Casual Discussion Science Forum @scivillage

Full Version: Dear Sigmund, what are you trying to say?
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Are you trying to tell me that pursuing happiness, might very well lead to unhappiness? That my desires will be my undoing? Is happiness basically devoid of misery and suffering, or do we need suffering in order to reach happiness? 

I happen to agree with you, Sigmund, that civilization can be very disappointing, but clinging to cynicism, is it healthy? Did you ever find lasting happiness in your life? Is it even possible?

I don't know if happiness is what we should pursue, rather peace is what we are seeking. Peace of mind, despite the trials we face. Staying steady during the storms, holding on until the waves pass over us, is perhaps the condition we wish to find. Happiness is fleeting. We can lose it as quickly as we find it. Besides, the definition of happiness differs from person to person, all on our own separate paths. There are some who for example, find happiness in material possessions. Others discover it when they fall in love. Both sets of people could very well be happy in those moments, but what happens when they lose the relationship, or someone steals all of their possessions? 

Where will their happiness come from, then? I know your position is that happiness doesn't come from one, single source. I agree with you, on that point.

However, I don't believe that the opposite of happiness is misery. Perhaps, it's indifference. Not feeling anything at all, just existing. I'll also add that I'm ''happy'' in my life, but I don't live in a vacuum. Happiness isn't a destination, and some days, it's a tease. Because happiness isn't the sum total of life, it's a part of it. If we feel that our lives only have meaning if we feel sustained elation at all times, then we may find ourselves more miserable, as we will conclude that we have failed. Pursuing happiness isn't the problem. Finding it difficult to accept that life is the sum total of both misery and happiness _ that leads people to great suffering, and depression.


If I were to send an email to Sigmund Freud, it would be that. Maybe a little more. But, that's the gist.

What are your thoughts on pursuing happiness? What do you think he'd reply?



(Posted this on sciforums, thought I'd share it here, too.) 
I don't much care what Freud may have replied, and I believe we've covered the pursuit of happiness here before.

Happiness can't be pursued for its own sake. In that direction is meaningless hedonism. But purpose and passion can be pursued, and the fulfillment of those results in happiness (successfully working toward achievable goals). Purpose and passion are journeys...ongoing activities... the goals or attainment of which is just an end. Ends are not happiness.

Happiness is something you do, not something you attain or become. And like anything you do, you can just decide to start doing it.
(Apr 28, 2019 05:03 AM)Syne Wrote: [ -> ]I don't much care what Freud may have replied, and I believe we've covered the pursuit of happiness here before.

Happiness can't be pursued for its own sake. In that direction is meaningless hedonism. But purpose and passion can be pursued, and the fulfillment of those results in happiness (successfully working toward achievable goals). Purpose and passion are journeys...ongoing activities... the goals or attainment of which is just an end. Ends are not happiness.

Happiness is something you do, not something you attain or become. And like anything you do, you can just decide to start doing it.

Great post. Spot on, ''ends are not happiness.'' We can fleetingly feel happiness certainly from an outcome, from an accomplishment, due to an attained goal. But, if we are only seeking the ends as a means to our happiness, what happens if we can't achieve our goals? What happens if we are unable to attain that which we assumed would make us happy? 

Unfortunately, we are bombarded by a culture that is constantly trying to sell happiness to us, through social media ideas, advertisements, and corporations. Know thy self, is a key to not getting swept away by the wrong ideas of what will ''make'' you happy.
(Apr 28, 2019 05:12 AM)Leigha Wrote: [ -> ]Know thy self, is a key to not getting swept away by the wrong ideas of what will ''make'' you happy.

Or just some modicum of having experienced genuine happiness...and not just some pale excuse for it, like validation. If I had to guess, I'd say validation-seeking is probably the single biggest hurdle to experiencing happiness. That hinges your happiness on things outside of yourself and beyond your control...kind of how we've been erroneously taught about feelings in general. They're said to either come unbidden from unknown inner recesses or external circumstances. While those are certainly emotional stimuli, that neglects the fact that we can simply decide our emotional state. But like any skill, it takes practice...which in itself could be an attainable goal to work toward.
I have found that I am a person who needs to make things [to be happy]. It took me some time (years) to find this out. I do wonder how many people there are that need to create/build [to be happy] but never find out because they don't know where to look or what to try. People often say to me "It'll be nice when it's finished." - for me 'finished' is the end of it - time to start something new.
(Apr 28, 2019 02:00 PM)confused2 Wrote: [ -> ]I have found that I am a person who needs to make things [to be happy]. It took me some time (years) to find this out. I do wonder how many people there are that need to create/build [to be happy] but never find out because they don't know where to look or what to try. People often say to me "It'll be nice when it's finished." - for me 'finished' is the end of it - time to start something new.

Many purposes include creating, making, or building...even if it's relationships, a business, etc.. And I'd agree, finishing a project is like finishing a good book....you only want another (which is why I've always tended to read series of books, so at least for a bit, there's another books to read in the same world).
(Apr 28, 2019 02:00 PM)confused2 Wrote: [ -> ]I have found that I am a person who needs to make things [to be happy]. It took me some time (years) to find this out. I do wonder how many people there are that need to create/build [to be happy] but never find out because they don't know where to look or what to try. People often say to me "It'll be nice when it's finished." - for me 'finished' is the end of it - time to start something new.

Many people feel that at some final destination/outcome, they'll be ''happy,'' but happiness is the journey. This is a common principle in Buddhism, that Nirvana/Zen isn't when we have finally arrived, but it's in the walk towards the peak of self-discovery. It is on the everyday path, that we grow, progress and move towards fulfillment. (aka happiness?)