Jason Resch-2 wrote:
> An interesting video related to the discussion:
> http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_asks_why_are_we_happy.html
> Interesting point: Lottery winners and those who become paraplegic have
> the
> same level of happiness after a year.

A very interesting talk.

We tend to totally missestimate what makes us happy. Having money will not
make you happy if you don't know what to do with this money to make you
happy (buying a house and a car probably won't) or if you are fearful to
lose it again or if alienate your friends.

Being paraplegic is not the end of the world, as we imagine. It is a major
hinderance, but most things we do really care about don't get lost (you can
use your mind, have friends, even do sports,...), so why shouldn't we be
able to still be happy?

What really makes us happy is doing what we really find important, being
satisified with what we have and not being in situations that directly cause
unpleasant feelings (chronic pain, depression, imprisonment). And most of
all, our neurochemistry. All feelings supervene on our neurochemistry.

This is both really bad and really good news. If you have a really screwed
up neurochemistry, you might be depressed and you really can't do much
against it, no matter whether you try hard. But it also means that we don't
have to walk a long and hard road to become happy (like many religious and
spiritual teachings want us to believe, like reincarnation), we just have to
know the trick to make us happy. We don't know very good tricks yet, but we
might discover them relatively soon.

There might be something like ectasy without neurotoxic properties and
without disturbance of the balance of our neurochemistry. Or brain implants
might do the trick. Unfortunately it is not widely believed that it is okay
to manipulate you neurochemistry to be happy. Many ways to do it are
It is really a joke to write the right to pursue happiness into the
constitution and throw people in a cage for doing it.
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