Positive way of thinking and happiness
Debate Rounds (3)
Reality is subjective. The way the world is, for us at least, is the way we perceive it. The world around us does not really matter as much, as how we understand and see it. There are people that have less goods than us, for example money or even people with less love in their lives. There are also people that have more wealth and more love in their lives than us. But, there are happier and unhappier people, in both categories! That is due to the fact that they perceive reality in a different way, even though reality is the same. As a result the only thing that defines our happiness is us and it is not our environment that has to change in order for us to be happy, but ourselves!
Every action we take, every decision we make, small or big, is based on our character, for our character is what defines our choices. A different person in our place, might not had succeeded as much as we have or he may had given up long ago. But he may also had achieved more than us, or he might had reached happiness. That is because of the different choices he would make, due to his different character. And so by bettering ourselves we may improve our decision process, and therefore change our environment in a positive way! Therefore, one should not wait for a significant change in his environment in order to reach happiness, e.g. get a promotion in his work, but instead he should focus on bettering himself and therefore change the way he perceives the world, so that he may be happy with what he already has. Plus, people wish from their nature to have increasingly more goods that they already have and that is why they never feel fulfilled. If someone's mentality compels him to acquire more and more goods in order to be happy, he will never achieved happiness because for example his promotion at work will not be enough for him. In my other debate at ( http://www.debate.org... ) i make my case that the only way to be happy is to improve yourself.
Of course, one might argue that if someone has all the goods he could possibly wish for, for example wealth or a beautiful family, how could he be unhappy? Also, if one has nothing, how could he be happy? Plotinus, a great ancient Greek philosopher stated that 'A soul can not see beauty, if she is not beautiful by herself '. Socrates said, that if something has good inside it, then it must be by its nature, beautiful in some degree. Meaning a good deed, a kiss, a forgiveness or a benign idea hides beauty inside it, for those who can see it. This results from the fact that the real beauty in this life does not hide inside a big house, a burger, a car or between the legs of a hot woman but it lies inside a large family, a poem or a song, and inside the hug of the woman you love. Because happiness, joy and bliss are emotions and not physical objects, and so they are produced by other emotions. And the feelings that are resulting in happiness, are not the joy you feel when you eat a pizza or you lie with a new partner but rather the love you feel for your significant other or the peacefulness that art can fill you with. But, in order to be able to appreciate these emotions, one must also have a good soul. That is because similar things attract similar. If one has only light in his soul then it is light that he seeks. But if one has only negative emotions, like hate, then he does not seek kindness but he seeks to hurt others. The 'more light' one has in his soul, the more he is attracted to kindness and good and so the more he can reach happiness, because he is searching for it into the right 'places'! For example, if one has love inside him, then he is looking to find love, and so he seeks his soulmate and not a different partner for sex every night, and that results in him finding happiness. On the other hand, if one's psychological world is being ravaged by resentment, then he does not seek to see other people smiling, but instead he wishes to hurt them and so he can never reach happiness, for he is searching for it in the wrong things! Of course, humans have both good and bad inside them and so the better characters they are, the more they can reach happiness because the more they are attracted to the things that lead to happiness, live kindness and spiritual goods! As a result, if someone is not a good soul, then not only does he not look for it in the 'right' things, but even if he finds it then he is unable to recognize it! Socrates was a firm believer that people who are not just and kind can not find happiness and he unfurls this idea into a number of his book, e.g. Gorgias or the Republic.
Then from logic stems the following question of how can someone improve himself. There are of course a lot of ways one can do that, for example by deciding to forgive the ones who hurt him, instead of taking retribution or by having as a role model a person like Socrates, that will lead him into a just and fair life. Also he may achieve that by acquiring wisdom via reading philosophy or by constantly helping the people around him. Most of all, he has to take control of his negative emotions (hate, anger, jealousy etc.) and eradicate them, while focusing at his positive ones. But in this article i will focus only on the benefits one may acquire from the positive way of thinking. The way one thinks affects the way he feels because the only thing that affects our emotions are ultimately our thoughts. One initially might say that it is also our environment, but after some thought he would understand that our environment affect the way we think and our thoughts are what affects our feelings. For example if one tries to smile and to talk with words that have a positive meaning, even though he does not feel like doing it, that will result in a positive effect on his emotions. This is a way that one may 'trick' his mind into thinking that it is happy. Even though he initially might not want to do that, in time he will get used to it and then he will do spontaneously without trying and that will help him 'persuade' his body that he is happy and ultimately his emotions too. Also, one by doing positive thoughts he can 'trick' his soul into happiness. For example, a few days ago my mother had a job interview. In the beginning she had a way of thinking, like 'if i don't like that job i can always find another one' or 'if they don't pay well i can always leave, no pressure'. Even though she thought that this was a positive way of thinking, it caused her anxiety. That is due to the fact that her mentality was actually negative. What she should have been thinking from the start should be more like, 'this job is going to be great and so there is no reason for me to get stressed' and 'of course they are going to pay me well, why am i even worrying?'. When she changed her way of thinking, then the anxiety faded away and also the job proved to be as good as she thought it would be. The power of the mind is incredible. Negative way of thinking can cause anxiety and even health issues, while it is proven that patients that have a good mentality heal faster (placebo effect). Great incite gives Louise L Hay's book 'Heart Thoughts', that recently came to my hands when my mother decided to read it, and even though i disagree with some parts of her philosophy it is really good and helpful. Additionally, one should try to accept and love himself as he is now, and so, then he may picture and focus hard on what he wishes to become and embrace it, so that he may be it. Also, he should speak positive to himself and 'tell' him what he wants to become. He should say 'I am taking responsibility. I am aware that there is something i can do to change. I deserve to change and I believe I am worth it.' because if he does not believe that he is worth to improve and become better, then he will not change. It is our divine purpose to improve ourselves, to take control over our negative emotions and desires and so walk the path to God. Furthermore, he should get in touch with his emotions, so that he may control them. For example, if he feels angry he should release his anger, by physical exercise e.g. running or playing tennis. Finally he has to understand that God loves all humans, including him and since God is good He wishes to help him. So let Him help you and show you the right path in life. Never forsaken the fact that your thoughts is what defines your character and your character defines your soul and there is nothing more important than taking care of your soul.
Summarizing, our happiness depends only on ourselves. We can change our emotions and thoughts and so improve ourselves and ultimately achieve happiness. For example, if one has no good inside him, in the sense that he is filled with negative feelings, then he is unable to appreciate true beauty and therefore he may never know joy, serenity and bliss. Finally, it is really easy to manipulate yourself into believing that he feels good, by acting positive (e.g. smile even if you don't wish to do it) and primary by thinking positive and that will eventually result into actually making you feel good and happy!
The world is important to our survival. If we struggled to survive, any human who wants to survive, would be unhappy. If it's too hot or too cold, some people are uncomfortable and this effects their happiness.
We live quite passively without a strict burden on our shoulders to keep the world around us healthy. This is because we work for the Government ideology more so than a wiser ideology. However, that is no excuse to think that the world doesn't matter as far as our experiences are concerned.
If it wasn't for the previous habitable conditions that sustained our ape-ancestors evolution, happiness for humans wouldn't be possible.
How we understand and sense the world, is using the world - humans are Earth-kin. To think that your sense and understanding of the world is free of the world, is sophism. I'd argue knowledge of the world being able to sustain our species for billions of years, would lead to greater positive emotions.
I am afraid I did not quite grasp the meaning of your argument. I read again and again your thesis, but sadly I feel like I have not understand perfectly what you wished to say.
Our environment is indeed important to our survival. I cant deny that, but quite a lot of humans are struggling to survive nowadays and somehow still manage to be happy. I personally know (a very few) people that have to exhaust themselves to work in order to make a living and they somehow still manage to have a smile on their face. Struggling to make a living does not guarantee you unhappiness, as much as a comfortable life can guarantee you happiness. Because even though someone may have a lot of hardships in his life e.g. working a lot of hours at a very difficult job in order to barely have enough money to eat, he may still manage to appreciate the little things in life, that can still lead him to happiness. This is because happiness is not based on the materialistic goods we possess, no matter how few they may be, but in our mental goods, meaning the emotions we feel, for example love. The majority of the populace is struggling to survive in one way or the other, but somehow a few of them are happy and i believe that if the rest of them, changed the way they are thinking, they may manage to be happy to! Even if someone is homeless he can still be happy, because happiness is a state of mind that only ourselves can define.
Now, i am not sure, but i have the impression that when you refereed to struggling to survive, you did not exactly meant economically, but you might mean the need to have to find food, water, clothes etc. You are talking about a wildlife situation, like the one we may sadly encounter in Africa or the one the primitive humans used to live in. But, scavenging for food and water does not guarantee you sadness and despair. Based on your logic, all the humans that used to live before the construction of cities, before the invention of farming were in black despair. The tribes of Indians of the north and south America, that were hunters and had to struggle to survive, were unhappy and sad all the time? I don't think so.
Plus, yes being cold can make you uncomfortable, but happiness is a state of mind that stays with you constantly for a long period of time. What you are talking about is joy. For example a little child can feel joy while it eats an ice cream, but when the ice cream ends it will stop feeling joy. On the other hand, the child will be happy (for example because it lives in a loving family) before it eats the ice cream, during and after. Same with being cold, uncomfortable or e.g. in pain. You may not feel any joy at the moment, but that does not mean that you stop being happy; because your happiness does not depend in one moment in your life, but is something constant that is with you for at least a long period. Have you heard people saying i was happy from 7:00 to 9:00? No. They will say that they had a good time from 7:00 to 9:00 because having a good time does mean that you were happy. The opposite is also true. For example if someone is happy, he is happy for a period in his life and he does not stop being happy from 3:00 to 4:00 because he had a stomach flu.
Moreover, when you say we live quite passively, you don't explain in which area we are passive. Plus the way I perceive it, is that you are talking generally, but not all people live the same and so i am sure that not all people live passively in their lives. Furthermore, I must apologize because I don't know what is this Government ideology we work for and so I did not understand what you said.
I did not say the world around us does not matter, but I said it does not matter as much as how we understand and see it (first line in my article). Plus, i our experiences depends on how we perceive the world. For example, what might be cold for you, it might be hot for me, because I live in Canada and i am used to different temperatures. We might be at the same environment, but you might want to wear a jacket, while I am cool with just a t-shirt. If someone hits me I will feel bad, but there are people who enjoy it. What I think is my dream job, you may find boring. What I think is beautiful, you may think that is ugly. The way we think of the world is what defines our happiness. What you see as a problem, I see as a challenge. What you might see as a burden, I may see it as a chance to improve myself. Except if it is a bullet haha but that is obvious and unnecessary to write. That is also the reason I said the world does not matter AS MUCH as the way we see it. If it is a truck running at you, well that is rather self explanatory :P That is the reason the world around us does not matter as much as our perception of it.
Moreover, I really do not understand why you refereed to our ape-ancestors and what they have to do with the happiness of humans today. I think that what you meant is that due to the hardships and the way the earth managed to sustain life our ancestors managed to evolve all the way from monkeys to homo sapiens and therefore because we exist we can be happy. OK i do not disagree with science, but I do not see the point of bringing this up. Please explain to me :)
Finally, in your last sense you claim that understanding and sensing the world means that we are using the world. Again, i never wrote about understanding the world, but rather about sensing the world. But sensing the world around you does not mean that you interact with it. Looking at something, does not affect it (expert if you are an quanton, but i think we can ignore this case). Again, reality is subjective. The way we see the world differs from person to person. Yes our environment affects what we perceive, but what we (or better said, how) perceive is more important. As an example of an extreme case, a delusional person will perceive nothing of the world around him, no matter how his environment may be, but he will continue to 'live' inside his head, in his own despair or happiness. So our views of it can affect how we feel. As i have stated before, what you find boring, I might find it fun. Of course we do not refer to extremities, like getting rolled over a tank, because this is out of the point and plain stupid :P Also, you argue that knowledge of our world will lead us to happiness. There is a specific name for the act of acquiring knowledge about the material world we live in. It is called science. So what you are claiming is that science will lead us to happiness, right? I presume, that you mean that science by making our lives more comfortable will make us happy. But again it is not how comfortable we are that will lead us to happiness, because happiness is an emotion and it depends on other emotion specifically the positive emotion we feel, like love, bliss etc. Physical goods, like a bigger car, or a faster PC does not affect our emotions. What affects our emotions are the ideas we have, for example the love we feel for our soulmate. Actually, this is more like what you stated in the first paragraph. Please read my article at ( http://www.debate.org... ) where I state my case, why physical goods are not what is in control of our happiness.
You did not argue with anything else in the rest of my article, so i assume that you agreed with me.
Thank you (again) very much for debating me. I hope my articles will help you find happiness in your life :)
If you 'didn't want' to live, for some it's an easy task; for those who fear the pain of suicide, it is not an easy task for you - your mind is as weak (or as strong) as your will. The majority of people want to live, plants try to grow, most life at least tries to live.
It's either fear and you stand up for a death cowardly, or nihilism, where you worship death.
To cast such an opinion is supporting the death of our species because you frown upon what another may call nature.
Furthermore, because you have no argument you are trying to switch the subject of my article into something I did not say. I Never said anything about worshipping death, denying life or wanting to commit suicide. This are Your words. I never supported something like that and i never will. My article has nothing to do with death, suicide, giving up in life or nihilism. On the other hand, in my article I try to help people find the way to enjoy their lives and be happy. How could that possibly be connected to death?
All in all, because you don't have anything to say, you are making childish attempts to undermine what i said, by saying that I claim things i do NOT support and have Nothing to do with what i said.
I am very sorry for you. I wish you to find happiness in your life.
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