Just a general discussion on what happiness is,
and how to achieve it perhaps?
Happiness is a feeling, like sadness, grief, joy, boredom, etc... Appearing at the 'correct' times in one's life.
Humans (but not limited to) have, generally, a full spectrum of 'feelings' (those humans that are considered 'healthy'...).
Feelings come and go.
If you don't 'like' one feeling, just wait a bit and you will find yourself 'with' another feeling.
If you 'grasp' at one, just wait and it, too, will be gone, creating misery (another feeling).
If you seek 'one feeling' to 'hold' for life, then again, a feeling of disappointment and disillusionment will accompany another moment.
The flow, flows, and the wheel turns.
Enjoy it, whatever the universes 'bring'.
So your saying there is a limited palette of emotions we can experience at any one time.
If we grasp or try to sustain the experience of one, like happiness, you will cause a backlog of emotion (opposite to that which you are trying to sustain) which will flood through you at some point or another.
I like the idea that we shouldn't try to govern our emotions. We should try to manipulate our perspective of said emotions perhaps so we can appreciate pain, respect suffering and the strength it gives us.
At no point should we ever chase or demand anything of our emotions, only allow them to flow. Sounds to me like the philosophy of 'suck it up' or
'make the best of it'.
Or any other quick retort usually used to keep those who complain quiet; but this attitude carries poetic undertones of appreciation for the good and the bad... if we can genuinely find the artistic attitude to embrace pain and suffering for all that it gives us, then we would all be truly happy all the time.
I think of happiness as "the enjoyment of certain feelings" and that it is caused by chemical reactions in the brain that give one pleasure. Different things make different people happy, but the chemical reactions in the brain are extremely similar in different people.
And, I pose the question; can individuals achieve happiness without fitting into their environment?
What is happiness?
Is it a universal principle, or a totally personal perception of your current state of awareness in your particular environment?
Even in your own environment, is your happiness the same as anyone elses?
Does nothing else matter in the achievement of happiness but a state of mind?
Happiness (contentment or joy), being emotions, are most definately a physiological condition; brain chemistry.
The internal or external influences that produce the condition of happiness are generally universal in that we all share some commonalities. As in, we all generally take comfort in the same things. On the other hand, we can assume that what makes one person happy is not allways what makes everyne happy. So even if the mechanics of happiness is the same for everyone, defining the conditions of happiness is somewhat inefable.
Brain chemistry can be manipulated with drugs and stimulated by external conditions, however; a healthy brain produces seratonin dopamine and oxicotin as a normal random function. I belive that the brain chemistry of happiness is unavoidable and that it comes to us in spite of seamingly adverse conditions.
Sean K, I really like your point about ones happiness and how it would (or should) be deminished when it is gained at the expense of others. I think that is a moral destinction that is very wise. One day I hope that humans can establish criteria for a "minimum quality of life" and take steps to ensure no one falls below this level.
btw Bertrand Russell published a book in 1930 called The Conquest of Happiness that I want to read at some point.
Powell's Books - The Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russell
i say that happiness is as its been agreed, mostly chemical signals in the brain, based on developed/learned preferences... but is defined by the contrasting, unhappiness... which i still wonder... could we appreciate happiness if you never experienced anything bad or unpleasant.... wouldnt happiness lose its meaning?
So, you need to personally experience the ultimate distress, to experience ecstacy?