Consciousness & happiness

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

57 POVs

1. Life is up and life is down, there's no way to be consistently happy.

2. Any effort I put into being happy will almost certainly result in unhappiness.

3. I'm designed to be much more concerned with what isn't than what is.

4. Genes don't care about my happiness, they care about survival and reproduction. I'm playing with a stacked deck.

5. If my suffering is caused by desire, greater suffering is caused by my desire to end it. Most suffering results from my belief there's a way out of my suffering.

6. On balance, things won't get better.

7. I am ultimately alone in life. My experience of loneliness is natural.

8. 'Now' cannot be experienced. Knowledge about 'now' can be, but then it isn't 'now' anymore. 'Now' is a concept.

9. Guilt is my way of avoiding doing something I think I should be doing.

10. When I can't make myself the way I think I should be, I want the world to be the way I think it should be.

11. There's no such thing as 'self-deception' by definition. If I think I'm telling the truth, then I'm telling the truth. I lie best when I lie to myself.

12. Evolution saw to it that I'm more likely to be anxious than content.

13. A few good things happening to me can make me happier. A few bad things can kill me. So I focus on the bad things, hence the dictum: losing hurts twice as much as winning feels good.

14. On my deathbed, I'm more likely to be thinking, "I wish I hadn't taken it all so seriously," than, "I wish I'd been a better person," or, "I wish I'd achieved more."

15. There's nowhere to go, nothing to do. This is as good as it gets.

16. My culture generally supports the notion of life as a self-improvement project, where my "self" can be tweaked and fixed to edify my inner experience.

17. I think in thoughts. Not in words or pictures. Not linearly.

18. My mind is usually involved in escape, where I define what I want by what I don't want.

19. All my experience is processed, evaluated and filtered prior to awareness.

20. Life is a fluke. My life is a statistical near-impossibility.

21. I constantly (almost) forget I'm alive.

22. Awareness of my happiness dampens the feeling of happiness.

23. I don't know what I seek, in fact I am convinced there is nothing to be found. I I am, however, addicted to the search.

24. There was never a time when I wasn't aware, from my point of view. I won't be aware that I'm dead. To all intents and purposes, I'm eternal!

25. Life isn't fair.

26. Compassion and the question "Why?" (did you do that/say that) are antithetical.

27. The more choices I have, the more I worry I'm making the wrong one.

28. The common promise of all religions is, "success."

29. Man with many keys, many worries...the more I have, the more I worry.

30. When good things consistently happen, I raise the bar on happiness. When bad things consistently happen, a cup of coffee can bring ecstasy.

31. Ice cream test: the better it is, the sooner I feel blue.

32. Therapy offers new and richer ways to be unhappy.

33. The best way to give is willingly, cheerfully, abundantly, joyfully.

34. The best way to receive is willingly, cheerfully, abundantly, joyfully.

35. However bad things are, I'm aware and alive (or I wouldn't know how bad things were). This is better than the alternative.

36. The notion that the present is simply part of a continuum from past to future is baloney.

37. I cannot be convinced that I don't have a "self," since there would then be nothing to be convinced.

38. Humans may well be the only self-aware life in the galaxy.

39. It is wise to doubt that which I would most believe.

40. Self, mind, time, God are all undefinable metaphors.

41. The kindest words in the world are, "Tell me."

42. The best way to colonize Mars is with one-way trips (as the Americas were colonized by Europeans). Life is a one-way trip, anyway.

43. Trying to achieve a clear mind is like trying to clear muddy water by stirring.

44. I am only conscious of what I am conscious of. I have no idea what "unconscious" could mean.

45. Everything is subjective. There's no truth independent of brain.

46. It's better to be the first to apologize. That way, I get to make my antagonist wrong.

47. Human bodies evolved in a climate of physical activity. We're not designed to sit at desks.

48. I'm likely to favor anything I've spent time or money on (the "allegiance effect").

49. Typologies involving bimodal distribution (e.g. Myers-Briggs) are suspect, since behavior (and most everything in nature) can be plotted on a normal (Bell) curve.

50. Resentment is usually a sign of unset limits.

51. It's all neurons! Memories, feelings, desires, fears...

52. The universe doesn't care.

53. I am capable of both enmity and amity. My nature results from my distant forebears living in cooperative tribes, which in turn were competitive with other tribes. That's built in to the architecture of my brain.

54. I can never be sure I am not deluded.

55. My genes don't "care" about my happiness. All they "want" is to get to the next generation.

56. How much I drink (whether it's water or milkshakes) doesn't affect how much I eat, since (until recently) all calories came from food.

57. My opinions are as useless as anybody else's.

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