• Wallows
    8.7k
    It seems like everyone is obsessed with the highly ego-centric model of happiness that is "being happy". People go to Barns and Nobles, order books from Amazon, and tire themselves over their perceived lack-of happiness in their lives. Even positive psychology is mired with the concept of happiness as an ultimate goal. A quick search on this forum will show that there's a strong bias to achieve or even maintain happiness. Yet, there is no aspect of being that is totally and wholly independent of one's situation/circumstances/state of affairs, and this is what Western thought gets wrong in my opinion.

    Going off on a tangent, I believe that Confucianism is the philosophy that leads one to the sanest and equanimous society, which then leads to happiness and joy.

    What are your thoughts about equanimity?
  • god must be atheist
    583
    I don't know what equanimity means. So I looked up the meaning. It is (more-or-less) accepting good and bad; staying calm; not getting upset; etc. This is a result of a quick search on the Internet.

    I have heard on the radio (Source: CKFM 102.9. 2010 plus or minus ten years) that happiness occurs when a chance event turns out to be more rewarding than expected.

    In this light, and in this light only (there are other lights, I admit) the person who responds to calamity and disaster and loss and abandonment wiht a shrug on his shoulder is indeed get less negative rewarded then more; hence, their expected was "If I lose my children in burning house, I'll be devastated," but in real life they are not devasted. That's equanimity, being better than expected.

    But if one trains to be equanimous, and his response is consistently such to disastrous events, then he or she probably does not experience happiness, as he has grown to expect equanimity instead of anxiety, fear, or anger.

    So, in short: equanimity helps in the short run in the beginning, but hwhen it becomes routine, then it deos not generate any great ecstasy.

    REMEMBER PLEASE: I based my opinion here on a tip that happiness is caused by getting better than expected results.
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    Going off on a tangent, I believe that Confucianism is the philosophy that leads one to the sanest and equanimous society, which then leads to happiness and joy.Wallows

    The word I use when I think about happiness is "peace." Buddhists talk about an end to suffering. I guess a Christian would talk about grace. I think those are in the same neighborhood as equanimity. And, yes, not the same as happiness, but as you seem to indicate, a prerequisite.

    To me, happiness is taking pleasure from the world. That's why being at peace is so important - bad things are going to happen. That doesn't mean that the world is not a wonderful place. It's so neat. Fun. Funny. All those quarks swirling around, gravity waves, sex, people, corned beef sandwiches, cognitive dissonance, plaster, Robert Crumb, "Heart of Darkness," @TimeLine, natural selection, the letter "q," my friends Richard and Gail, sex, gnomes, philosophy, a galaxy far far away, pudding, me, myself, I, the word "geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung," death. Most of all, my children.

    I forget, did I mention sex?
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    the person who responds to calamity and disaster and loss and abandonment wiht a shrug on his shouldergod must be atheist

    That's not right. It's acceptance, not indifference.

    happiness occurs when a chance event turns out to be more rewarding than expected.god must be atheist

    I don't think that's right either.

    I wonder how much of happiness is a matter of temperament. Some's got it and some's don't. A whole lot of people on this forum don't. Western philosophy and culture - religion - don't provide a clear route to peace, although I'm sure many would disagree. Philosophy doesn't tend to draw happy people.
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    "Hill Street Blues," that neutrino there (no, not that one, the one right next to it), metaphors, the word "equanimity," sticking your hands in fans for fun, money, consciousness, the Tao, chump change, giggle - the word and the act, "Ancillary Justice," verisimilitude, Lech Walesa, flapjacks, getting old, penises, blood cells, the New York Stock Exchange, not working, sex, ratiocination, Mohs' scale, peace, waking up from a bad dream and realizing you didn't skip class all semester and you don't have final exams, ridiculous lists of random wonderful things. More to come?
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    This paragraph from "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues"

    This sentence is made of lead (and a sentence of lead gives a reader an entirely different sensation from one made of magnesium). This sentence is made of yak wool. This sentence is made of sunlight and plums. This sentence is made of ice. This sentence is made from the blood of the poet. This sentence was made in Japan. This sentence glows in the dark. This sentence was born with a caul. This sentence has a crush on Norman Mailer. This sentence is a wino and doesn't care who knows it. Like many italic sentences, this one has Mafia connections. This sentence is a double Cancer with a Pisces rising. This sentence lost its mind searching for the perfect paragraph. This sentence refuses to be diagrammed. This sentence ran off with an adverb clause. This sentence is 100 percent organic: it will not retain a facsimile of freshness like those sentences of Homer, Shakespeare, Goethe et al., which are loaded with preservatives. This sentence leaks. This sentence doesn't look Jewish... This sentence has accepted Jesus Christ as its personal savior. This sentence once spit in a book reviewer's eye. This sentence can do the funky chicken. This sentence has seen too much and forgotten too little. This sentence is called "Speedoo" but its real name is Mr. Earl. This sentence may be pregnant. This sentence suffered a split infinitive - and survived. If this sentence has been a snake you'd have bitten it. This sentence went to jail with Clifford Irving. This sentence went to Woodstock. And this little sentence went wee wee wee all the way home.

    Somebody stop me please. @Baden, ban me before someone gets hurt.
  • Wallows
    8.7k


    Hmm, were reaching peak plasma concentrations of fermented grapes, I see.
  • Wallows
    8.7k


    Don't remind me of TimeLine. It was the best of times, and the worst of times.
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    Hmm, were reaching peak plasma concentrations of fermented grapes, I see.Wallows

    oytm0ejq7i2hg645.jpg
  • Coben
    802
    What are your thoughts about equanimity?Wallows

    I would happily replace neurotic worrying with equanimity, sure. But I also like things more rajasic. IOW passion is peachy, if it is focused on processes and relationships that matter to me. Even the process of creating art, for example, need not in the least involve equanimity as a rule. Sports are unfortunately not so much an issue for me these days, but there also I enjoyed really throwing myself in in ways that do not exhibit equanimity. I don't like killem competition, but competition and striving are all fine. And certainly with love, yes, peaceful moments and times are lovely. But then I want times that do not look and are not experienced as equanimity.

    Equanimity (Latin: æquanimitas, having an even mind; aequus even; animus mind/soul) is a state of psychological stability and composure which is undisturbed by experience of or exposure to emotions, pain, or other phenomena that may cause others to lose the balance of their mind.

    The reasons we get 'disturbed' by experience is because this has worked for us. We long evolved an active and affecting limbic system that means some things cause this emotional reaction and some things this. We have preferences and things we do not like. Once equanimity because THE heuristic, you are setting yourself up to treat your own self

    as problematic.

    you look even and accepting.

    But in fact you are only accepting what is on the outside.

    Inside you are waging a war against facets of yourself you cannot accept

    Or you have won the war and those parts are in prisoner of war camps.

    True equanimity would not look equanimous, because you would also accept your own passions, reactions, and expressive self. Buddhists and stoics tend to only accept the outside, not their insides.

    Now if you tell this to a Buddhist they will often say, no, I observe my emotions and reactions and accept them.

    This is like saying I accept that my baby is angry, but I do not let him move or make a sound related to that anger.
  • god must be atheist
    583
    happiness occurs when a chance event turns out to be more rewarding than expected.god must be atheist

    according to the news item, this is a research finding. But I can't research who did the research and wht their tools were.

    You can check it out yourself: money does not make you happy, but winning money on the lottery does. Women / men don't make you happy, but falling in love does. Science / knowledge does not make you happy, but getting praise for discovering a scientific fact or writing a nice book does. ETC. A sudden influx of unexpected gain of any kind makes you happy. Your kids give you more worry and headache than pleasure, yet when you get a child, you bang your chest, "I did it!"
  • god must be atheist
    583
    Inside you are waging a war against facets of yourself you cannot acceCoben

    The reasons we get 'disturbed' by experience is because this has worked for us.Coben

    True equanimity would not look equanimous, because you would also accept your own passions, reactions, and expressive self. Buddhists and stoics tend to only accept the outside, not their insides.

    Now if you tell this to a Buddhist they will often say, no, I observe my emotions and reactions and accept them.

    This is like saying I accept that my baby is angry, but I do not let him move or make a sound related to that anger.
    Coben

    All the above I fully accept. With complete equanimity. In fact, I wish I had thought of saying it, and now I am sad because I had not. I should have thought of the above, for it forms one of my tenets that support my world view of the validity of causality and physicality of our existence as biological beings.

    A normal person is unperturbed when things are going steady. But he is not happy; he is just not unhappy. Compared to unhappiness equanimity compares as a happy state; but compared to ecstasy, rapture, equalimity compares as a dull state. This is an opinion I can't back up with research.

    Also, you can look at happiness/suffering, joy/unhappiness, pleasure/pain as part of a need/reward system. Unfulfilled needs drive you to find fulfilment, which make you happy. You are happy for a while, but it fades, and you find yourself again in a state of needing to attain happiness, normally by satisfying your one or other need. A pendulum-like progress through time. A truly equanimous person does not experience this, therefore he won't survive, at the extreme of equalimity, as no disaster, calamity, suffering affects him adversely, so he does not feel he needs to act on those, he accepts them.... and at the extreme, the person of true equalimity accepts hunger, thirst, extreme heat or cold, until he dies of starvation, dehydration, or exposure.

    Mind you, he may be happy in his life that leads up to dying, and he may be happy during dying. That is the true power and logic behind the equanimous person. Does not get affected by pain, suffering, so he dies, but before he does, he is truly happy.

    I donno. But none of my write here was based on research, statistics, or nuclear physics. It was all speculative, therefore invalid, rejectable, and stupid.
  • god must be atheist
    583
    and at the extreme, the person of true equalimity accepts hunger, thirst, extreme heat or cold, until he dies of starvation, dehydration, or exposure.

    Mind you, he may be happy in his life that leads up to dying, and he may be happy during dying.
    god must be atheist

    If you accept the above -- and you don't have to or need to, this is not scripture -- but if you do; or else if someone says, "given the above", then we can safely conclude that happiness is not caused by happiness, but happiness is actually happiness. That is, the above proves that equanimity is a state of happiness, because equanimity is a state of happiness. That is, we say we are happy when we are equanimous, therefore when we are equanimous, we are happy.

    What I am trying to say is that it is an unproven, and possibly false assumption that equanimity is a state of happiness, and we can only accept that it is, if that is one of our basic premises.
  • Coben
    802
    l
    the person of true equalimity accepts hunger, thirst, extreme heat or cold, until he dies of starvation, dehydration, or exposure.god must be atheist

    Well, if they actually lost the ability to prefer or even notice any difference in experience. IOW they got no feedback at all about pain and unpleasance, then they would be handicapped and perhaps to death. But in real life they are not ignoring pleasure and pain, just not reacting to it emotionally as much as they can. So they calmly put on an extra layer, whereas someone else might blurt out 'Holy shit, that's fucking cold and run back to the house to get a better jacket.

    What I am trying to say is that it is an unproven, and possibly false assumption that equanimity is a state of happiness, and we can only accept that it is, if that is one of our basic premises.god must be atheist
    I don't think most stoics and others argue that it is happiness, even happiness is something they want to be equanimous about also. I do think they think it reduces suffering, which is not quite the same thing. And also that it makes one more rational, which I doubt. Obviously in some situations it is good to remain calm, but I think that can happen anyway if one accepts ones emotions. The emotions include fear and fear can make one calm, oddly enough, if your body realizes that noise and freaking out will likely kill or harm you.

    All the above I fully accept. With complete equanimity. In fact, I wish I had thought of saying it, and now I am sad because I had not.god must be atheist
    Steal it.
  • Filipe
    26
    I personally believe that all happiness comes from the acceptance that there is no true happiness.
    The concept of a moment in your existence where you will be truly happy is as illusionary as the concept of "the one true magic trick", and the catch is that there is none because the phrase already states that if a trick.
    And the reason for you to never have to be truly happy is that you require the none happiness to understand happiness and if you know the dark there is no way that you would enjoy living in an all-white room.
  • god must be atheist
    583
    I don't think most stoics and others argue that it is happiness, even happiness is something they want to be equanimous about also.Coben
    1. This can be verified by research, or debunked. I demand you do the research, since you suggested this. (I am being an asshole like so many who demand me to do research on every fucking word I write.)

    2. This was the basic premise of the OP. The OP's basic premise had no assumption on what most stoics and others argue abou thappiness; he was, instead, curious (or pretended to be curious) what our opinions were.

    3. My objections here are worth shit, so please ignore them at will. (But not at Free Will, as that does not exist.)
  • god must be atheist
    583
    the person of true equalimity accepts hunger, thirst, extreme heat or cold, until he dies of starvation, dehydration, or exposure.
    — god must be atheist

    Well, if they actually lost the ability to prefer or even notice any difference in experience. IOW they got no feedback at all about pain and unpleasance, then they would be handicapped and perhaps to death. But in real life they are not ignoring pleasure and pain, just not reacting to it emotionally as much as they can.
    Coben

    I would go one step further and claim that a truly equanimic person ACTS on his own emotions, which act for him is the lack of action. He may feel hungry, thirsty, cold, but it does not affect him emotionally, or if it does, he ignores those feelings, despite the physical impulses that are present. This is what I mean by extreme equanimity.
  • god must be atheist
    583
    I personally believe that all happiness comes from the acceptance that there is no true happiness.Filipe

    I beleive there IS true happiness... it just does not last for very long at any time.

    But hey, you have your belief, and I have mine.

    And mine is not based on research, so it can be validly argued that it may or may not be a false beleif, like one in god.
  • Wallows
    8.7k
    I would happily replace neurotic worrying with equanimity, sure.Coben

    Amen.

    But I also like things more rajasic.Coben

    But, why? Doesn't the Buddhist have a point here? I mean, there's always some bigger fish out there. Not to sound depressive or anything, just a fact of life I suppose.

    Sports are unfortunately not so much an issue for me these days, but there also I enjoyed really throwing myself in in ways that do not exhibit equanimity. I don't like killem competition, but competition and striving are all fine. And certainly with love, yes, peaceful moments and times are lovely. But then I want times that do not look and are not experienced as equanimity.Coben

    I don't know. I never got the Greek and now the inherited modern obsession with the Olympics or sport or whatnot. I usually just wallow about and eat and sleep.

    But in fact you are only accepting what is on the outside.Coben

    This seems backward. First, one has to understand one's self to be able to engender any sort of non-trivial change. Yes?

    I should state that equanimity could be even harder to achieve than happiness itself, hence why it was a term of endearment towards the Stoic sage.
  • Wallows
    8.7k
    I don't know what equanimity means. So I looked up the meaning. It is (more-or-less) accepting good and bad; staying calm; not getting upset; etc.god must be atheist

    I usually understand it to mean that one is living in peace with respect to other people. Yeah, there we go with "people".
  • Wallows
    8.7k
    And the reason for you to never have to be truly happy is that you require the none happiness to understand happiness and if you know the dark there is no way that you would enjoy living in an all-white room.Filipe

    I see what you did there. So, you have denied the attainment of happiness, and inverted the issue to then attain equanimity with others by not trying to be happy. This is worth contemplating over for me.
  • Coben
    802
    But, why? Doesn't the Buddhist have a point here? I mean, there's always some bigger fish out there. Not to sound depressive or anything, just a fact of life I suppose.Wallows

    NOt sure what you mean by bigger fish.
    I don't know. I never got the Greek and now the inherited modern obsession with the Olympics or sport or whatnot. I usually just wallow about and eat and sleep.Wallows

    Then that's what you like. I mean, I am certainly not going to tell someone else they should want tumult and passion and competition sometimes. If that doesn't interest you, then it doesn't.

    I am responding mainly to the idea that we, as in everyone, should want equanimity and all that entails.
    This seems backward. First, one has to understand one's self to be able to engender any sort of non-trivial change. Yes?Wallows

    I agree, but in many New Age, Stoic, Buddhist environs you will be instructed to accept as an observer whatever is happening. They may or may not accept emotions, but on in the sense that they watch them, rather than letting them express, and disidentify with them.
  • Wallows
    8.7k
    They may or may not accept emotions, but on in the sense that they watch them, rather than letting them express, and disidentify with them.Coben

    What do you mean by "disidentify with them"?
  • Coben
    802
    Now you have made me sad. :razz:
  • Coben
    802
    What do you mean by "disidentify with them"?Wallows

    They are not you. You train yourself to watch them as if they were something other than you. They do this with thoughts also and any phenomena. In fact we all do this now and then. I lost control of my anger. Not,I got so pissed off I showed other people that facet of me. Heck people take a lot of pills to get rid of their anger, but not so many ask for amputations and organ removal.

    I think the key juncture here is that in Buddhism, they can tell themselves they are accepting emotions. IOW they notice a feeling of anger and remain equanimous in relation to it. But that anger is being diconnected from expression, action, even the subtle changing the expression of the face or tone of voice. It's just another cloud in the perceptual field.

    That's a disidentifcation and a cutting off of a natural flow.
  • Wallows
    8.7k
    That's a disidentifcation and a cutting off of a natural flow.Coben

    Is it natural to disidentify with one's emotions? Is it even possible?
  • Coben
    802
    How?Wallows

    I peeked at the other thread. Depression is a very complex phenomenon, and if we take the example of the Buddhists, we are talking about decades of discipline. Leonard Cohen, a famous Buddhist, never really managed to Buddhism away his depression.

    But depression or a depressive pattern is not an emotion. It is a pattern with cognitive (thinky mind stuff) and emotional and interpersonal and location and work and family pattern, with varying forms for different people.

    To see how complicated this is I truly recommend this book...

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/163286830X/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

    We often are told to think of depression as something inside us. But it is obvious to most people not connection to pharma/psychiatry that depression is connected to our connections. The book will not give you the direct specific answer you need, but it might get you to respect the dissatisfaction you have, see some general directions to start improving things, and to stop pathologizing yourself, if you are.

    The pharma model for depression and 'wrong feelings' in general is philosophically bankrupt.
  • Wallows
    8.7k


    I will definitely give it a read. Thanks.
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