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Will society allow happiness?

  1. Oct 19, 2003 #1
    Do people really want to be happy? Are people really allowed to be happy? Will society allow happniess?
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 19, 2003 #2


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    People aren't happy or unhappy because of society, or their possessions, or racism, or any big thing. The big things act on big groups, and within those groups are many happy people and some unhappy people. Of course everyone can be unhappy because of som circumstance in their lives. I'm not talking about that. I believe people are happy or unhapppy, long term, because of their own natures. Some people are "worry warts" and let every thing bother them. Others sail right through.

    And why are people different this way? I can only point to the success of many mood prescriptions and conjecture that it's brain chemistry that does it.
  4. Oct 20, 2003 #3
    I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Happiness is a choice. There's a chain letter floating around, and it basically pertains to a man who always chose to see the full glass instead of the empty. Some people by all standards should be happy, but they're miserable. Some people face dire and extreme obstacles throughout their lives, and yet somehow always remain positive. Most of us fall somewhere in between. Happiness isn't chosen by society. Society has influences on your happiness, but ultimately the choice is your own. There's actually a book floating around called "how to be happy with what you have". It basically has this exact philosophy. Happiness and sadness are emotions. Those emotions are determined by external influence, but ultimately, it's how you as an individual percieve that sensory input that determines your overall mood. Of coure there are extreme exceptions, but the norm is your own interpretation of your life.

    For myself, I can say that I've definitely faced some large obstacles in my life, but I've always overcome them, and managed to find a way to be happy for the majority of my life. In times of dire circumstances I've always found happiness in the little things in life to make myself happy. this has helped to make me appreciate the intricacies of life that most people find mundane, or take for granted. I've also learned to view obstacles in my life as challenges to be overcome. I know it comes off as motivational bunk, but triumph over adversity truly does build character. In studies of people who've encountered extreme trauma, hardship, or adversity in thier lives tend to handle bad situations better. This is because they are better equiped to deal with it- hardened against it, if you will.

    My philosophy has always been, whatever doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.
  5. Oct 21, 2003 #4
    I'm happy.
  6. Oct 21, 2003 #5
    Re: happiness

    Yes. There's no escaping that one. Whether one really knows what it is that makes them happy, or what it really feels like to be happy, is another matter completely; but everyone wants to be happy.

    Allowed by whom?

    Seriously, there are many obstacles to being happy, but if you allow yourself to be happy inspite of them, then you can be happy.

    Not always. Society is one of the things that serves as an "obstacle to being happy", sometimes; but, OTOH, it is also one of the causes of happiness for some people. It really depends on one's personal situation.
  7. Oct 21, 2003 #6


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    I believe to be truly happy, you have to be content with who you are, not with how much or what you have. Like Zantra said, some people are given everything that they could possibly want or need, yet they still manage to find a way to be unhappy.

    I dont think that people can really be allowed not to have happiness, individuals may try to make you miserable but that can be avoided. The only person who can stop you from being happy is yourself. It has to do with whether you see things optomistically or pessimistically which may be genetic, your upbringing, or a combination of both...i dont know. An exception to this may be people who have seen human nature at its worst during wars etc., some people just cant recover from what they have witnessed, it gives them an extremely negative view of humans and the world in general.

    I definetly think that society has an influence on whether we are happy. If the people that surround you are happy, then it is easy, at least for me, to be happy myself. Im sure you have seen the effect that one smile can bring about. However, if the people that surround you are unhappy, miserable, or pessimistic it is easy to be brought down as well.

    So having said that remember when your unhappy to turn that frown upside down! lol
  8. Oct 21, 2003 #7
    ok, well, that kind of follows my last two questions, about being allowed to be happy. Like, what if a person who has all that feels guilty for being happy, because they have all that? and they feel guilty because of the way they've grown up in society. To me it seems like people who have everything shouldn't be happy. I don't know.

    maybe i'm confused?...?
  9. Oct 21, 2003 #8
    It's simple. Don't feel guilty. Well, kinda simple...

    This is coming from a personal belief that feeling guilty is usually not appropriate or helpful.
  10. Oct 22, 2003 #9
    I clap my hands because I'm happy.

    Well happiness comes from within and is influenced extrenally. But if one learns to find happiness dispite the extrenal events then ones life would be more adaptable then one who relies on extrenal events to guide them to whether or not they should be happy.
  11. Oct 22, 2003 #10
    Happiness shouldn't be a major goal in anyone's life. Happiness is fleeting, and is based on circumstances, and it is foolish and potentially fatal to raise the idea of 'happiness' up on a pedestal. 'Happiness' is the cause of most of societies problems. We put happiness over common sense, over the feelings of others, over practicality, ahead of our long-term health and well being. The goal should be stability and mental health, not happiness. We can't be happy all the time, and if you try to be, you wind up indulging in alcohol, drugs, random sexual encounters, compulsive eating or spending, etc. When you get ahold of emotional health, you can appreciate the good times, and deal with the bad times. If you make such a big deal about happiness, you set yourself up for a roller coaster ride through life; huge highs, and deep despair.
  12. Oct 22, 2003 #11
    I totally agree with zero. It's impossible to be happy all the time, so you shouldn't try. If you feel guilty for happiness because others are less fortunate than you, then it's normal. If you feel EXTREMELY guilty then maybe you would feel fullfilled by doing what you can to give back to the community.
  13. Oct 22, 2003 #12
    Personal happiness may not be the end all be all, but if it isn't a goal in your life...how the hell can you expect to enjoy life? There is NOTHING wrong with setting goals.

    False. That just lacks logic. Name a society that's really happy, yet the society is completely overwhelmed with problems? Better yet.. name a society thats full of pissed off and depressed people, yet they are all in a good way(productive, healthy etc.).

    This is where I will give you a bit of credit. It's still misleading, but atleast I see the logic you were using.
    Sure people search for hapiness in substance abuse and 'bad' behavior. Do they find it? No. They find a temporary high, like you said. Are there any drug addicts that find lasting happiness as a result of their drug/alcohol use/dependence?

    To say happiness is the cause of most of societies problems is plain wrong. You should have said, trying to find hapiness down unmoral paths leads to many of societies problems.

    Hope you agree, Zero:wink:

    here ya go:smile:...

    way to hapiness

    way to hapiness description
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2003
  14. Oct 22, 2003 #13
    I think you miss my point, Rockazella. It isn't about 'moral' or 'unmoral' pursuits...you can lose you way by trying to find happiness by helping others, if you put your happiness first. There is no magic pill to happiness, and it isn't a useful goal, IMO. The proper goal would be mental and emotional health, which will allow you to be happy in a healthy way.
    As far as society in general, the search for happiness has supplanted connections with other people, pursuing solid practical goals, etc.
  15. Oct 22, 2003 #14
    don't mix happiness up with pleasure.

    pleasure is a part of happiness but so is being satisfied with life. And being satisfied with life requires things you need. We need to be healthy and have good habits to live longer.
  16. Oct 22, 2003 #15
    I think for most people pursuing happiness, it is done without a proper framework. You are often stuck doing things that don't make you happy, so people can't or won't build that foundation. Often societal pressures, childhood trauma, and other factors can hinder the ability to look at the big picture.
  17. Oct 22, 2003 #16
    hmm interesting opinions zero... i'll need to think about all that some more though. So, how about instead of happiness a person pursued contentment? would that be better? worse? no difference?

    And how about unhappiness? what if a life goal was just not to be unhappy? problems with that? I have problems seeing a point in doing something that would actually make me unhappy, or at least with the unhappyness outweighed the happiness.

    And what about doing what you want, and only what you want? Or even, just not doing what you don't want?

    Also, happiness vs mental/ emotional health? well, i think if you were happy 24/7 emotional health'd be a-ok, mental may be a bit off, but i think i might pay that price for constant happiness... but i dunno...
  18. Oct 22, 2003 #17
    Zero, has many good points here, but it is important for one to place things in proper context. I reccommend a movie for yall "Razors Edge" Bill Murry version. There can never be perpetual happiness in this life or even if you belive or know of the next it will not be there either. There is a time for all things, do not worry or maybe you should. It all depends on what you have found or what you have not life continues either way. Cash or Credit?
  19. Oct 23, 2003 #18
    "Happiness" is treated like it is a destination, I guess, and I think you should be more worried about the journey. You should figure out what is good for you, overall, and pursue that, rather than chase after being happy.
  20. Oct 23, 2003 #19
    Most people are bias when it comes to happiness. Happiness is NOT just pleasure. Most people think the meaning of happiness is having pleasure. Pleasure is what gets people in disruptive behaviors and in a rut. I mean look at the main point in our education system, it is meant to qualify us to be prepared for careers and jobs. So if you think happiness comes from having a steady job, electronics,and a car, then your living a bias and materialistic form of happiness. Happiness is truly just maintaining balance between pleasure and satisfying your needs.
  21. Oct 23, 2003 #20


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    I had an old girlfriend who always felt miserable about being happy. She used to deny it, but I could see it. I explained it to like this:

    If you are happy, you are content.
    If you are content, you are satisfied.
    If you are satisfied, you think things are OK the way they are.
    If you think things are OK, you aren't working to make things better.
    If you aren't trying to make things better, you are a lazy slug.
    If you are a lazy slug, you are worthless.
    If you are worthless, you should be miserable.

    If you are happy, you should be miserable.

    She agreed with me, that I had hit upon the cause of her mood swings. Then she dumped me.

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