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Is the western civilization rich?

  1. Jan 16, 2005 #1

    AiA

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    I came across a time magazine article stating that America is so happy, upon reading this article I found it only reffered to wealth, america is so rich, america is so happy. Now if America is so happy, why is it that in the last fifty years suicide has jumped 5000%, that doesn't sound like happiness to me. Unless theres something I'm missing, and that theres more to happiness than money, is there?
     
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  3. Jan 16, 2005 #2

    selfAdjoint

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    That's been pretty much Time's line since it was founded. They were saying the same thing during the great depression. It represents the world view of the "I've got mine" segment of the US population.
     
  4. Jan 17, 2005 #3

    loseyourname

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    Do you really need to ask if there's more to happiness than money? Consider this: Were there happy people before the advent of money?
     
  5. Jan 17, 2005 #4

    russ_watters

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    IMO, people who think happiness = K * money are usually less happy than average because on seeing a doubling of their wealth, they don't see an associated doubling of happiness. That can lead to self-doubt and a downward spiral of depression.

    Money can be an enabler, but its important to keep the things money enables you to do separate from the money. Ie, if a rich guy likes to sail, buying a boat may lead to happiness as long as he remembers that its the sailing, not the purchase of the boat that he enjoys. If he doesn't like to sail and buys a boat because everyone else has one, it will likely decrease his happiness.

    edit: The corollary is also true: increasing wealth doesn't automatically increase happiness and it also doesn't automatically decrease unhappiness.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2005
  6. Jan 17, 2005 #5

    arildno

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    The neurotics among nouveaux-riches are quite numerous, worrying about facades, appearances, proper cultural interests etc. to a rather comical extent.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2005
  7. Jan 17, 2005 #6

    AiA

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    Well you speak of happiness, what is happiness? sailing? Like, you can't say happiness is different per person, for, for everything there is a standard, even what happiness is. Material things, like you said isn't happiness, so thats not it, so what is it, (mind you sailing is a material thing), so then whats left, self recognition, but that leads to obvious down falls. Like, when life is all about self recognition, there are three possibilities, one, you can lose, then you'll feel like a failer, cause all you want is to win, but you cant. Third is that you always win, that leads to ego and cockiness, these aren't good things I'm sure you'll agree, then the third is that you draw, then you live in fear of losing and hope fo rwinning, thats not much of a life. So what is it then, a combination of material things and self recognition, or is there something even greater, and waht is it?
     
  8. Jan 17, 2005 #7

    russ_watters

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    Sailing is an activity, not a material thing. A boat is a material thing, but you don't need to own one to sail.
     
  9. Jan 18, 2005 #8
    An interesting observation that I've made is that humans in poor countries and humans of the past often had a majority of their displeasures come from "physical" pain and other uncontrollables. Today, in the USA, I see a different story. Most of our pain comes from our own thoughts, largely our own desires, but this is largely dependent on our attitudes and worldviews. It seems to me that much of a person's unhappiness in this environment can be overcome just by changing our thoughts to eliminate the pains that we bring upon ourselves.
     
  10. Jan 18, 2005 #9
    Dissident Dan, THe further back you go into the past the less idle time a majority of the people had. Alot of time was spent working most of the day and that was pretty much it. The more "free time" you have the more you can contemplate what makes you happy and thereby try and seek out that which makes you happy. Now I believe what happens is people get caught up in what makes others happy or what the media hints at that could make you happy and consistently try to persue that instead of a real good self examination on what would make them happy. Also I think that some people get the idea that what gives them pleasure/happiness doesn't come with a slight down side. For instance if you like working on cars the down side is dirty hands and busted knuckles sometimes just to list a couple. What makes you happy is wether or not you gained some kind of pleasure for the effort , money, or whatever you put into it. Oh and by the way AiA I think (just my opinion) individuality has quite a bit to do with happiness. I don't think you can boil it down to any one specific "something".
     
  11. Jan 18, 2005 #10
    it's, again, very simple....doh.

    if americans or whoever VALUE money above else or nothing else, then they ARE happy if they have it in case they ONLY value money . and they WILL be happy counting the money during their last breath.

    it is one of the most BASIC THINGS ABOUT HUMANS....we can CHOOSE what to value!

    if i believed (or was cerain or whatever) that staring at a blank wall makes me happy, then that WOULD make me happy. of course things are more complicated than that, because average human values many things, with different intensities and priorities and from different reasons, consciouss or sub-consciouss, physical and psychical.

    it is all VERY VERY RELATIVE from society to society and furtheremore from individual to individual....just use your own brain and imagination, people!

    i'm sorry but you're asking and then memorizing how much is 4*5, 6*8, 8*9 etc, while you could just understand what the "*" does.

    don't you have any logical basis for conclusions of such kind??? Or perhaps at least some sign of wisdom? i feel so lonely...:-)
     
  12. Jan 24, 2005 #11

    russ_watters

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    Good post I missed before:
    It has been my perception that humans are worriers. In the absence of "real" things to worry about (such as, if I miss this buffalo with this arrow, my family could starve to death), the human mind searches for something else to worry about. This may be part of a survival instinct, but one of the ways it manifests these days is rich people who can't ever get enough posessions to be happy. My philosophy/worldview(apparently shared by pocebokli) is that happiness a choice. People can choose to be happy in even the most severe circumstances and in circumstances that are not severe, there is no excuse for not being happy.
     
  13. Jan 24, 2005 #12
    I feel that money does INDEED give happiness to most people. Usually by relieving financial stress and worries. It also enables me to provide for other people, such as children's college/etc which makes me happy. Money does provide happiness.
    Now I do not place money above most other things like love, friendship,hobbies, and so forth, but its difficult to deny that money makes your life easier, and thus happier.
    This does NOT also mean that if youre rich youre happy. The equation would be more like
    Happiness = Money + Sum(all other things in your life). It can increase your happiness, but cannot guarentee your happiness being positive.
    I also agree with russ on the fact that you can be happy in any circumstance if you let yourself.
     
  14. Jan 24, 2005 #13

    selfAdjoint

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    I think it's interesting that everywhere where factories have been built, and people in those supposed idyllic primitive communities have been given the opportunity to come and get hard, unerpaid jobs and miserable living conditions with maybe a radio or a cellphone, they have never lacked for volunteers. Those who could come, came, and we must assume they could judge for themselves what is the better life.
     
  15. Jan 25, 2005 #14
    Money can provide happiness to a certain degree. We need other things in our lives besides material wealth to be happy, though, as mentioned here:

    Love and friendship are two things that make us the most happy. This is because we are able to provide generously for our lover or our friend knowing that that person will, too, generously provide back to you that which you desire from him/her.
     
  16. Jan 26, 2005 #15
    Yes, I absolutely agree with you here. When I joined the Army we spent the first few weeks running around like our pants were on fire and our fearing for our lives from our sergeants. After about 6-8 weeks, things let up and we started getting a bit of free time. It was only then, when things actually became a bit more pleasant, that I had the time to look around and say 'what the heck am I doing here?'

    I don't believe things were better back in the past, just the opposite actually. I do believe that people were more ready to accept their lot in life because it was all they knew. If your father and brothers and uncles and neighbors all raised sheep, you probably didn't have much of a problem accepting that for yourself.
     
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