Author Topic: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy  (Read 14595 times)

savingtofreedom

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Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« on: January 10, 2013, 07:21:44 PM »
I have been on a journey for some time to become "happier" as a person.  I wanted to share this interesting article with others as I like how it distinguishes between finding happiness and meaning in life.  I think a focus shift to meaning may be in order. 

I have fallen prey to finding fleeting happiness by purchasing things but it is not lasting - I see this in others especially those that are not mustachians and the harm it can do to both their emotions and bank accounts.  Additionally, I struggle with finding meaning without having any personal belief in religion - any book/article recommendations for this particular issue would be appreciated.  I wish their was a "religious" group that met to learn about history and nature and shared knowledge with  a strong community that did not utilize religion.  I am going to get the book mentioned in the article out of the library.

Link to article - http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/01/theres-more-to-life-than-being-happy/266805/?google_editors_picks=true

Jamesqf

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2013, 08:40:09 PM »
I have fallen prey to finding fleeting happiness by purchasing things but it is not lasting...

The problem here, though, is not with your goal of seeking happiness, but the fact that the technique you're using doesn't work.  Sort of like trying to permanently lose weight with a fad diet, or using magnets to turn your gas guzzler into a fuel sipper.

velocistar237

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2013, 05:39:23 AM »
Is meaning something you can conjure? You find meaning in the things that you believe have a purpose, and belief is a tough thing to manufacture. I look at my job and believe that I should find it meaningful, but do I actually believe it is meaningful and find meaning in it? I could go read books and talk to people about finding meaning, but given past experience, I doubt I would come out the other side with a strong sense of purpose. Perhaps people seek "pure" happiness because they can't convince themselves that they have a purpose.

A good question to ask is, what level of meaning do you find in Mustachianism? People do it for freedom, because they believe it's the right thing to do, or because it enables them to do something they find meaningful, like spend more time with family. I find no strong draw to any of those, and it scares me. Maybe it's a personality thing. Maybe I'm drawn to FIRE because I have trouble finding purpose, since after FIRE I'll have the freedom to explore more options and maybe find something. Maybe I need to stop trying so hard and learn to act on the little sense of purpose I've already found.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2013, 07:31:50 AM »
Purpose and meaning can be different. Right now my purpose in life is to provide for, take care of and protect my family.  Is there are higher purpose in life in the macro big picture sense that is meaningful - I don't see it now. I do appreciate and value the many things in life though. 


Maybe it's a personality thing. Maybe I'm drawn to FIRE because I have trouble finding purpose, since after FIRE I'll have the freedom to explore more options and maybe find something. Maybe I need to stop trying so hard and learn to act on the little sense of purpose I've already found.

I think this hits it for me. I beleive other personality traits that contribute to this feeling for me include being very analytical/logic oriented so faith based belief is pretty much out of the question and always has been (I rember questioning a nun in 1st grade) and I am sort of a jack of all trades, master of none - so sometimes I enjoy doing one thing and another time its something else but almost never is it that I enjoy everything all the time.


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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2013, 07:37:07 AM »
Agree with Velocistar and tooq, I'm very similar.  I wonder if that's common among ER-types,like how engineers are represented above average, along with INTJs.

Although I am plenty happy and satisfied, I don't have much "meaning" (and may not necessarily buy into that idea anyways.)

I'm not sure one needs that to have a satisfactory life.  In any case, sounds like the OP was addressing fleeting happiness versus true contentment and satisfaction (a different form of happiness, more similar to joy than pleasure).  Seeking the latter rather than the former is, of course, much more fulfilling, "meaning" or not.
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James

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2013, 07:47:34 AM »
I have been on a journey for some time to become "happier" as a person.  I wanted to share this interesting article with others as I like how it distinguishes between finding happiness and meaning in life.  I think a focus shift to meaning may be in order. 

I have fallen prey to finding fleeting happiness by purchasing things but it is not lasting - I see this in others especially those that are not mustachians and the harm it can do to both their emotions and bank accounts.  Additionally, I struggle with finding meaning without having any personal belief in religion - any book/article recommendations for this particular issue would be appreciated.  I wish their was a "religious" group that met to learn about history and nature and shared knowledge with  a strong community that did not utilize religion.  I am going to get the book mentioned in the article out of the library.

Link to article - http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/01/theres-more-to-life-than-being-happy/266805/?google_editors_picks=true

I think you are looking for Stoicism.  I highly recommend A Guide to the Good Life, and I'm right in the middle of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking.  Both are excellent for different reasons, and both fill the desire I've been having to "find happiness", without the crap most happiness books entail.

I find stoicism is the closest to religion I can get right now, and it fits so absolutely perfectly with mustachianism that they seem build for each other.  Stoicism is not a search for happiness and meaning, it's about just being, and I find that greatly refreshing.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2013, 07:47:57 AM »
I I wish their was a "religious" group that met to learn about history and nature and shared knowledge with  a strong community that did not utilize religion. 

I am not sure about finding a community but any nature based "religion" fits - think native american history and beliefs where nature is front and center and all plant/animal/earth has a purpose and connectedness.

Also anything related to Buddhism and Taoism are great because they really not based on some unknown creator of life or "God" and instead are basedon philosophies and spiritual paths. You don't have subscribe to these or follow them, but I think any readings will provide you with some comfort and direction. 

sherr

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2013, 08:34:57 AM »
I beleive other personality traits that contribute to this feeling for me include being very analytical/logic oriented so faith based belief is pretty much out of the question and always has been (I rember questioning a nun in 1st grade)...

You are of course free to live your own life, but as a very analytical / logical person who also has faith-based belief I strongly disagree with this statement. The one does not necessarily preclude the other, you just have to spend a lot of time wading through the silly things people believe to find the ones that are actually logically consistent / sensical. One of the biggest complaints that I have with my religion is that it has allowed illogical, unnecessary, and in some cases Just Plain Stupid ideas and opinions to creep in and become mainstream. Then once the idea becomes Mainstream Enough you'll find people preaching that you *must* believe X in order to be a Y. This has the net effect of driving people like us off, contributing to this feeling that you cannot be both logical and religious, and ends up helping absolutely no one.

I believe this is relevant to the topic in this thread because religion gives people meaning and purpose in their lives. It may be possible to be completely content and satisfied without a purpose, I don't know. But if there is such a thing as the one correct religion / philosophy and it is also true that satisfaction flows from completing your purpose, then the ultimate satisfaction / contentment / joy / happiness would come from living your life in accordance with that religion / philosophy and pursuing the purpose it gives you. In fact in that case it may be impossible to find true purpose / meaning without that religion / philosophy.

I agree that purpose / meaning is not something you can create, I think it must be discovered. If you have not found purpose / meaning it may be because it doesn't actually exist, it may be because you haven't looked hard enough yet, or it may be because you are looking in the wrong place. I think any discussion of this topic without at least a mention of that third option is incomplete. That's my $0.02.

madgeylou

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2013, 08:39:05 AM »
I I wish their was a "religious" group that met to learn about history and nature and shared knowledge with  a strong community that did not utilize religion. 

I am not sure about finding a community but any nature based "religion" fits - think native american history and beliefs where nature is front and center and all plant/animal/earth has a purpose and connectedness.

Also anything related to Buddhism and Taoism are great because they really not based on some unknown creator of life or "God" and instead are basedon philosophies and spiritual paths. You don't have subscribe to these or follow them, but I think any readings will provide you with some comfort and direction.

evolutionary spirituality might do it for you, too -- it certainly does for me. check out evolutionary enlightenment and integral theory. they are based around the idea that the evolutionary impulse itself is what is "divine" but there's nothing supernatural about it. it's just the universe's seemingly built-in tendency to evolve toward ever more complexity, freedom, and depth of consciousness. these communities talk a lot about how humans -- individually and in groups -- can understand and work with the evolutionary impulse and transform human culture in a positive way.

to me, this worldview is lovely because it's basically atheistic -- it just finds divinity in the structure of the universe itself. i love this idea and it dovetails beautifully with natural science, sociology, psychology, and theories of cultural change.

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2013, 09:13:25 AM »
Religions can be wonderful-- especially those with a Stoic bent-- but purpose? Ahh, purpose. If religion is the opium of the people, than having a purpose must be like mainlining heroin. It's intoxicating-- perhaps literally. Ever met someone with a real purpose in life? Someone who is out to change and/or save the world? It does take a certain suspension of the higher faculties, a certain intoxication, to believe that it is possible. Don't knock it, but... don't try it. It's massively addictive; once you've tried on the robes of Christ, no other clothes ever seem to fit.
Not even after you've lost faith in the cause you meant to champion.
Yes, I am speaking from experience. "My name is Star Swirl the Mustached, and I have a messiah complex."
...but my fulcrum was unsteady, and my lever too flimsy, and I failed to move the world.

evolutionary spirituality might do it for you, too -- it certainly does for me. check out evolutionary enlightenment and integral theory. they are based around the idea that the evolutionary impulse itself is what is "divine" but there's nothing supernatural about it. it's just the universe's seemingly built-in tendency to evolve toward ever more complexity, freedom, and depth of consciousness. these communities talk a lot about how humans -- individually and in groups -- can understand and work with the evolutionary impulse and transform human culture in a positive way.

to me, this worldview is lovely because it's basically atheistic -- it just finds divinity in the structure of the universe itself. i love this idea and it dovetails beautifully with natural science, sociology, psychology, and theories of cultural change.
It's as flawed a view of the structure of the universe as Zeus and his thunderbolts, though, so don't get too prideful towards the more traditionally religious. Just sayin'. That's not to denegrate your philosophy-- Stoicism is based on an entirely false understanding of nature and man's place in it, and it's still great-- but. The universe just doesn't work that way. Sorry.

velocistar237

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2013, 09:20:05 AM »
I'm not sure one needs that to have a satisfactory life.  In any case, sounds like the OP was addressing fleeting happiness versus true contentment and satisfaction (a different form of happiness, more similar to joy than pleasure).  Seeking the latter rather than the former is, of course, much more fulfilling, "meaning" or not.

In the popular article that introduced the $75K income cutoff for increasing happiness, the authors distinguished "emotional well-being" from "life evaluation." (PF blogs made a big deal out of the income cutoff, but it only applied to the former, which we agree is less important.) I think those phrases capture the distinction well without delving into the nature of meaning.

Still, seeing how much some people get from it, I wish I had more of a sense of meaning. I have plenty of objective reasons for it, like being a Christian, having a family, and working on the final frontier, but it's one thing to see value in something and another to personally value it and have it be highly integrated into one's inner identity. From the creators of Self Determination Theory, in the compilation Self and Identity:

Quote from: Ryan & Deci
SDT further posits that variation in the extent and quality of people's internalization of extrinsic motivation for various identities explains the difference between authentic, vital, and committed living that some individuals exhibit and the alienated, halfhearted, or conflicted enactment of identities that afflicts others.

Not surprisingly, they fail to give a recipe for internalizing motivation. Unfortunately, like the people who depress themselves striving to be happy, I find myself questioning meaning the more I specifically seek it. It could help to follow MMM's lead: stay busy doing things you believe are important, and you won't have to worry so much about how you're supposed to feel about it.

Thanks, James, for the reminder about The Antidote. I've requested it from the library.

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2013, 09:23:51 AM »
evolutionary spirituality might do it for you, too -- it certainly does for me. check out evolutionary enlightenment and integral theory. they are based around the idea that the evolutionary impulse itself is what is "divine" but there's nothing supernatural about it. it's just the universe's seemingly built-in tendency to evolve toward ever more complexity, freedom, and depth of consciousness. these communities talk a lot about how humans -- individually and in groups -- can understand and work with the evolutionary impulse and transform human culture in a positive way.

to me, this worldview is lovely because it's basically atheistic -- it just finds divinity in the structure of the universe itself. i love this idea and it dovetails beautifully with natural science, sociology, psychology, and theories of cultural change.
It's as flawed a view of the structure of the universe as Zeus and his thunderbolts, though, so don't get too prideful towards the more traditionally religious. Just sayin'. That's not to denegrate your philosophy-- Stoicism is based on an entirely false understanding of nature and man's place in it, and it's still great-- but. The universe just doesn't work that way. Sorry.

i'm not at all prideful, but i don't understand at all how you feel qualified to say "the universe doesn't work that way." but i also don't want to fight with a random person on the internet about what my eyes and my own experience and my own brain see as a very reasonable, very compelling set of ideas. so.

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2013, 09:48:27 AM »
Another INTJ here, also reasonably satisfied and happy, but without much meaning or purpose beyond providing for my family.  Most things in life have simply been choices rather than passions, FIRE/MMM included.  It's simply another choice I make.

James

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2013, 10:00:38 AM »
Stoicism is based on an entirely false understanding of nature and man's place in it, and it's still great-- but. The universe just doesn't work that way. Sorry.

It's hard to take you serious when you shoot down other options and simply say "The universe just doesn't work that way." without sharing with us how the universe works...  ;)

You sweep with a broad brush using words like "entirely".  Absolutes are never true...

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2013, 10:22:15 AM »
i'm not at all prideful, but i don't understand at all how you feel qualified to say "the universe doesn't work that way."
A couple of science degrees.
but i also don't want to fight with a random person on the internet about what my eyes and my own experience and my own brain see as a very reasonable, very compelling set of ideas. so.
Fair enough! I see no real reason to argue either. There's nothing per-se wrong with the ideas -- if you get spiritual succor or philosophical satisfaction from your worldview, that's fine. I've just been sensitized to these things and have to be an asshole when people claim that actual science supports them, which it seemed like you were doing.



Stoicism is based on an entirely false understanding of nature and man's place in it, and it's still great-- but. The universe just doesn't work that way. Sorry.

It's hard to take you serious when you shoot down other options and simply say "The universe just doesn't work that way." without sharing with us how the universe works...  ;)

You sweep with a broad brush using words like "entirely".  Absolutes are never true...

Ooh, good point. Okay. Now, my first "the universe doesn't work that way" was to madgeylou. Now, the appearance that the laws of nature are stacked in favour of growing complexity is one you might get, looking at the world. An undifferentiated cloud after the big bang clumped into galaxies, the galaxies are in clusters, the clusters are strung out across the cosmos like giant tangled pearl necklace. So we're at a complex point in history.

Here is the problem: eventually, all matter in those galaxies is slowly, oh-so-slowly losing angular momentum to
gravitational waves, and will spiral into the black holes which lie at the center of most galaxies (or existing black holes will congregate there) -- then we have a pile of black holes. Not as pretty, not as complex. Eventually, with no influx of matter, those black holes evaporate, and all that's left is cold photon soup, which eventually mixes and comes to some equilibrium temperature, absolutely the same everywhere. There is no complexity in this picture, and that's where the laws of nature say we're headed in a trillion years or so.
 (Provided dark energy doesn't accelerate the expansion of the universe to a "big rip" scenario where the atoms are torn apart first. There's no complexity there, though, either. ) 

As far as science is concerned, the universe works on unfeeling laws and doesn't really want or tend to anything. Which is why we have religions and philosophy, because most people do not find that terribly satisfying.

Now, as for Stoicism... the original stoics were creationists who felt every species was created (by Zeus) with a purpose-- and rational humans must have been created to use their rational brains Blind evolution stumbled onto these big brains over a million generations, and she left in a hell of a lot of irrational baggage that the tools of stoic philosophy helps one deal with. Even if you are a creationist, neuroscience and psychology do demonstrate that our creator either wasn't aiming for rational beings, or wanted us to have to really work at it to get that way. Stoic philosophy offers tools to let you do that, but... the more "practical" cosmological/scientific parts of their school of philosophy are pretty demonstrably wrong. It denies the existence of atoms, for heaven's sake.

Sorry for the incredibly long, OT post. But James started it. :P

John74

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2013, 11:18:35 AM »
Another INTJ here, also reasonably satisfied and happy, but without much meaning or purpose beyond providing for my family.  Most things in life have simply been choices rather than passions, FIRE/MMM included.  It's simply another choice I make.

This INTJ agrees. I think my life has purpose but I don't think it has meaning. I think that's fine.

Lagom

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2013, 11:18:50 AM »
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=expanding-universe-slows-then-speeds

Also, I don't think anyone here is advocating a wholesale adoption of stoicism, but rather drawing inspiration from its answers to one of the most fundamental philosophical questions: How do we live a good life?

Incidentally, another INTJ here :)

« Last Edit: January 11, 2013, 11:21:04 AM by Lagom »

offroad

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2013, 11:24:10 AM »
Maybe read THE LIFE OF PI now being shown as a major movie.  Talks about an integrated approach to the meaning of existance.  You can then add more philosophy to your background as you research new age religiosity (Pagan, Wiccan, Druid, etc.)  as well as others thoughst on purpose (Christianity, Muslim, Buddhist, Taoism, etc.)

Have been told that thinking too much leads you in a circle. 

norvilion

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2013, 12:14:08 PM »
Have been told that thinking too much leads you in a circle.

Aww, but thinking too much can be an amusing pastime (of course this coming from an INTP- from what I understand basically INTJ that primarily lives in their own head :P)

tooqk4u22

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2013, 12:48:12 PM »
You are of course free to live your own life, but as a very analytical / logical person who also has faith-based belief I strongly disagree with this statement. The one does not necessarily preclude the other...

You are right that one does not preclude the other but there is no logical or factual reason to believe in god as creator or something similar.  That is why it is called faith, which by definition is "a belief not based on proof"

I am not judging or bashing religion and I respect that people have religious beliefs but to do so you have to open your heart and mind to something that is antithetical to reason and logic, and I suspect that this is more difficult for analytical/logical thinkers but I not saying that it is impossible or that people who believe are wrong. I have had a number of religious studies classes in the past and read about various religions periodically, it is all very interesting.

I believe this is relevant to the topic in this thread because religion gives people meaning and purpose in their lives.

I absolutely agree with this and there is plenty of evidence that suggests people who have faith in some religion tend to be happier, live longer, are more involved in their communities and ultimately enjoy a more meaningful existence.  I wish I had faith, but you can't force faith and I can't fake it.

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2013, 01:42:39 PM »
I'm a pretty religious person, and have considered being a religious leader at times in my life, but I sat here reading and thinking about what gives me meaning in life, and I don't think I would quite call it that.  I think my religion is the foundation of my life and the glasses that I see everything through, but ultimatley I think I find meaning in my family.  The two are intrinsically related (we share our faith, and I believe that it is the love that I get from God that allows me to love my family so fully), but I've always had faith and only felt complete and fufilled after marrying my husband.  So, for me faith is the foundation, and my family is the meaning.  Just thought I'd throw in my perspective (I'm sure other reliqious people would say it's their meaning).

Quote
but you can't force faith and I can't fake it.

I found this interesting because I feel the same way about having faith.  I feel like it is just who I am and something I couldn't ever change about myself (I have blue eyes, a deep voice, and faith).  I ponder this quite often, wondering if "faith" is perhaps a wiring in the brain or a personality trait.  Since I believe in God (not that it's just faulty wiring) this always throws me into a tailspin wondering if some are predestined to have faith but others don't (by the way, I think doubting and asking questions like that is totally healthy, and in a way, it validates my feelings about faith.... I can think of many logical reasons why it doesn't make sense and I just can't seem to shake it.)  Anyways..... :)

tooqk4u22

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2013, 01:52:02 PM »
Quote
but you can't force faith and I can't fake it.

I found this interesting because I feel the same way about having faith.  I feel like it is just who I am and something I couldn't ever change about myself (I have blue eyes, a deep voice, and faith).  I ponder this quite often, wondering if "faith" is perhaps a wiring in the brain or a personality trait.  Since I believe in God (not that it's just faulty wiring) this always throws me into a tailspin wondering if some are predestined to have faith but others don't (by the way, I think doubting and asking questions like that is totally healthy, and in a way, it validates my feelings about faith.... I can think of many logical reasons why it doesn't make sense and I just can't seem to shake it.)  Anyways..... :)

This is what I was getting at and I appreciate that you acknowledge that while you are faithful you understand that it is not necessarily formed logical way.

I never really thought of it as being genetically predisposed, and always felt it was upbringing, but it is actually a worthwhile theory to explore as genetics influence in so many ways and it is common to only think of the physical traits - but there is evidence that genetics play a role in behavioral things (alcoholism, compulsiveness, etc) so why not something like this - the faith gene.  Nice, I could use some gene therapy then.

James

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2013, 02:10:49 PM »
Ooh, good point. Okay. Now, my first "the universe doesn't work that way" was to madgeylou. Now, the appearance that the laws of nature are stacked in favour of growing complexity is one you might get, looking at the world. An undifferentiated cloud after the big bang clumped into galaxies, the galaxies are in clusters, the clusters are strung out across the cosmos like giant tangled pearl necklace. So we're at a complex point in history.

Here is the problem: eventually, all matter in those galaxies is slowly, oh-so-slowly losing angular momentum to
gravitational waves, and will spiral into the black holes which lie at the center of most galaxies (or existing black holes will congregate there) -- then we have a pile of black holes. Not as pretty, not as complex. Eventually, with no influx of matter, those black holes evaporate, and all that's left is cold photon soup, which eventually mixes and comes to some equilibrium temperature, absolutely the same everywhere. There is no complexity in this picture, and that's where the laws of nature say we're headed in a trillion years or so.
 (Provided dark energy doesn't accelerate the expansion of the universe to a "big rip" scenario where the atoms are torn apart first. There's no complexity there, though, either. ) 

As far as science is concerned, the universe works on unfeeling laws and doesn't really want or tend to anything. Which is why we have religions and philosophy, because most people do not find that terribly satisfying.

Now, as for Stoicism... the original stoics were creationists who felt every species was created (by Zeus) with a purpose-- and rational humans must have been created to use their rational brains Blind evolution stumbled onto these big brains over a million generations, and she left in a hell of a lot of irrational baggage that the tools of stoic philosophy helps one deal with. Even if you are a creationist, neuroscience and psychology do demonstrate that our creator either wasn't aiming for rational beings, or wanted us to have to really work at it to get that way. Stoic philosophy offers tools to let you do that, but... the more "practical" cosmological/scientific parts of their school of philosophy are pretty demonstrably wrong. It denies the existence of atoms, for heaven's sake.

Sorry for the incredibly long, OT post. But James started it. :P


Excellent response of the sort I was hoping for, can't find a word to disagree with. (and won't look real hard for one in any case)  I used to be confused by the tendency for complexity, and I still try not to get so jaded about the beautiful complexities of life that I cease to enjoy them.


I do get a great kick out of reading some of the beliefs from Stoicism. 
Anyway, glad I started it...  :)


I agree with the thoughts on genetic predisposition, I do think tendency toward faith is wired into some people, and less so in others.  I actually think I would have tended to stick with my faith accept for external circumstances, and I know others who have stuck with their faith because of external circumstances despite having an inner desire to drop them.

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #23 on: January 11, 2013, 03:06:14 PM »
I wish their was a "religious" group that met to learn about history and nature and shared knowledge with  a strong community that did not utilize religion.

So... Unitarian Universalism?

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #24 on: January 11, 2013, 03:14:41 PM »
But we already know the meaning of life.  It was revealed to us by the philosopher Hobbes (the stripy one, not the 17th century British one): http://bestofcalvinandhobbes.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/philosophy.png

Lagom

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #25 on: January 11, 2013, 03:19:08 PM »
I wish their was a "religious" group that met to learn about history and nature and shared knowledge with  a strong community that did not utilize religion.

So... Unitarian Universalism?

There is a humanist church near Chicago that I've been meaning to check out. It does exactly that. They even have a "Golden Rule Sunday School," which teaches the same moral lessons as traditional Sunday school, but without using religious materials. Pretty interesting.

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #26 on: January 11, 2013, 03:23:40 PM »
Great conversation going on here.

I don't really have anything to add other than to check in as yet another INTJ, in case anyone is keeping track.

Oh, and this was great:

But we already know the meaning of life.  It was revealed to us by the philosopher Hobbes (the stripy one, not the 17th century British one): http://bestofcalvinandhobbes.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/philosophy.png

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #27 on: January 11, 2013, 04:16:39 PM »
You are right that one does not preclude the other but there is no logical or factual reason to believe in god as creator or something similar.  That is why it is called faith, which by definition is "a belief not based on proof"

I dunno Tooqk, I'm from the camp of religious philosophy that skews towards faith without proof as being kinda flimsy. I know a lot of philosophers claim the whole "faith precludes proof" line of thought, but I just don't buy that. If this were the case, it rubs right up against the issue of Judaic accounts in the Tanakh of the physical presence of HaShem (if true) in believers lives. He made His physical presence known to His own people and those that came against them, yet proof did not guarantee belief, and belief was had with proof.

Personally, I don't need to have blind faith to believe in a G-d when all I have to do is look at the beauty, complexity and elegance of creation to see the thumb-print of the divine... and hard, solid science only strengthens my faith in a singular creator as we learn more of the inner-workings of the Universe. As Starswirled so elegantly pointed out, entropy is the reigning force in all we observe. To me, it's difficult to be a rational, logical, man of science and proof and let all the complexity that we've documented be viewed as simply rising up out of nothing and decaying back to nothing without some spark of intervention between. You try to explain it all with random chance, the statistical odds of our reality happening as observed (or existing at all), let alone with functional life in it (excuse sentience) without that intervention is like winning the lotto an infinite number of times in a row. Yet here we are.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2013, 04:18:56 PM by I.P. Daley »

KGZotU

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #28 on: January 11, 2013, 06:16:27 PM »
I guess...I don't really care whether there's a divine or not.

The world is pretty awesome, regardless of whether there's any anonymous super-power behind it. Am I supposed to care whether there's a creator-god because maybe it has some rules it wants me to follow? I really don't have the time or energy to waste to figure out what those rules might be.

I guess the only reason I'd care if there were a supernatural would be if it could give me sweet powers like invisibility or mind-reading; haven't really seen any evidence of that out there yet.

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #29 on: January 11, 2013, 07:35:31 PM »
KGZotU,
I speak only for myself, here, but to go back to Marx: "religion is the opiate of the people." Opiates are pain killers.
Perhaps you're lucky, and you've never hurt hard enough and long enough to need the succor.

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #30 on: January 11, 2013, 07:40:01 PM »
You are right that one does not preclude the other but there is no logical or factual reason to believe in god as creator or something similar.  That is why it is called faith, which by definition is "a belief not based on proof"

I dunno Tooqk, I'm from the camp of religious philosophy that skews towards faith without proof as being kinda flimsy. I know a lot of philosophers claim the whole "faith precludes proof" line of thought, but I just don't buy that. If this were the case, it rubs right up against the issue of Judaic accounts in the Tanakh of the physical presence of HaShem (if true) in believers lives. He made His physical presence known to His own people and those that came against them, yet proof did not guarantee belief, and belief was had with proof.

Personally, I don't need to have blind faith to believe in a G-d when all I have to do is look at the beauty, complexity and elegance of creation to see the thumb-print of the divine... and hard, solid science only strengthens my faith in a singular creator as we learn more of the inner-workings of the Universe. As Starswirled so elegantly pointed out, entropy is the reigning force in all we observe. To me, it's difficult to be a rational, logical, man of science and proof and let all the complexity that we've documented be viewed as simply rising up out of nothing and decaying back to nothing without some spark of intervention between. You try to explain it all with random chance, the statistical odds of our reality happening as observed (or existing at all), let alone with functional life in it (excuse sentience) without that intervention is like winning the lotto an infinite number of times in a row. Yet here we are.

I completely understand what you are saying.  Science is base in logic but to your point there had to be a start to it all in some way and science at this point does have its limitations - so in some regard believing in science as the logical explanation is flawed in that one has to have faith that the logic continues beyond the current limitations (sort of statistical forcasting).

Regardless you are still relying on blind faith, but maybe so am I do to the inherent limitations.




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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #31 on: January 11, 2013, 09:01:42 PM »
KGZotU,
I speak only for myself, here, but to go back to Marx: "religion is the opiate of the people." Opiates are pain killers.
Perhaps you're lucky, and you've never hurt hard enough and long enough to need the succor.
Yeah...well, I was also posturing a bit. :P

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #32 on: January 11, 2013, 09:06:31 PM »
Perhaps you're lucky, and you've never hurt hard enough and long enough to need the succor.

Or maybe, like myself and Wittgenstein, he's independent of fate and circumstance.

;)
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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #33 on: January 11, 2013, 09:28:18 PM »
KGZotU,
I speak only for myself, here, but to go back to Marx: "religion is the opiate of the people." Opiates are pain killers.
Perhaps you're lucky, and you've never hurt hard enough and long enough to need the succor.

Or perhaps he's tried the opiates, and discovered that they don't actually kill the pain, just muddle your mind to where you don't care about it any more.

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #34 on: January 11, 2013, 11:47:43 PM »
I'm INTJ and I view faith by choice as quite logical.

It can be a deliberate leap for the logical that can bring quite a bit of comfort and satisfaction.  Believe, don't believe... its a choice.


galaxie

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #35 on: January 12, 2013, 08:36:32 AM »
Personally, I don't need to have blind faith to believe in a G-d when all I have to do is look at the beauty, complexity and elegance of creation to see the thumb-print of the divine... and hard, solid science only strengthens my faith in a singular creator as we learn more of the inner-workings of the Universe. As Starswirled so elegantly pointed out, entropy is the reigning force in all we observe. To me, it's difficult to be a rational, logical, man of science and proof and let all the complexity that we've documented be viewed as simply rising up out of nothing and decaying back to nothing without some spark of intervention between. You try to explain it all with random chance, the statistical odds of our reality happening as observed (or existing at all), let alone with functional life in it (excuse sentience) without that intervention is like winning the lotto an infinite number of times in a row. Yet here we are.

Perhaps the universe, as it exists, IS mind-numbingly improbable.  But if it didn't exist the way it does, we wouldn't be here to observe it.  Perhaps there have been trillions of trillions of cases where the big bang just didn't happen.  We'd never know.  That makes the world as it exists even more special, but it doesn't mean God necessarily did it.

Religion is interesting to me as a thing people do to make sense of the world.  The metaphors, the symbolism, the stories.  But I can't convince myself that a hypothetical supernatural being that created the whole universe (or wrote the laws of physics, or sparked the big bang, or whatever) could possibly have any interest in my day-to-day life.  I'm small compared to the universe.

The world is amazing, terrifying, and beautiful, and the inevitable heat death of the universe is a perfectly fitting unfathomably tragic end to this incredible, improbable thing that none of us fully understands.  I don't need to think God made it.

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #36 on: January 12, 2013, 09:35:20 AM »
Saving to Freedom:  I first read Victor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning probably twenty five years ago, and I found it life altering.  It is not an easy book, but it is one of the most worthwhile I've read, and I read an awful lot.  The book brings to mind this notion of Thoreau's:   "I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion."  Frankl's book is largely about the meanness of life, and to this day, I don't know why I found (and find) such value and positive support from reading it.  Let us know if you read it, how it strikes you.  Good luck!

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #37 on: January 12, 2013, 11:32:47 AM »
Perhaps the universe, as it exists, IS mind-numbingly improbable.

Yeah, or perhaps it's inevitable.  Who knows enough to say?  But the real question here is not how improbable the universe is, but whether it's more or less improbable than an entity which could create it.

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #38 on: January 12, 2013, 02:48:26 PM »
A fascinating discussion, folks, thanks for sharing.  Meaning is something we must each find for ourselves, and there are many ways to achieve that goal.

Whenever I hear this kind of talk from firm believers, I always inquire about their other supernatural beliefs.  Do you also believe in ghosts?  Poltergeists?  The evil eye?  Dracula?

When I was about eight I realized that magic isn't real, and so I stopped believing in such things.  The supernatural does not exist.  The unexplained is not unknowable.  Adults lie to children.

Personally, I can't see the distinction between Jehova and Santa, both benevolent immortal father figures who live up high and judge our moral actions with the promise of punishment or rewards.  Both with big white beards, and magical powers, and taught to children to encourage good behavior.  What baffles me is that most people so readily let go of Santa, yet so fiercely cling to their god well into supposed adulthood.

If I ever meet an adult who still believes in Santa, I will attempt to treat him with the same respect and quiet topical sidestepping that I treat theists and other believers in magic.  We are each free to choose what we believe and to teach our own children to believe in the same things, whether it's an Earthly Kingdom of the Second Coming, the resurrection of the Sons of Perdition, or a Galactic Confederacy that brought humans to earth on a DC-8. 

I respect your choices, all.  My only request is that those of who don't believe in magic be allowed to say so openly and without discrimination, just as you are.  I don't think it's too much to ask, but we have a long way to go.

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #39 on: January 12, 2013, 03:57:27 PM »
I believe in ghosts.  I've had an experience that convinced me after someone close to me died.  Yes, I'm INTJ and I realize it could have been a hallucination or other psychological response to death - but I have chosen to believe ever since and I enjoy it.

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #40 on: January 12, 2013, 08:34:35 PM »
I too believe in ghosts having actually seen one. Nothing scary, just my neighbor out for one last walk down the street when she was actually in the hospital and had passed away (not a thing I knew).

I have spent my life in the pursuit of happiness and have finally found it empty. I'm now working on bringing meaning into my life. If you've not ventured that way before it's a difficult road to follow as you retrain yourself but it's one I'm deriving satisfaction from

I'm really happy to have read this article - it's given words and a concrete idea to something I've been struggling to vocalize but has been a big part of the changes I've wanted to make this year. Thank you to the OP.

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #41 on: January 13, 2013, 06:33:35 PM »
I believe in ghosts.  I've had an experience that convinced me after someone close to me died.  Yes, I'm INTJ and I realize it could have been a hallucination or other psychological response to death - but I have chosen to believe ever since and I enjoy it.

I have the same feelings about religion, I think. Choosing to believe, that is.

Officially, I'm agnostic, tending to atheist. But I have my prayers and my pagan rites because, as Voltaire said, “If there were no God, it would have been necessary to invent him.”

Around that time I stumbled on another quote:
“If I had to choose a religion, the sun as the universal giver of life would be my god.” ― Napoleon Bonaparte

And that, my friends, is how I learned to stop worrying and worship Princess Celestia.

... it helps, but it doesn't give my life any burning purpose; I can't really crusade against the heathen in the name of love and tolerance.

Lagom

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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #42 on: January 13, 2013, 07:12:32 PM »
Agnostic, Atheist, Christian, Muslim, Scientologist....

There IS one true religion, and we all find it and perceive it in the way the makes the most sense to us. My faith is in the beauty and mystery of the universe. And in the goodness of my fellow man. And in my ability to better myself. Ultimately, I believe that truth itself can dwell within the eye of the beholder. As long as we are all curious and mindful and generous and just, I care not what color your truth may reflect.

Thank you, all, for the through-provoking discourse.


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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #43 on: January 13, 2013, 07:48:07 PM »
Thank you, all, for the through-provoking discourse.

Agreed.

And thanks all for not devolving into a flame war, like most forums and other online locales would.  Mustachians as a group, regardless of faith, creed, religion, tend to be a respectful bunch.  Proud to be associated with all of you.
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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #44 on: January 13, 2013, 08:50:19 PM »
Yes, thanks everyone for the responses.  I agree it is very impressive that folks can have this type of discourse without being hostile.  I really enjoy learning about what other people believe and why they believe what they believe - fascinating stuff.

There are some good books suggested I need to go and check out of the library.

It helps to hear that other folks struggle with the same issues of questioning their purpose on this earth and how they find meaning - if they are able to.  I am very analytical and sometimes have the tendency to overthink things.

I am trying to have a family as well and have hit some roadblocks.  I could imagine that having a family can help give more meaning and purpose to one's life. 

My grandparents were holocaust survivors  - my Grandma was the only survivor of her family and my Grandfather and his brothers were the only survivors of his family.  For some reason this and my brain wiring make it difficult for me to possess faith in religion.  I fully respect others that do.  In some ways I wish I had it.  When my Grandma passed away it was depressing - as it was only an end.  That is painful - while the concept of heaven to me seems it would be more comforting.

By believing what I do I know I need to do a better job of spending the time I have on this earth in a more productive way - maybe that is the key takeaway.  I have a good job that I am using to help get me to FI (budgets may be tight so may not have it forever) and I am working on my frivolous spending (We probably saved between 50 - 60% maybe more - I really need to do the math).  I watch too much netflix and I need to get my house in order - I am messy and I need to suck it up and be consistent in my cleaning and work on fixing my home up as I think it will make me a less stressed person.  I signed up and work with a women's volunteer organization but I don't think it is really the right fit.  I need to find something closer to home - that may help with the guilt I have for having a good life and not helping out others that may need a little help or adding value to the community in some way.


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Re: Interesting Article - There's More to Life Than Being Happy
« Reply #45 on: January 13, 2013, 09:07:16 PM »

I am trying to have a family as well and have hit some roadblocks.  I could imagine that having a family can help give more meaning and purpose to one's life. 

Ah - yes. We also hit many large roadblocks in our search to start a family. Then we were lucky/blessed and our son came into our lives and my purpose/meaning changed completely. I went from working in Private Equity to being a stay at home mom. I wouldn't change a thing. 
I understand it's hard, but try to keep positive. They say it, and it's true, when you have a kiddo everything changes. Suddenly there is definitely more of a purpose and meaning.