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The truth of happiness

  1. May 1, 2003 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    Is the human mind best suited for objective reality or fantasy? Which of these produces the most happiness? Do we humans really desire truth, or is this perceived desire due to false expectations? What is the price for [philosophical] fantasy.
    Last edited: May 1, 2003
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  3. May 1, 2003 #2
    We are equipped with an imagination that can picture things in amazing detail [dreams], I think our fantasies keep us fresh to continue in the pursuit for truths.

    An example of willing deception is religion, we have created an elaborate structure and ritual for a faith based lifestyle. Science strives to find truths, while religion is unchanged for 2000+ years, and we have found that things change over the years.

    IMO, the price is so many wasted lives, wasted in the sense of bettering the human race. People dedicate their lives to "human service" when all they are really doing is decieving people to believe their self-evident truths. They are, in fact, working against our species evolution.
  4. May 1, 2003 #3
    Studies have shown that people who win the lottery tend to be just as miserable as ever a few years later. Likewise, many have remarked upon the fact that impoverished third world people tend to be happier than their more affluent developed world neighbors. Sadists by definition enjoy torturing their victims while masochists enjoy being tortured. The question of which is more important to happiness then, fantasy or objectivity, seems likely to be entirely a question of context.
  5. May 1, 2003 #4
    Re: Re: The truth of happiness

    It's interesting enough to note that if something was right to begin with, it would have no need of change. Besides, religion is supposed to be a foundation for understanding, not an entire comendium of all that exists to be known. (Just making a point, it's not really relevant to the discussion.)
  6. May 1, 2003 #5
    Interesting question. However, I think that the two (fantasy and objective reality) go hand-in-hand. What I mean is that the things we fantasize about have - at least some - basis in the "real world".

    That depends. If one has a richer fantasy life then they have an "actual" life, then the fanatasy brings them more happiness. In contrast, if someone is really happy with their life, then the only things they are likely to fantasize about are either unimportant speculations (which they will probably recognize as such) or bad past memories (which are, obviously, sadder than their current "real life").

    I don't understand. Humans (as a species) do desire truth, but their (actual) desire may be based on false expectations (though I don't think so). Is that what you mean?
  7. May 1, 2003 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    Re: Re: The truth of happiness

    It often seems to me that humans need fantasy more than reality. Let’s face it, for much of the world life is very difficult. When we look at the bones of our ancestors, we see evidence of painful injuries, malnutrition, and very short lives. To a Neanderthal, a person of forty years was an elder. The recent ice-man found displays stress marks on his cheek bones that result from years of grimacing with pain. Considering these things, doesn’t fantasy seem a necessary consequence of a painful and difficult existence; and a necessary mechanism for survival? How effective a hunter was a depressed Neanderthal I wonder? EDIT: Please not that I realize that we are not likely directly related to Neandethals.

    In modern society, with our enlightened perspective on objective reality [I am being a little sarcastic here but this could be true] we find that pharmaceutical companies can’t produce new anti-depressants fast enough. One psychiatrist interviewed actually prescribes Prozac or similar for every patient. Also, as noted earlier in this thread, many people in “third world” cultures – ones lacking our own conveniences, comfort, and security, and which are usually steeped in mysticism or spiritualism - are on the average happier than us post-industrial giants.

    A very strong logical argument can be made that everything is meaningless, including our own lives. Now don’t misunderstand as I don’t see things this way, but it is not hard to make the argument. I know that no objective evidence exists that life has meaning or purpose. This belief must come from within. Since we don’t have proof of God or an afterlife, or purpose, or meaning, or reasons for all of the pain and suffering in the world, we find ways to believe in these things. I do believe in these things: for one because I have subjective evidence for them, but also I think because I must in order to keep a “sane and healthy” perspective. It seems that for most people, life may be too depressing to face in a completely objective way. It seems to me that a completely objective person would quickly jump off the nearest bridge. Hey, who wasn’t worried the first time Santa’s existence was questioned? Do we really want THE TRUTH?
    Last edited: May 1, 2003
  8. May 1, 2003 #7


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    We certainly desire answers. My spin on the ol' religion thing is that we are looking not to deliberately delude ourselves, but to provide ourselves with any sort of answer. Rather, religion is a manifestation of man's desperation for answers we do not have, and more importantly justifications to these answers.

    What about truth? Call me biased, but what sets science apart for me is that it is based on the search for truth for it's own sake. Scientists want the truth. At least, they want to justify the belief they have that the truth is worth looking for...
  9. May 2, 2003 #8
    Re: Re: Re: The truth of happiness

    You are correct, I did make an irrelevant post, the point that stament is, religion hasn't met the challenges it has faced in the present...it certainly has changed, viz hundreds of different denominations. Sorry for the wandering from the original topic.
  10. May 2, 2003 #9
    Can a persons life be so good that they can't fantasize [good] about anything but bad things? It is impossible to gain everything, which means there will always be something you will want in the future.

    I have heard about this, there is even a lawsuit filed against Eli Lilly for orchestrating a free sample mailing of the drug to residents in Florida and California. Much like ritalin being given to almost any child that exhibits "abnormal" behavior.

    Are these third world countries HAPPY, per se, or are they just not depressed? It seems logical to me that a country living in poverty could not possibly be genuinely happier than an industrialized country [even if many in the country were suffering from depression].

    Something to think about...Let's say a person feels this despair and lack of meaning, and then they "find God" and convert to a religion, this ultimately gives them a meaning to live. But can they break free from their past ideas of no meaning? wouldn't the thought still linger and possible cause depression? In American one can't live very long without hearing of science and evolution, with a little thought you would realize that through evolution, our sole purpose is reproduction and evolving, this appears meaningless to many. I think this could be the cause of much of the depression we find, and are finding more of. My mother believes depression is the 'sickness' of our generation [it appears every generation has a sickness associated with it], and I tend to agree with her, chemical imbalances are becoming more and more widespread.

    Santa is an idea entertained by children, a childs life should be, in my opinion, composed mainly of fantasy, it makes fora happier and more healthy outlook on life. Do we relaly want THE TRUTH? We do as long as it doesn't make us unhappy or interfere with our lives.
    Last edited: May 2, 2003
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