YouTube - The Who - I'm Free
[CENTER] [QUOTE="I'm Free" (The Who)]If I told you what it takes
to reach the highest high,
You'd laugh and say 'nothing's that simple'
But you've been told many times before
Messiahs pointed to the door
And no one had the guts to leave the temple![/QUOTE]
This post was sparked by getting this song stuck in my head, and by twirlips thread "In what order...".
What if the answer really is simple? The answer to what people are generally seeking when they study religion, philosophy, the universe, or human nature. The answer to "what's it all about, what's the purpose of life, what should I do with my time here?".
Perhaps we just don't believe it's simple, or perhaps we just don't have the guts, as the Who suggest. I read an article today called
[CENTER]"The "Instrumentality" Heuristic
Why Metacognitive Difficulty Is Desirable During Goal Pursuit"
The literature overwhelmingly demonstrates that feelings of ease are good and that objects that are easy to process are much liked. We propose, and demonstrate across three experiments, that this is not the case when people are pursuing a goal. This is because people pursuing a goal (e.g., "become kinder") usually invest efforts in whichever means (e.g., donate to a particular charity) they perceive as most instrumental for attaining their goal. Consequently, in their minds there is a correspondence between instrumentality of a means and feelings of effort. This correspondence becomes reversed in people's minds during goal pursuit, and they also come to view an object that is associated with feelings of effort rather than ease as more instrumental for goal attainment and consequently more desirable. When an object is not a means to fulfill an accessible goal, or when goals relating to the means are not accessible, subjective feelings of ease improve evaluation, as found in previous research on ease of processing.
There seems to be at least some scientific backing to this (although the researchers used different scenarios, and research has it's limitations). Since people associate effort with achieving their goals, the value things that require effort more than things that are easy (or simple).
In twirlips thread, two things jumped out at me. Twirlip has a list of some 42 philosophers he would like to read (many of whom have multiple books). He says:
I find it a struggle to get through any books at all these days
Nor will a mere historical summary satisfy me (although it will be a useful guide); I have to read some of the works of the major philosophers themselves.
Later, jeeprs mentioned meditation retreats:
I have undertaken one of the 10-day Vipassana Meditation Retreats which are offered by S.N. Goenka, free of charge, at centres in many countries. Great care is taken to differentiate this training from 'organised religion' and 'dogma'. Participants are encouraged to apply themselves to the practice and observe the results. It is an extremely arduous course, and the timetable they recommend for your daily practice is also pretty demanding. I will own up that I am not able to observe their recommended 'two-hour-per-day' regimen, but I nevertheless do practice regularly and there definitely are benefits.
This certainly isn't a thread to call them out and say "you fools, putting all that effort into it". And I apologize if you mind having your names in the thread. I have certainly said and will probably say again things similar to what I have quoted here. But right now I'm trying out a different perspective, and inquiring
if the answer is indeed simpler.
Why don't we just ensure our happiness day by day, meanwhile keeping an eye out for the future? Maybe today, what would make us happy is reading Plato and meditating--but perhaps we'd be just as happy with a historical summary instead of the entire works and a 30 minute session instead of a 10 day retreat. Is our attraction to things that are "a struggle" or "arduous" just part of our faulty cognitive heuristic that assumes effort is what gets us the results we want?
I think so, but I'm left with a discomforting "So what do I do???
" feeling :bigsmile: