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Beyond Pandora

Beyond simple curiosity, this is Thinking Too Much. If you're interested in philosophy and/or wild theories, you've come to the right place.

Name:
Location: Australia

Paddling somewhere between a mad scientist and an organisational artist. Indecisive, inconsistent and often incoherent.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Don't worry, be happy!

I have a theory about the keys to happiness. Existence, Contentment, and Pleasure.
For Existence, you must have food, warmth, oxygen, shelter, and avoid predators.
For Contentment, you must be healthy (avoid sickness), and safe (avoid fear).
For Pleasure, you must have stimulation of some sort. Please the senses by experience, please the mind by learning.

Which is fair enough. But not everyone is suited to complete independence. It would involve growing or foraging or hunting for all your own food, being physically fit enough not only for food, but to avoid predators or defeat them. It would also involve being able to create warmth - fire, for example, and/or clothes. You'd also have to be trained in medicine. That's an awful lot of skill for one person to have, especially in these times.

What we have now is interdependence. We have groups of people assigned to creating enough food for the rest of the population, other groups assigned to clothes, others to shelter, to medicine, and so on.

But this also means that any individual living by this system needs to give something to the system. You give services, you receive money in order to pay for the services other people give to you that further your existence.

This actually means that helping others comes before helping yourself. You can't be happy unless you are stimulated, content, and existing, but you can't continue to exist unless others help you, and they don't generally do that unless you have money - which you generally receive from providing services to other people. You help people so you can continue to exist. You may even help other people to be find happiness, when you yourself are still struggling at the existence stage.

The best way to get out of this is to learn some self-support skills, but you have to exist in order to learn, and you have to help others in order to exist. So you have to support others in order to become self-supporting.

This is bizarre, and depressing, and humbling, and a little spiritual.

But what it means is that I need to stop thinking about what would make me happy, and start thinking about what I can do to make other people happy, because otherwise I may stop existing, and then I can't even be content, let alone happy.

If I'm lucky, the skills I can contribute will turn out to be skills I enjoy using, and then I can work on pleasure and existence at the same time.

How are you feeling now?

And... is there anything I can do to help?

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