 wrote:


Jiggalo wrote:


CecilTheDarkKnight_234 wrote:

sigh i don't really know, i am happy right now and i guess that matters but i am just to stupid to understand most of what dom even posted...


Dom is talking about how we often deceive ourselves into joy rather than discover it genuinely.


well like i said that is just way over my head....


It's simple. True happiness, for instance, is not really granted by sitting around watching anime all the time when there is a much wider world to explore. People will argue with this by saying, "why the fuck would I want to get out and see the world when it is nothing but a huge, boiling crock of shit?" In truth, the world is beautiful if you can see past all the filth we've spread over it. I have struggled to find meaning or justification to my existence and still do. What we must do is endure our current situation looking ahead to a better tomorrow. The world falls apart when people lose all hope even though it is much better and more fulfilling to do something rather than not do it. Even attempting to do something helps. If you fail, that is just an opportunity to learn something new.


sigh idn as long as I am happy in the sense who really cares.... all dom is trying to say is i guess that if your not going out with friends or etc or trying to find your own happiness with other people than your not truly happy well to be honest i have never been truly happy in my life lol that's what i take meds for....
Posted 1/9/10


He is right in most respects. Medications are synthetic, so they aren't providing genuine happiness. When we do nothing but mindlessly self-indulge, we begin to rot down to our very core. We lose our drive and lust for life!

It is hard to break away from a set of habits. I know, I have come through some shitty phases. When we move ahead, we look back and think about how lousy the recent state we were in was so... dissatisfying. Our bodies and minds in fact resist change. That is why we give up so easily.
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Posted 1/9/10

Jiggalo wrote:



When mechanisms and regulations fail, people are apt to rebellion. This is often what needs to be done.


Rebellion as to substantive issues and values is fine and normal, it is the driving force behind change. Rebellion as to the framework used for regulating substantive issues and values is usually injurious and very often stillborn. It need not be, but it very often is. Take anarchists, for example, who readily forget the reality that millions and millions of humans are living side-by-side and on more global scale billions. People have irreconcilable interests quite often and some kind of balancing has to be done if we are to live together as a coherent society. There is nothing compelling us to live as a coherent society, I'm not, here, pointing to some deity, or deducible set of morals or anything, it is simply an 'if - then' issue.
Posted 1/9/10


Right. If people rebel, then then there will be bloodshed. Sacrifice is the idea, though it is harsh. People do live side-by-side, but are they happy about it? The answer; possibly, but usually not quite happy enough. There will always be an occasional state of influx between people. It is part of the system which we live and die by. People go to war, thousands or millions die, then the smoke settles and peace reigns for a time. All that energy we expel seems to have a good end result.
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