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post #31 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jekyll View Post
This made me think of this. I dunno if it will help, but it's interesting nonetheless. http://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_kahn...vs_memory.html
Super interesting. This articulates better than I ever could the reason that doing things that make us happy in the moment and reflecting on our lives lead to totally different actions most of the time. It is essentially the Buddhist/meditative/new-age "living in the present" vs. the classic Western goal of gathering memories and celebrating the ego, or one's individuality (borne of the European humanistic Enlightenment). I don't have the research that Kahneman has to back me up, but I'd wager that it's not just as simple as experienced happiness vs. remembered happiness. I think that along with memories, the second category includes projected happiness. In other words, the second category allows for the projection of social customs and expectations as a lens through which to judge happiness. Example: I receive more happiness thinking back to my college experience if it was Harvard than if it was Bumblefuck Community Tech in Wyoming (all other things equal). This is because I can never only view my past through a vacuum. It is inevitably filtered through society's glasses. Another example - having sex with a 12 year old boy, no matter one's actual enjoyment or experience of the event, will be remembered very differently today vs. in ancient Greece. That is the social overlay on all that we remember, and equally if not more powerfully, on all that we plan or project into the future. This all ties back to the ego and the concept of "enlightenment/samadhi" (whether you believe in its actual existence or not). Remembered happiness = the foundation of the ego. It allows us to feel pride in our past, it is why some young men seek to sleep with countless beautiful women (even actions in the now are influenced by how they will be remembered and how they will affect our egos looking backward later on). The common "spiritual" idea of killing off the ego can be restated as shifting to an experienced happiness goal from a remembered happiness goal. I'm glad that Eastern and Western though have converged on this topic albeit via two very different avenues of thought. Though practically speaking, it might just be semantics. Does experienced happiness ever really matter if it is lost and replaced by remembered happiness as soon as the second hand moves on the clock? Or is experienced happiness all that matters because otherwise we are really never living, only remembering? Might just be a matter of personal philosophy, but certainly very interesting to think about.
post #32 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jekyll View Post
This made me think of this. I dunno if it will help, but it's interesting nonetheless. http://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_kahn...vs_memory.html
"We think of our future not as experiences, but as anticipated memories." Wow. Wow, wow. That's profound. This explains Disney World. I didn't think anything could, but this does.
post #33 of 33
Find something that makes you strive in every situation. One thing I have noticed through the years is that some people can find a way to be happy and succeed in just about any situation. These people are not necessarily the smartest or best adapted to the situation, but they are enthusiastic and make their best effort every time. I think when people depend on external circumstances such as finding that perfect occupation, perfect cause, or perfect love, they set themselves up for disappointment after disappointment. Look at all of the incredibly smart, bitter people slugging away at jobs where they feel undervalued - often, they expected to succeed just because they're smart and this is almost never enough. The most successful (and happy/fulfilled) people I have seen in organizations have been successful because they take a swing at any task with enthusiasm and gusto and as a result other people want to be around them- and other people will follow them. Artists do the same thing- it takes a hell of a lot of effort to create something every day.

On another note, I agree that you are well advised to pursue something while you are young rather than chasing windmills through your twenties. I have a friend who graduated college, worked his ass off for 15 years, and retired at 36. Now he does whatever he wants and pursues different careers for fun. Granted, his experience was atypical, but you will also have a great deal more opportunities to change direction if you put in the time while you're young.
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