Does the truth make people happy?

  • #26
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Speaking psychologically, the real need people have here is to smoothly predict their worlds. Being able to anticipate, and thus control your world, removes stress and anxiety, promotes feelings of reward and contentment. This has been called "flow experience". It is why people enjoy sports, music and other kinds of skilled action so much. We can get into something and just do it.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199707/finding-flow

People also experience flow in their social worlds - when all is predictable and controllable.
I don't agree with this view of flow. Flow is a form of intrinsic motivation, characterized by
complete immersion, no self-evaluation, perfect control without conscious effort to be in control - when automaticites match any behavioral demand. In many ways a flow state is a deindividuation of self.

Social situations in the world at large, even if they are predictable and controllable, do not meet the criteria IMO. You may feel better if you think you are in control, and if you think you can predict, but it's a far cry from flow.
 
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  • #27
apeiron
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Social situations in the world at large, even if they are predictable and controllable, do not meet the criteria IMO. You may feel better if you think you are in control, and if you think you can predict, but it's a far cry from flow.
Why do people enjoy dancing, dinner parties and other social occasions where they "lose themselves" in the flow?

It is true that the notion of flow emphasises such a good fit with activity that it largely is about automaticism. But your habits are "you" just as much as your attentive level processes. And both habits and attention are anticipatory-based processing.

But if you have a better definition of what makes people happy, let's hear it.
 
  • #28
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Why do people enjoy dancing, dinner parties and other social occasions where they "lose themselves" in the flow?

It is true that the notion of flow emphasises such a good fit with activity that it largely is about automaticism. But your habits are "you" just as much as your attentive level processes. And both habits and attention are anticipatory-based processing.
Dancing is a good example of an activity which can lead to a state of flow. So it's playing music, high performance sports or doing sex with someone you are very well attuned to. Acting on a stage. And probably a plethora of other activities.

But not a dinner party IMO. I didn't whiteness any dinner party where a somebody is in complete control without being in "control" and whatever behavioral demand arise are completely met by automaticites. Besides, in most social situations (mob behavior / team sports ... and other several isolated situations excluded) humans will not de-individualize, they remain self aware. Their social self is too important to let loose in a social situation.

Yes, 2 participants to such a dinner may find flow while dancing there. If they are both extraordinary skilled , technically attuned to each other and they enjoy dancing. But as soon as they return to the others in society, flow is gone IMO. The social self comes and rears its ugly head.



But if you have a better definition of what makes people happy, let's hear it.
Genetics. This doesnt mean some thing do not make you happier and some sadder, you will gravitate in the some bounds from a certain level for the best part of your life.
 
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  • #29
apeiron
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But not a dinner party IMO. I didn't whiteness any dinner party where a somebody is in complete control without being in "control" and whatever behavioral demand arise are completely met by automaticites. Besides, in most social situations (mob behavior / team sports ... and other several isolated situations excluded) humans will not de-individualize, they remain self aware. Their social self is too important to let loose in a social situation.

Yes, 2 participants to such a dinner may find flow while dancing there. If they are both extraordinary skilled , technically attuned to each other and they enjoy dancing. But as soon as they return to the others in society, flow is gone IMO. The social self comes and rears its ugly head.
OK, let's get back to what I actually said, not what you misunderstood.

The emphasis here is on anticipation - a predictable world. And so a controlled one. This does not have to be your personal control. It could be society that is in control or nature that is in control.

The question is about why false beliefs would make people happy. Well it is obvious that ritual and prayer and religion give some people comfort because it says someone is looking out for you and is in control. You too can have control over the uncontrollable through your prayers. The whole ritual is designed to create a state of comfortable predictability.

You are chosing to focus on the ways modern western society stresses individual autonomy and so flow experiences fall back to this strictly personal level. How good you are on the tennis court, dance floor or work place. People pay for synthetic flow experiences like going to football matches or concerts or churches.

If people are unhappy, if the social self raises its ugly head as you say, then isn't it because they lack flow with their social environment?

Genetics. This doesnt mean some thing do not make you happier and some sadder, you will gravitate in the some bounds from a certain level for the best part of your life.
Genetics has an influence of course. But the OP was about the more specific question of why religious false belief can make people happy. So a nurture rather than nature issue. Unless you are arguing some people are just wired to "be religious" - which still wouldn't tackle the happiness aspect.
 
  • #30
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OK, let's get back to what I actually said, not what you misunderstood.

The emphasis here is on anticipation - a predictable world. And so a controlled one. This does not have to be your personal control. It could be society that is in control or nature that is in control.

The question is about why false beliefs would make people happy. Well it is obvious that ritual and prayer and religion give some people comfort because it says someone is looking out for you and is in control. You too can have control over the uncontrollable through your prayers. The whole ritual is designed to create a state of comfortable predictability.

You are chosing to focus on the ways modern western society stresses individual autonomy and so flow experiences fall back to this strictly personal level. How good you are on the tennis court, dance floor or work place. People pay for synthetic flow experiences like going to football matches or concerts or churches.
.
IMO going to a concert or churches is not a state of flow. It is indeed a state of de-individualization , and therefore most likely very useful for recreation but I wouldn't call it flow. IMO a concert is closer to mob behavior psychology then flow. Same for most church experiences. Flow is intrinsic. Requires autonomous control of the practitioner IMO. Not control of "god" , nature, society or the mob at a concert.

Some religious rituals may allow the practitioner to enter flow. Some praying rituals , eastern meditation techniques , zen rituals and similar.
 
  • #31
apeiron
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Flow happens at both individual and group level according to the guy who invented the term.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)#Group_flow

I only use the term because most people "get it" quite easily. If you want to debate the definition, take it up with Csíkszentmihályi.
 
  • #32
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Flow happens at both individual and group level according to the guy who invented the term.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)#Group_flow

I only use the term because most people "get it" quite easily. If you want to debate the definition, take it up with Csíkszentmihályi.
I know some of Csikszentmihaly's work. I wont take it with him, but with you, because your usage is what bothered me , not his.

Yes, flow does happen to individuals within groups. It can happen to players in a football team for example. But it's not collective. It's *individual*. It doesn't happen to the group, it happens to the individuals.
 
  • #33
apeiron
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I know some of Csikszentmihaly's work. I wont take it with him, but with you, because your usage is what bothered me , not his.

Yes, flow does happen to individuals within groups. It can happen to players in a football team for example. But it's not collective. It's *individual*. It doesn't happen to the group, it happens to the individuals.
And I could respond by challenging your notion of individuals and groups.

What is an individual? You think people aren't social creatures - that is shaped socioculturally? What is your theory here?

Mine is based on Vygotskean psychology and social constructionism. Do you have a theory here or just opinions?

So this is a systems perspective - one based on hierarchy theory and semiotics. Which is why I would talk about the property of autonomy instead of "individual". And both individual people and groups can display autonomous behaviour - acting as one. It is not a property tied to a single scale of organisation.

So be bothered by my useage. But respond with theory-based views rather than more general opinion.
 
  • #34
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And I could respond by challenging your notion of individuals and groups.

What is an individual? You think people aren't social creatures - that is shaped socioculturally? What is your theory here?

Mine is based on Vygotskean psychology and social constructionism. Do you have a theory here or just opinions?

So this is a systems perspective - one based on hierarchy theory and semiotics. Which is why I would talk about the property of autonomy instead of "individual". And both individual people and groups can display autonomous behaviour - acting as one. It is not a property tied to a single scale of organisation.
The fact the self and self awareness are undoubtedly social constructs does not have too much relevance in this case.

Groups do not behave. Individuals within a group may act in a synchronized manner, and their behavior may be influenced by grouping. Yet a group does not take a life of it's own, it does not obtain a new mind, independent of the motivations and behaviors of the individual members.

Even the most basic functions of an efficient group (let's say a football team) relay ultimately on individual cognition, even if it's distributed, and on the behaviors and motivations of the individuals.

We are not Borg.
 
  • #35
apeiron
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Groups do not behave. Individuals within a group may act in a synchronized manner, and their behavior may be influenced by grouping. Yet a group does not take a life of it's own, it does not obtain a new mind, independent of the motivations and behaviors of the individual members.
Take that up with your sociology, anthropology and social psychology professors. I can't really debate this with you as you keep confusing what is being said.

Who said that the different levels of mind or autonomy should be independent. The model is that they are inter-dependent.

Although, once you get into the detail of a systems view, there is a tell-tale polarisation that must occur (for it to be a system). The local scale must act by way of additive construction, the global by way of top-down constraint.

So as I've mentioned elsewhere, an important tension that human social systems have to equilibrate is local competition vs global co-operation.

But this is indeed getting into the details where the argument might become interesting to me (rather than a sterile to and fro). At the moment, you are not picking up these critical nuances.
 
  • #36
Ivan Seeking
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Science Advisor
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I just wanted to make it clear that this is not only about religious beliefs. It could include any faith-based belief. For example, I once took it on faith that the expansion of universe has a negative acceleration. Silly me! I don't know what I was thinking.
 
  • #37
apeiron
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I just wanted to make it clear that this is not only about religious beliefs. It could include any faith-based belief. For example, I once took it on faith that the expansion of universe has a negative acceleration. Silly me! I don't know what I was thinking.
But the difference here would have been is that you believed science to be a game of models seeking falsification so as to move on to the next level of modelling. Dark energy was an exciting discovery at a time when so little new had happened for a while to shake things. (And it was quickly accepted as "true" because it turned out to have been anticipated as the cosmological constant in existing equations).

A scientific mindset is reassuring because we feel we have a solid process that does home in on prediction and control of reality. The happiness comes not in having complete answers right now, but knowing this is the best route to answers about anything that might crop up. And when science slows down - it finds no new troubling data to keep it moving along - then we are less happy. Well, maybe that's just me.
 
  • #38
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Take that up with your sociology, anthropology and social psychology professors. I can't really debate this with you as you keep confusing what is being said.

Who said that the different levels of mind or autonomy should be independent. The model is that they are inter-dependent.

Although, once you get into the detail of a systems view, there is a tell-tale polarisation that must occur (for it to be a system). The local scale must act by way of additive construction, the global by way of top-down constraint.

So as I've mentioned elsewhere, an important tension that human social systems have to equilibrate is local competition vs global co-operation.

But this is indeed getting into the details where the argument might become interesting to me (rather than a sterile to and fro). At the moment, you are not picking up these critical nuances.
No, I take it up with you, since you are the one with whose affirmations I have a problem with it.

And about your so called critical nuances: strop drifting all the way through the subjects, try to express yourself clearly, with fewer pompous words and at the subject at hand. You'll have a better chance to make yourself understood.
So far everything you said is pretty sterile for me too.
 
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  • #39
apeiron
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No, I take it up with you, since you are the one with whose affirmations I have a problem with it.
Just love you commanding tone o:).

You may have forgotten, but you rather more politely PMed me a few months back and I provided you with a list of sources.

If you had read them, perhaps you would not have mistakenly interpreted my statements as claiming levels of a hierarchy are independent rather than inter-dependent.
 
  • #40
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Just love you commanding tone o:).

You may have forgotten, but you rather more politely PMed me a few months back and I provided you with a list of sources.
Yes I do, this is why I couldn't understand your "commanding tone" on saying "take it up with X or Y". Well, at such statements like "take it up with X", you get what you ask for. You where rather polite as well in PMs, thing which seem to elude you here.
 
  • #41
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TRUTH makes you free but LIE makes you happy
 
  • #42
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TRUTH makes you free but LIE makes you happy
The question is how far you can go with a lie before it collapses. The farther you get, the harder you fall in the end, metaphorically speaking of course.
 
  • #43
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" Certain things are indispensable to the happiness of most men, but these are simple things: food and shelter, health, love, successful work and the respect of one's own herd. To some people parenthood also is essential. Where these things are lacking; only the exceptional man can achieve happiness, but where they are enjoyed, or can be obtained by well-directed effort, the man who is still unhappy is suffering from some psychological maladjustment which, if it is very grave, may need the services of a psychiatrist, but can in ordinary cases be cured by the patient himself, provided he sets about the matter in the right way."
-Bertrand Russell-

Truth does not play an essential role in human happiness,even if he has complete faith in his beliefs or has no beliefs the things listed above make true happiness.
 
  • #44
503
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" Certain things are indispensable to the happiness of most men, but these are simple things: food and shelter, health, love, successful work and the respect of one's own herd. To some people parenthood also is essential. Where these things are lacking; only the exceptional man can achieve happiness, but where they are enjoyed, or can be obtained by well-directed effort, the man who is still unhappy is suffering from some psychological maladjustment which, if it is very grave, may need the services of a psychiatrist, but can in ordinary cases be cured by the patient himself, provided he sets about the matter in the right way."
-Bertrand Russell-

Truth does not play an essential role in human happiness,even if he has complete faith in his beliefs or has no beliefs the things listed above make true happiness.
Love, self-respect, or what you are calling "respect of the herd," is where truth and deceit plays a role in human happiness. People lie, engage in secrecy, or are otherwise deceitful out of love and fear for the consequences of people knowing things about themselves or others that could create problems. However, when others discover that one is deceitful, love or respect could be lost. This increases the impetus to engage in deceit to hide deceit. The fear that the truth could "come out" makes people nervous and constrained in how they think and express themselves. The truth sets people free in that they feel like a weight is lifted when they are able to just admit whatever it is they felt they had to hide or lie about. This is, I think, why religions that prescribe forgiveness do so - i.e. so people can gain the relief of not having to live in shame without losing love or respect of others.
 

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