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Prometheus18
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17 Mar 2019, 12:47 pm

karathraceandherspecialdestiny wrote:
Prometheus18 wrote:
karathraceandherspecialdestiny wrote:
Some people seem to think that life experiences don't matter if they are not witnessed by another person--that nothing you do or feel is "real" unless someone is there with you to witness it, but I've never understood this perspective. I'm always there, I witness it, so my experiences and feelings are real to me. I don't need the presence of another person to legitimize my own experience. I enjoy my own life in my own company.


Thanks for posting this. I actually found it rather moving.


My inspiration was Thoreau (specifically "Walden", which I've read several times now), and as you've quoted him in your signature I imagine that means you've read him too.

"Economy" literally changed my life--I simplified my life because of that chapter alone. So much profundity packed into such a slim volume. Thoreau is also one of the reasons why I am a writer, and why I write non-fiction.

"Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispenable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind."

"None can be an impartial or wise observer of human life but from the vantage ground of what we should call voluntary poverty. Of a life of luxury the fruit is luxury, whether in agriculture, or commerce, or literature, or art...To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, not even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live, according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity and trust. It is to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically."


Yes, I love the Transcendentalist movement, although I do prefer Emerson. I think no greater philosophy of life has been developed, with the exception of the Epicurean/Stoic Eclecticism of the Romans, than that by the early American Liberals.



timf
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17 Mar 2019, 1:20 pm

Happiness

For several years I worked on a crisis hotline. I talked with about 4000 people of whom about 10% were attempting suicide at the time. I learned much during that time and made an attempt to put some of what I learned into writing that I thought might be of benefit to others.

Since I encountered so many people that were not only not interested in Christianity but openly hostile to it, I thought I would attempt to write from a secular perspective. I found it difficult. One might consider life as a spectrum with problems at one end and happiness on the other. While I could suggest methods and techniques to solve problems, it would only get someone half way to happiness, sort of getting stuck midway in a realm of boredom.

I came to see that living for self almost traps a person circulating between problems and boredom. Buddhism deals with this problem by suggesting the conquest of desire such that selfishness and its tendency to drag us back into the realm of problems is minimized. I found that getting past boredom requires a transition from selfishness to selflessness. A glimpse of this can be seen in a father who sets aside his own interests to provide for and protect his family or a mother weary from her work tending to her children.

In the Christian realm the distinction between self and selfless is the distinction between the flesh and the Spirit. Christians are called to love and as can be seen involves selflessness;

Love meekly and patiently bears ill treatment from others. Love is kind, gentle, benign, pervading and penetrating the whole nature, mellowing all which would have been harsh and austere; is not envious. Love does not brag, nor does it show itself off, is not ostentatious, does not have an inflated ego, does not act unbecomingly, does not seek after the things which are its own, is not irritated, provoked, exasperated, aroused to anger, does not take into account the evil, does not rejoice at the iniquity but rejoices with the truth, endures all things, believes all things, hopes all things, bears up under all things, not losing heart nor courage. Love never fails. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Most people see no advantage in selflessness. This is why most people have few if any children because nothing demands selflessness more than children. The pouring out of self in love seems foolish to most.

There are consumptive sensations such as fun and pleasure that are often used as a substitute for happiness. However, (like narcotics) they have diminishing returns and often lead to chasing increasingly greater sensation and plunging one back into the realm of problems.

If one has experienced difficulties and anxieties in life, finally achieving boredom can seem to be an idyllic respite.

For those of us with Aspergers, remaining aloof may not provide many opportunities to express selfless love. However, we may also misread a social or relational situation and go overboard with selflessness or create offense (where none was intended) through inexperience.

If someone with Aspergers desires happiness, it will most likely have to be found in relationships (with which we do not do well). Given that the age in which we live elevates selfishness, the odds of finding someone who can reciprocate selflessness are fairly low. This requires searching in areas where the sacrifice of self is not seen as something completely foolish like among nurses, cops, and in some churches.



karathraceandherspecialdestiny
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17 Mar 2019, 2:11 pm

Yay, someone piped in with "God says you can't be happy unless you sacrifice yourself for the sake of having children."

How modern and enlightened.



blazingstar
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17 Mar 2019, 3:33 pm

The trouble with Thoreau is that he went home for lunch which his mother made. :D Just teasing...a little. It is much easier to be philosophical if someone else is taking care of the practical things. :D I do like Thoreau a lot. Really. When I was in graduate school (back when there were few women) and doing it as a single mother, I was quite overwhelmed. Talking with my colleagues, all male, I suddenly realized that what I need was a wife. (They all had one.) Someone to cook and clean and watch the baby so I could get on with my graduate work. :D

Timf is striving for something that he can't quite articulate and I can't either. Not his fault. It is largely ineffable. The biblical language is a turn off for many people, though personally I am fond of the Corinthians quote, though I prefer a version that is more poetic. It does not depend on God (though some may think it does). It does depend on having something in your life that is more important than yourself. And it can be reached through spiritual practice of some sorts, as he indicates. It can also be reached in other ways. BTW, timf, I am a Hicksite Quaker, so you know from where I come. :D

That said, there is something else called happiness. And it does not depend on having a relationship with a deity or anyone else. But it is fleeting and shows up when you least expect it. :heart:


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shortfatbalduglyman
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17 Mar 2019, 7:49 pm

Some people can

There are seven billion people


It's better to not rely on other people for your happiness


But humans are social creatures



grahambaster
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17 Mar 2019, 11:40 pm

I found this today:
Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto by Anneli Rufus


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MrsPeel
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18 Mar 2019, 4:26 am

When I'm alone I can achieve fleeting joy and happiness, but for long-term feeling of content I need a connection to others. Otherwise there's no reference to societal norms to ground me, my life spins out of common orbits, and I start seeking personal happiness in ever more bizarre ways.



DanielW
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18 Mar 2019, 8:18 am

MrsPeel wrote:
When I'm alone I can achieve fleeting joy and happiness, but for long-term feeling of content I need a connection to others. Otherwise there's no reference to societal norms to ground me, my life spins out of common orbits, and I start seeking personal happiness in ever more bizarre ways.


Bad or Good, I can really relate to this...feeling? State of being?



CockneyRebel
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19 Mar 2019, 11:52 pm

Yes


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JustFoundHere
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20 Mar 2019, 2:34 pm

Personally, I'm "caught in the middle" e.g., as a "fence-sitter of sorts" on whether happiness can be achieved alone, or with other people.

I've always felt favorably for NT people who have some understanding/experiences with High-Functioning Autism (HFA) esp. NTs who have not had well too much experience with HFA; yes, I wrote this correctly, too much experience with HFA can be unfavorable (discussions that need more reassessment).

I've always felt good vibes for people who also (like myself) can reach a consensus on those thoughtful, important things in life!



PoseyBuster88
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20 Mar 2019, 3:56 pm

timf wrote:
Happiness

For several years I worked on a crisis hotline. I talked with about 4000 people of whom about 10% were attempting suicide at the time. I learned much during that time and made an attempt to put some of what I learned into writing that I thought might be of benefit to others.

Since I encountered so many people that were not only not interested in Christianity but openly hostile to it, I thought I would attempt to write from a secular perspective. I found it difficult. One might consider life as a spectrum with problems at one end and happiness on the other. While I could suggest methods and techniques to solve problems, it would only get someone half way to happiness, sort of getting stuck midway in a realm of boredom.

I came to see that living for self almost traps a person circulating between problems and boredom. Buddhism deals with this problem by suggesting the conquest of desire such that selfishness and its tendency to drag us back into the realm of problems is minimized. I found that getting past boredom requires a transition from selfishness to selflessness. A glimpse of this can be seen in a father who sets aside his own interests to provide for and protect his family or a mother weary from her work tending to her children.

In the Christian realm the distinction between self and selfless is the distinction between the flesh and the Spirit. Christians are called to love and as can be seen involves selflessness;

Love meekly and patiently bears ill treatment from others. Love is kind, gentle, benign, pervading and penetrating the whole nature, mellowing all which would have been harsh and austere; is not envious. Love does not brag, nor does it show itself off, is not ostentatious, does not have an inflated ego, does not act unbecomingly, does not seek after the things which are its own, is not irritated, provoked, exasperated, aroused to anger, does not take into account the evil, does not rejoice at the iniquity but rejoices with the truth, endures all things, believes all things, hopes all things, bears up under all things, not losing heart nor courage. Love never fails. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Most people see no advantage in selflessness. This is why most people have few if any children because nothing demands selflessness more than children. The pouring out of self in love seems foolish to most.

There are consumptive sensations such as fun and pleasure that are often used as a substitute for happiness. However, (like narcotics) they have diminishing returns and often lead to chasing increasingly greater sensation and plunging one back into the realm of problems.

If one has experienced difficulties and anxieties in life, finally achieving boredom can seem to be an idyllic respite.

For those of us with Aspergers, remaining aloof may not provide many opportunities to express selfless love. However, we may also misread a social or relational situation and go overboard with selflessness or create offense (where none was intended) through inexperience.

If someone with Aspergers desires happiness, it will most likely have to be found in relationships (with which we do not do well). Given that the age in which we live elevates selfishness, the odds of finding someone who can reciprocate selflessness are fairly low. This requires searching in areas where the sacrifice of self is not seen as something completely foolish like among nurses, cops, and in some churches.


I found this very interesting. I have found that when I am absorbed in a task that benefits others, but not acting to the point of exhaustion, I am the happiest. But that doesn't always mean in-person interactions...it can be cooking a meal to be delivered to a sick person, painting a picture to give as a gift, something like that.

I am personally Christian as well, but I liked how you reasoned about things instead of just quoting verses or famous theologians. Reminded me of C.S. Lewis a bit.


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shortfatbalduglyman
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20 Mar 2019, 10:49 pm

Sounds to me like, "happiness" has to be maintained, not just "achieved"


For example, someone could achieve their dream job, spouse, friends, health, $$$

Then the next day, canned, divorced. shot with a gun and continue living.


You achieve a diploma. You do not have to update or renew it