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Increasing comforts - > Decreasing Happiness ?

  1. Sep 24, 2006 #1
    Increasing comforts - > Decreasing Happiness ???

    My value education sir gave us this topic for group discussion.

    He told us that a survey was conducted which showed that Bangladesh was among the happiest rated countries in the world while several developed nations were lower down the rating.
    Then he put forth the argument that happiness was completely from within, and he gave us the example of happiness in the state of "deep" sleep ( whatever that means !). In deep sleep, according to him, all external factors are absent and yet we feel happy, and so happiness is not in other objects. He did not give any other instances to substantiate his arguments.

    Now, I feel that happiness is both within and without us, and that increasing comforts do indeed increase happiness. In the case of deep sleep, if we are completely happy, then why do we wake up?
    Also, I don't think that the comforts we get in life blind us in any way towards real happiness. Simple living is just not going to get us anywhere, let alone happiness.

    Any comments on this topic will be appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 24, 2006 #2
    Well it's an interesting topic but kind of vague..

    If I sit in a wooden chair with no pillow when I'm on the computer, will that make me happier than sitting in cozy big leather chair?

    Also about the happiness from within thing.. I think that a person can be both unhappy and happy in ANY situation, depending on how the person views what he is in.
    Some people might even be happy under torture if the circumstances are right, while others will be sad they won 320 million dollars.

    But like I said it's kind of vague..
  4. Sep 24, 2006 #3
    Happiness is a state of mind. In that sense, it does indeed come from "within"

    Best Regards
  5. Sep 24, 2006 #4
    Well unless you believe in some religious dogmas it is pretty well clear that we do not exist to be happy but to procreate.
    If we were to just sleep as a species then we would not survive for very long wouldn't you agree?

    Furthermore I do not think that happiness is not related to external factors. Happiness is clearly a genetically developed quality not some abstract spiritual platonic thing. "The mother and child", "the happy family", "father bringing the daily bread to the family" etc. All factors that conduct or support conditions for procreation or afterbirth care.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2006
  6. Sep 25, 2006 #5
    I'm sure the "value education sir" was using the "state of deep sleep" as a metaphor so the class could understand his line of reasoning.

    i believe he was trying to get you to understand the cliche "I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it."
  7. Sep 26, 2006 #6
    Well, cyberfrenzy is my classmate and since he is out of town, I thought I might as well follow up on this thread.

    I am pretty sure that he did not use it as a metaphor, and even if this was the case, I cannot make any sense out of it. For me, sleep is just a necessity, and in a sense when this necessity ( just like any other) is fulfilled, I feel happy. However, had I not been tired ( which is due to external factors) I wouldn't have been happy in sleep.

    I agree, but there are also other instances where we feel happy, and which are quite unrelated to procreation or afterbirth care, don't you think so ?

    My lecturer's argument for this is that if you are unaware of big cozy leather sofas (suppose leather wasn't invented at the time :biggrin:), then you would be quite comfortable in your wooden chair.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2006
  8. Sep 26, 2006 #7
    what do you and your classmate think now that you've had feedback here, and have had time to contemplate?
  9. Sep 26, 2006 #8
    I read the book, The art of happiness from Dalai Lama, probably the best book I ever read, changed my life. He says that for happiness, out life doesn't go how we want to go but we need to be around positive people, positive emotions. We need to focus on cause and effect. Sadness is caused by negative emotions. The more developed contries are, the more divorces they have.(although there are exceptions) Taking bangladesh for example, its divorcing rate is very low so people are happy w/ their family. They don't have as much of family problems as we do. Therefore, they are happier. It has nothing to do w/ comfort. It has to do w/ positive emotions being around us. Even though in America, we have it all, we don't have a good family. Every other kid's parents are getting divored. That is very rare over there.
  10. Sep 26, 2006 #9

    hmm, this seems to go against the dalai lama.
    i thought we americans "have it all" because we want the happiness that "all" brings.

    just kidding. i think your teacher is trying to get you to realize that all is vanity.do yourself a favor and read ecclesiastes in the bible.
    here you have the richest,most educated,most powerful man in the world come to his senses and realize that anything other than acknowledgement in God,and comfort in his own skin and bare necessities is waste,and vanity.

    here's a good line from a springstein song "it's a sad man my friend
    whose living in his own skin
    and can't stand the company."
  11. Sep 29, 2006 #10
    My god, someone figured out the reason for our existence? Why isnt this world news? :rofl:
  12. Oct 3, 2006 #11
    because o'reilly hasn't heard yet?
  13. Oct 3, 2006 #12
    I think the problem lies in being satisfied. Everything is relative, alot of comforts compared to a 2nd world country or lower is alot. But alot of comforts for someone in 1st world countries may not be enough.
  14. Oct 4, 2006 #13
    Also, most people have sex because it feels good, or because they have an emotional craving for babies. For amoebes it might be different, or not, but at least in humans we can see that having pleasant experiences is a major cause of our procreation: people procreate to be happy/have pleasant experiences.
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