Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Happiness

Posts in Mat. Yg about happiness, and the fallacy of expecting happiness to increase with more possessions;

True enough, but the issue is not at this level "Why do we keep getting possessions when they don't make us happier" but "Why do we want to be happy?" It isn't exactly a tautology. I once wrote a short story about a group of scientists trying to persuade a computer not to commit suicide, and the issue was that happiness isn't transferable into mind as opposed to glands. Which means that there is no rational (non-tautological) reason to wish to seek happiness, and we ought to recognise it as a Darwinian survival strategy bred into us by many generations of extinct unbreeding pessimists. And when Mr. Yg says
"Getting the new phone will make me happy for, maybe, a week or two, but soon enough it's just going to be part of the landscape. That fact is totally clear to me, and yet I still want the new phone."

that is of course looking at the object as if it were a goal rather than the goal being the process; what he wants is to want and to satisfy wants, and the particular wants are determined by the particular role he is playing in his particular internal movie - who he wants to see himself as.
As Outside Counsel says,
"We live our lives as the stars of our own movies, and if the lighting and the storyline favor us, well, it is our movie after all. We account for ourselves in the way that makes us look like the people we believe ourselves to be...."

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