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Freedom is the enemy of happiness?

Lasagna
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11/27/2011 11:18:43 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
http://www.ted.com...

This gentleman seems to have the data to prove that it is. The political and economic implications of this are quite damaging to the reigning views on this site, to say the least.
Rob
Lasagna
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11/28/2011 9:43:26 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/27/2011 11:26:24 PM, mongeese wrote:
Sounds peculiarly Brave New World-ish.

Ah yes I just saw that thread. This man shows that people are pretty ignorant when it comes to understanding freedom and happiness, and seems to explain all the random conjecture that was generated in the brave new world thread.

People consider freedom inherently good. It would appear it is not. We seem to be designed to function better without it in many, if not all cases. It's kind of hard to swallow but the more I think about it the more it explains what I see and what I feel. Our economic system, for example, promises us happiness at every turn and robs it from us with each choice it presents us.

There was a movie made a few years ago with david duchovny that illustrates this well. He and several others played a fake family that moved into a rich suburb to increase sales of certain products. Companies would pay for them to show off all their products and then they'd watch the sales increase as they spread unhappiness through the community. Once people realize they have the choice to buy something, it causes them strife not to have it. The kicker is that buying it doesn't increase your happiness, it just temporarily restores it while setting you up for future insecurity and depression.
Rob
darkkermit
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11/28/2011 1:05:02 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/28/2011 9:43:26 AM, Lasagna wrote:
At 11/27/2011 11:26:24 PM, mongeese wrote:
Sounds peculiarly Brave New World-ish.

Ah yes I just saw that thread. This man shows that people are pretty ignorant when it comes to understanding freedom and happiness, and seems to explain all the random conjecture that was generated in the brave new world thread.

People consider freedom inherently good. It would appear it is not. We seem to be designed to function better without it in many, if not all cases. It's kind of hard to swallow but the more I think about it the more it explains what I see and what I feel. Our economic system, for example, promises us happiness at every turn and robs it from us with each choice it presents us.

There was a movie made a few years ago with david duchovny that illustrates this well. He and several others played a fake family that moved into a rich suburb to increase sales of certain products. Companies would pay for them to show off all their products and then they'd watch the sales increase as they spread unhappiness through the community. Once people realize they have the choice to buy something, it causes them strife not to have it. The kicker is that buying it doesn't increase your happiness, it just temporarily restores it while setting you up for future insecurity and depression.

If the analysis is true then people living in dictatorships or communist countries would be much happier then those living in free societies. However, the analysis is false.

People enjoy freedom because they have better control over their lives, which is a cause of happiness.
Open borders debate:
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Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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11/28/2011 2:11:12 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/28/2011 1:05:02 PM, darkkermit wrote:
At 11/28/2011 9:43:26 AM, Lasagna wrote:
At 11/27/2011 11:26:24 PM, mongeese wrote:
Sounds peculiarly Brave New World-ish.

Ah yes I just saw that thread. This man shows that people are pretty ignorant when it comes to understanding freedom and happiness, and seems to explain all the random conjecture that was generated in the brave new world thread.

People consider freedom inherently good. It would appear it is not. We seem to be designed to function better without it in many, if not all cases. It's kind of hard to swallow but the more I think about it the more it explains what I see and what I feel. Our economic system, for example, promises us happiness at every turn and robs it from us with each choice it presents us.

There was a movie made a few years ago with david duchovny that illustrates this well. He and several others played a fake family that moved into a rich suburb to increase sales of certain products. Companies would pay for them to show off all their products and then they'd watch the sales increase as they spread unhappiness through the community. Once people realize they have the choice to buy something, it causes them strife not to have it. The kicker is that buying it doesn't increase your happiness, it just temporarily restores it while setting you up for future insecurity and depression.

If the analysis is true then people living in dictatorships or communist countries would be much happier then those living in free societies. However, the analysis is false.

People enjoy freedom because they have better control over their lives, which is a cause of happiness.

Unforetunately, in those cases, the degrees of freedom are not the only differences between the nations, and so you cannot conclude that a difference in happiness is due to that freedom. We can also see that people tend to be Happier in Europe and the the USA than in Somalia. Where it isn't freedom that equates to happiness, but wealth.

Indeed, numerous studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between wealth and happiness to a point (at which point, more wealth does not breed more happiness). It would likewise make sense, that only a certain amount of freedom is needed for happiness, after which, more freedom does nothing for happiness.

We can see from the paradox of choice, that having too many choices can cause additional stress (which is tied to many health issues, as well as unhappiness). People are happinest and least stress when they have several choices, not thousands, nor only one. This would also make sense with freedom, as freedom is very similar to choice.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
Lasagna
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11/28/2011 2:30:13 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/28/2011 1:05:02 PM, darkkermit wrote:
At 11/28/2011 9:43:26 AM, Lasagna wrote:
At 11/27/2011 11:26:24 PM, mongeese wrote:
Sounds peculiarly Brave New World-ish.

Ah yes I just saw that thread. This man shows that people are pretty ignorant when it comes to understanding freedom and happiness, and seems to explain all the random conjecture that was generated in the brave new world thread.

People consider freedom inherently good. It would appear it is not. We seem to be designed to function better without it in many, if not all cases. It's kind of hard to swallow but the more I think about it the more it explains what I see and what I feel. Our economic system, for example, promises us happiness at every turn and robs it from us with each choice it presents us.

There was a movie made a few years ago with david duchovny that illustrates this well. He and several others played a fake family that moved into a rich suburb to increase sales of certain products. Companies would pay for them to show off all their products and then they'd watch the sales increase as they spread unhappiness through the community. Once people realize they have the choice to buy something, it causes them strife not to have it. The kicker is that buying it doesn't increase your happiness, it just temporarily restores it while setting you up for future insecurity and depression.

If the analysis is true then people living in dictatorships or communist countries would be much happier then those living in free societies. However, the analysis is false.

Well I'm glad you were able to do that analysis in your head. I however would like to see your evidence that people in dictatorships are less happy than Americans. I don't expect you will be providing that evidence so I suggest we discount your point entirely.

People enjoy freedom because they have better control over their lives, which is a cause of happiness.

This point is directly defeated through the studies he presents.
Rob
Lasagna
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11/28/2011 2:53:07 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/28/2011 2:11:12 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
At 11/28/2011 1:05:02 PM, darkkermit wrote:
At 11/28/2011 9:43:26 AM, Lasagna wrote:
At 11/27/2011 11:26:24 PM, mongeese wrote:
Sounds peculiarly Brave New World-ish.

Ah yes I just saw that thread. This man shows that people are pretty ignorant when it comes to understanding freedom and happiness, and seems to explain all the random conjecture that was generated in the brave new world thread.

People consider freedom inherently good. It would appear it is not. We seem to be designed to function better without it in many, if not all cases. It's kind of hard to swallow but the more I think about it the more it explains what I see and what I feel. Our economic system, for example, promises us happiness at every turn and robs it from us with each choice it presents us.

There was a movie made a few years ago with david duchovny that illustrates this well. He and several others played a fake family that moved into a rich suburb to increase sales of certain products. Companies would pay for them to show off all their products and then they'd watch the sales increase as they spread unhappiness through the community. Once people realize they have the choice to buy something, it causes them strife not to have it. The kicker is that buying it doesn't increase your happiness, it just temporarily restores it while setting you up for future insecurity and depression.

If the analysis is true then people living in dictatorships or communist countries would be much happier then those living in free societies. However, the analysis is false.

People enjoy freedom because they have better control over their lives, which is a cause of happiness.

Unforetunately, in those cases, the degrees of freedom are not the only differences between the nations, and so you cannot conclude that a difference in happiness is due to that freedom. We can also see that people tend to be Happier in Europe and the the USA than in Somalia. Where it isn't freedom that equates to happiness, but wealth.

Indeed, numerous studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between wealth and happiness to a point (at which point, more wealth does not breed more happiness). It would likewise make sense, that only a certain amount of freedom is needed for happiness, after which, more freedom does nothing for happiness.

If people have basic financial security and in particular basic healthcare, then they will be as happy as any other person with any amount of freedom, wealth, or just about anything you can put in there.

He makes two points, backed up with studies (refer to video):
1) Anything that's happened more than 3 months ago doesn't matter. That means I could take two random people from DDO for example, take one and give them $10M and a supermodel wife and just about anything else they could want, and then take another and sever their spinal cord so they can no longer move their arms and legs. If you come back, say a year later, and ask each of them how happy they are, you won't necessarily get a better answer from the first person.

2) Those who are stuck with something, without the freedom to choose another option, will be synthetically disposed to enjoy it. Those who are in similar situations, but given a choice of a different circumstance to experience, will not recieve synthetic happiness and will be unsatisfied with their choice because of the percieved ability to have something else.

It's sort of like "the grass is greener" but not quite. In "the grass is greener," we simply attribute envy to the phenomenon. The grass is only truly greener if you feel you have a legitimate chance at achieving it. So it's not just that someone else has something better than you; the main variable in the equation, that we fail to recognize, is that we get the sense that we are able to get that greener grass if we so choose. Once you assimilate this point, it really puts a lot of seemingly complex moral and psychological issues to rest!

We can see from the paradox of choice, that having too many choices can cause additional stress (which is tied to many health issues, as well as unhappiness). People are happinest and least stress when they have several choices, not thousands, nor only one. This would also make sense with freedom, as freedom is very similar to choice.

As he demonstrates, even a small manageable decision-group is negative. Would you have been happier if you were able to choose the traits of your daughter?
Rob
Ore_Ele
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11/28/2011 3:11:22 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/28/2011 2:53:07 PM, Lasagna wrote:
At 11/28/2011 2:11:12 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
At 11/28/2011 1:05:02 PM, darkkermit wrote:
At 11/28/2011 9:43:26 AM, Lasagna wrote:
At 11/27/2011 11:26:24 PM, mongeese wrote:
Sounds peculiarly Brave New World-ish.

Ah yes I just saw that thread. This man shows that people are pretty ignorant when it comes to understanding freedom and happiness, and seems to explain all the random conjecture that was generated in the brave new world thread.

People consider freedom inherently good. It would appear it is not. We seem to be designed to function better without it in many, if not all cases. It's kind of hard to swallow but the more I think about it the more it explains what I see and what I feel. Our economic system, for example, promises us happiness at every turn and robs it from us with each choice it presents us.

There was a movie made a few years ago with david duchovny that illustrates this well. He and several others played a fake family that moved into a rich suburb to increase sales of certain products. Companies would pay for them to show off all their products and then they'd watch the sales increase as they spread unhappiness through the community. Once people realize they have the choice to buy something, it causes them strife not to have it. The kicker is that buying it doesn't increase your happiness, it just temporarily restores it while setting you up for future insecurity and depression.

If the analysis is true then people living in dictatorships or communist countries would be much happier then those living in free societies. However, the analysis is false.

People enjoy freedom because they have better control over their lives, which is a cause of happiness.

Unforetunately, in those cases, the degrees of freedom are not the only differences between the nations, and so you cannot conclude that a difference in happiness is due to that freedom. We can also see that people tend to be Happier in Europe and the the USA than in Somalia. Where it isn't freedom that equates to happiness, but wealth.

Indeed, numerous studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between wealth and happiness to a point (at which point, more wealth does not breed more happiness). It would likewise make sense, that only a certain amount of freedom is needed for happiness, after which, more freedom does nothing for happiness.

If people have basic financial security and in particular basic healthcare, then they will be as happy as any other person with any amount of freedom, wealth, or just about anything you can put in there.

He makes two points, backed up with studies (refer to video):

As said in other threads, I don't get sound on videos (so basically, I don't get videos), so I cannot watch videos.

1) Anything that's happened more than 3 months ago doesn't matter. That means I could take two random people from DDO for example, take one and give them $10M and a supermodel wife and just about anything else they could want, and then take another and sever their spinal cord so they can no longer move their arms and legs. If you come back, say a year later, and ask each of them how happy they are, you won't necessarily get a better answer from the first person.

I would disagree. I would bet money that in those two situations, you would find a difference in happiness between the two people.


2) Those who are stuck with something, without the freedom to choose another option, will be synthetically disposed to enjoy it. Those who are in similar situations, but given a choice of a different circumstance to experience, will not recieve synthetic happiness and will be unsatisfied with their choice because of the percieved ability to have something else.

It's sort of like "the grass is greener" but not quite. In "the grass is greener," we simply attribute envy to the phenomenon. The grass is only truly greener if you feel you have a legitimate chance at achieving it. So it's not just that someone else has something better than you; the main variable in the equation, that we fail to recognize, is that we get the sense that we are able to get that greener grass if we so choose. Once you assimilate this point, it really puts a lot of seemingly complex moral and psychological issues to rest!

People attribute part of their happiness based on what they could have had (in other words, the feeling of regret). The more choices you have, the more likely you'll make a wrong choice someone along the road and so have a divide between what you do have, and what you "could have had." Having no choices, you don't realize what you "could have had" and so cannot feel regret for not obtaining it.

However, there is one key difference that prevents this from being true. And that is the emotion of jealousy, wanting what others have. Your analogy would have suggested that slaves are happier than slave holders, as they have less choices. But because they can see how much better the slave holder's life is (not getting whipped weekly and other life negatives), their happiness becomes limited and they cannot fully experience that synthetic happiness.


We can see from the paradox of choice, that having too many choices can cause additional stress (which is tied to many health issues, as well as unhappiness). People are happinest and least stress when they have several choices, not thousands, nor only one. This would also make sense with freedom, as freedom is very similar to choice.

As he demonstrates, even a small manageable decision-group is negative. Would you have been happier if you were able to choose the traits of your daughter?

Yes. There is a 25% chance my daughters eyes will turn Hazel (instead of staying blue). I will be happier if they stay blue. I can also say that I'm happier when I choose my own meal at a dinner, than having someone choose it for me.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
darkkermit
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11/28/2011 3:17:13 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/28/2011 2:30:13 PM, Lasagna wrote:
At 11/28/2011 1:05:02 PM, darkkermit wrote:
At 11/28/2011 9:43:26 AM, Lasagna wrote:
At 11/27/2011 11:26:24 PM, mongeese wrote:
Sounds peculiarly Brave New World-ish.

Ah yes I just saw that thread. This man shows that people are pretty ignorant when it comes to understanding freedom and happiness, and seems to explain all the random conjecture that was generated in the brave new world thread.

People consider freedom inherently good. It would appear it is not. We seem to be designed to function better without it in many, if not all cases. It's kind of hard to swallow but the more I think about it the more it explains what I see and what I feel. Our economic system, for example, promises us happiness at every turn and robs it from us with each choice it presents us.

There was a movie made a few years ago with david duchovny that illustrates this well. He and several others played a fake family that moved into a rich suburb to increase sales of certain products. Companies would pay for them to show off all their products and then they'd watch the sales increase as they spread unhappiness through the community. Once people realize they have the choice to buy something, it causes them strife not to have it. The kicker is that buying it doesn't increase your happiness, it just temporarily restores it while setting you up for future insecurity and depression.

If the analysis is true then people living in dictatorships or communist countries would be much happier then those living in free societies. However, the analysis is false.

Well I'm glad you were able to do that analysis in your head. I however would like to see your evidence that people in dictatorships are less happy than Americans. I don't expect you will be providing that evidence so I suggest we discount your point entirely.

People enjoy freedom because they have better control over their lives, which is a cause of happiness.

This point is directly defeated through the studies he presents.

Yes I have data to back myself up:
http://www.city-journal.org...
http://www.nd.edu...
Open borders debate:
http://www.debate.org...
Ore_Ele
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11/28/2011 3:28:56 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/28/2011 3:17:13 PM, darkkermit wrote:
At 11/28/2011 2:30:13 PM, Lasagna wrote:
At 11/28/2011 1:05:02 PM, darkkermit wrote:
At 11/28/2011 9:43:26 AM, Lasagna wrote:
At 11/27/2011 11:26:24 PM, mongeese wrote:
Sounds peculiarly Brave New World-ish.

Ah yes I just saw that thread. This man shows that people are pretty ignorant when it comes to understanding freedom and happiness, and seems to explain all the random conjecture that was generated in the brave new world thread.

People consider freedom inherently good. It would appear it is not. We seem to be designed to function better without it in many, if not all cases. It's kind of hard to swallow but the more I think about it the more it explains what I see and what I feel. Our economic system, for example, promises us happiness at every turn and robs it from us with each choice it presents us.

There was a movie made a few years ago with david duchovny that illustrates this well. He and several others played a fake family that moved into a rich suburb to increase sales of certain products. Companies would pay for them to show off all their products and then they'd watch the sales increase as they spread unhappiness through the community. Once people realize they have the choice to buy something, it causes them strife not to have it. The kicker is that buying it doesn't increase your happiness, it just temporarily restores it while setting you up for future insecurity and depression.

If the analysis is true then people living in dictatorships or communist countries would be much happier then those living in free societies. However, the analysis is false.

Well I'm glad you were able to do that analysis in your head. I however would like to see your evidence that people in dictatorships are less happy than Americans. I don't expect you will be providing that evidence so I suggest we discount your point entirely.

People enjoy freedom because they have better control over their lives, which is a cause of happiness.

This point is directly defeated through the studies he presents.

Yes I have data to back myself up:
http://www.city-journal.org...
http://www.nd.edu...

It should be noted that those (at least the 1st one) are talking about "perceived freedom" rather than actual freedom. For example. I have the same amount of freedoms as every other american adult on this board, but some believe that they have very few freedoms (or more accurately, they believe that their freedoms are frequently trampled upon by the government). While we both have the same amount of freedom, we have a different amount of "perceived freedom" and so, as the studies would suggest, we would likely have a different amount of happiness.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
Steelerman6794
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11/28/2011 3:42:55 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
It's certainly not new to claim that one's happiness can be dependent on one's upbringing in a certain situation. Humans (and most other animals) have extraordinary biological dispositions to survive and even thrive in different situations. Naturally, too much freedom would result in what you and the man in the video described: lots of choices = the desire to have it all = unhappiness.

This is a socio-biological concept that you attempt to extend to political systems. I think the key problem is that the video talks about natural checks on human ability, while you talk about human ability to limit each other. These are two vastly different concepts. Societal constraints exist to further restrain human action. These constraints are artificial not biological. Biological and psychological drives do not cease to exist just because the government says we cannot indulge them.
sadolite
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11/28/2011 4:25:34 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/28/2011 9:43:26 AM, Lasagna wrote:
At 11/27/2011 11:26:24 PM, mongeese wrote:
Sounds peculiarly Brave New World-ish.

Ah yes I just saw that thread. This man shows that people are pretty ignorant when it comes to understanding freedom and happiness, and seems to explain all the random conjecture that was generated in the brave new world thread.

People consider freedom inherently good. It would appear it is not. We seem to be designed to function better without it in many, if not all cases. It's kind of hard to swallow but the more I think about it the more it explains what I see and what I feel. Our economic system, for example, promises us happiness at every turn and robs it from us with each choice it presents us.

There was a movie made a few years ago with david duchovny that illustrates this well. He and several others played a fake family that moved into a rich suburb to increase sales of certain products. Companies would pay for them to show off all their products and then they'd watch the sales increase as they spread unhappiness through the community. Once people realize they have the choice to buy something, it causes them strife not to have it. The kicker is that buying it doesn't increase your happiness, it just temporarily restores it while setting you up for future insecurity and depression.

"promises us happiness" "Pursuit" of happiness, "Pursuit" of happiness , "Pursuit" of happiness. Geeze

I guess I'm one of the ignorant, I wanna be free and unhappy,at least my unhappiness will be of my own doing and my own decisions.
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

If you think I will give up my rights and forsake social etiquette to make you "FEEL" better you are sadly mistaken

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Homo_Sacer
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11/28/2011 5:15:58 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I don't think, for two reasons, that freedom is the enemy of happiness.

First, the video demonstrates that humans have a remarkable capacity for rationalization and neural rewiring. In circumstances over which we have little control, or in which we cannot double back to alter a decision, we often find ways to reassure ourselves about what has transpired, and to assuage worries about not getting what we wanted. This can manifest in trivial ways, as in a child who assures herself that the toy her parents refused to buy her was a dumb toy anyway, or in relatively significant ways, as is the case with Stockholm Syndrome. It seems to me like an evolutionary mechanism whose purpose is to assist us in coping with adverse circumstances.

Second, there also seems to be an assumption that happiness is, primarily, a question of environment; however, Diener et al. have discovered some interesting data. Most people, as self-reported, are already reasonably happy (happy, mind you, being expressed in terms of subjective well-being). That is to say, most people seem to have a nonzero "equilibrium" level of happiness to which they generally return following various stimuli. Certainly, there are certain monumental events which might shift slightly the equilibrium line in one direction or the other, but, by and large, average lifetime happiness is primarily congenital, finding its origin in genetics, personality, etc.

Though particular stimuli may be clearly successful in sustaining some higher level of happiness, it is also true that A) there is a wide range of possible events which could sustain happiness, B) congenital factors play a significant role in coloring our perception and interpretation of stimuli, and C) the effects of stimuli are short-term. Keep in mind, though, that happiness over time, i.e. one's baseline, is determined almost overwhelmingly by congenital inputs. In the short-term, however, such inputs share equal amounts of causal power (Hamer 1996).

Imagine a graph with a straight line of indefinite length. This is akin to an individual's "equilibrium happiness". All else equal, if we reflect in the graph some stimulus, a spike in the graph will manifest. Similarly, stimuli cause spikes in our mental states. As the graph goes on, however, the spike begins to subside as the line smooths out again. This helps to explain how it is possible that individuals in many different sorts of circumstances can report similarly sanguine attitudes. This is further substantiated by the hedonic treadmill effect, in which A) reaching a particular level of stimulus, especially on a regular basis, results in craving a yet higher level of stimulation, and B) the spiking effect of a particular stimulus over time weakens considerably. Similar to things height and blood pressure, evidence suggests that an equilibrium happiness may be just another piece of an individual's mental and physical homeostasis.

This is all a very roundabout way of suggesting that freedom is not an enemy to happiness any more than control is a gateway to happiness, and that, rather, this is just an isolated case of a wider phenomenon in which we experience homeostatic returns to a base level of happiness due to a specific adaptive mechanism which, in part, helps us to adjust to different conditions. However, I think it is true that freer people are typically happier, albeit for different reasons. Typically, people will point the causal arrow from freedom to happiness. I think they have it backwards, at least somewhat. It's true that freedom is necessary to exercise this and that capacity, but I think the key to "happy freedom" is that individuals who are already congenitally inclined toward happiness will be drawn to zones of freedom. These sorts of people typically represent the world more positively, and have access to a wider range of happiness-inducing stimuli. In addition, their ability to represent things in such a way permits them to remain happy in a constant environment and adjust better to potential negative stimuli. That is to say, people predisposed toward happiness (i.e. most people) tend to select or create environments within which a positive affect feedback loop can be established, one such environment being a zone of liberty. At the very least, they tend to select or create environments in which their access to happiness-inducing stimuli is free and open. i.e. It's not that freer people are happier people; rather, people wired for happiness tend to construct or self-select into free environments.
Ragnar_Rahl
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11/29/2011 8:01:15 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
What on earth does a video have to do with data and what the hell do data-- measurements-- have to do with happiness? How do you measure happiness? By asking people to report it? "Very happy, somewhat happy" etc? Wtf kinda grounds for comparison would they have? "Ten utils?" The problems in that are obvious.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ren
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11/29/2011 8:30:23 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/28/2011 5:15:58 PM, Homo_Sacer wrote:
I don't think, for two reasons, that freedom is the enemy of happiness.

First, the video demonstrates that humans have a remarkable capacity for rationalization and neural rewiring. In circumstances over which we have little control, or in which we cannot double back to alter a decision, we often find ways to reassure ourselves about what has transpired, and to assuage worries about not getting what we wanted. This can manifest in trivial ways, as in a child who assures herself that the toy her parents refused to buy her was a dumb toy anyway, or in relatively significant ways, as is the case with Stockholm Syndrome. It seems to me like an evolutionary mechanism whose purpose is to assist us in coping with adverse circumstances.

Second, there also seems to be an assumption that happiness is, primarily, a question of environment; however, Diener et al. have discovered some interesting data. Most people, as self-reported, are already reasonably happy (happy, mind you, being expressed in terms of subjective well-being). That is to say, most people seem to have a nonzero "equilibrium" level of happiness to which they generally return following various stimuli. Certainly, there are certain monumental events which might shift slightly the equilibrium line in one direction or the other, but, by and large, average lifetime happiness is primarily congenital, finding its origin in genetics, personality, etc.

Though particular stimuli may be clearly successful in sustaining some higher level of happiness, it is also true that A) there is a wide range of possible events which could sustain happiness, B) congenital factors play a significant role in coloring our perception and interpretation of stimuli, and C) the effects of stimuli are short-term. Keep in mind, though, that happiness over time, i.e. one's baseline, is determined almost overwhelmingly by congenital inputs. In the short-term, however, such inputs share equal amounts of causal power (Hamer 1996).

Imagine a graph with a straight line of indefinite length. This is akin to an individual's "equilibrium happiness". All else equal, if we reflect in the graph some stimulus, a spike in the graph will manifest. Similarly, stimuli cause spikes in our mental states. As the graph goes on, however, the spike begins to subside as the line smooths out again. This helps to explain how it is possible that individuals in many different sorts of circumstances can report similarly sanguine attitudes. This is further substantiated by the hedonic treadmill effect, in which A) reaching a particular level of stimulus, especially on a regular basis, results in craving a yet higher level of stimulation, and B) the spiking effect of a particular stimulus over time weakens considerably. Similar to things height and blood pressure, evidence suggests that an equilibrium happiness may be just another piece of an individual's mental and physical homeostasis.

This is all a very roundabout way of suggesting that freedom is not an enemy to happiness any more than control is a gateway to happiness, and that, rather, this is just an isolated case of a wider phenomenon in which we experience homeostatic returns to a base level of happiness due to a specific adaptive mechanism which, in part, helps us to adjust to different conditions. However, I think it is true that freer people are typically happier, albeit for different reasons. Typically, people will point the causal arrow from freedom to happiness. I think they have it backwards, at least somewhat. It's true that freedom is necessary to exercise this and that capacity, but I think the key to "happy freedom" is that individuals who are already congenitally inclined toward happiness will be drawn to zones of freedom. These sorts of people typically represent the world more positively, and have access to a wider range of happiness-inducing stimuli. In addition, their ability to represent things in such a way permits them to remain happy in a constant environment and adjust better to potential negative stimuli. That is to say, people predisposed toward happiness (i.e. most people) tend to select or create environments within which a positive affect feedback loop can be established, one such environment being a zone of liberty. At the very least, they tend to select or create environments in which their access to happiness-inducing stimuli is free and open. i.e. It's not that freer people are happier people; rather, people wired for happiness tend to construct or self-select into free environments.

Yup.

However.

I believe that although that may be true, most people are sociologically wired to participate in a greater system. In other words, I feel that inasmuch as personality and other inclinations are partially inherited, so are proclivities to lead, follow, adapt, conflict, regress, or progress. I think it makes sense that most people are more comfortable with less responsibility. It's stressful; it holds us accountable for things we're not comfortable with. Therefore, if we're inclined be participate in a larger system, but we're also inclined to reject any responsibility greater than ourselves or loved ones, then it makes sense that we'd consider ourselves most comfortable, and therefore most happy, in a system that gives us the capacity to make decisions based on our day-to-day lives, but that also limits those decisions by a governing body we can hold accountable for whatever decisions are available.

In other words, the preternatural "WHY did you LET me DO that," when we're clearly "not in our right mind."

So, it is conceivable that some people, if even most people, are happier with less freedom. This isn't to say that they should be fettered, imprisoned, or in any other way oppressed. Our most recent solution to this riddle is democracy -- rather than placing such responsibility on each individual, or any one individual, we place it on everyone.

So, can we be happy while we're free? Sure, until something needs to get done that we're not comfortable with. Then it's time to call someone and let them take control.
Lasagna
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11/29/2011 9:58:11 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/28/2011 3:11:22 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
At 11/28/2011 2:53:07 PM, Lasagna wrote:
At 11/28/2011 2:11:12 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
At 11/28/2011 1:05:02 PM, darkkermit wrote:
At 11/28/2011 9:43:26 AM, Lasagna wrote:
At 11/27/2011 11:26:24 PM, mongeese wrote:
Sounds peculiarly Brave New World-ish.

Ah yes I just saw that thread. This man shows that people are pretty ignorant when it comes to understanding freedom and happiness, and seems to explain all the random conjecture that was generated in the brave new world thread.

People consider freedom inherently good. It would appear it is not. We seem to be designed to function better without it in many, if not all cases. It's kind of hard to swallow but the more I think about it the more it explains what I see and what I feel. Our economic system, for example, promises us happiness at every turn and robs it from us with each choice it presents us.

There was a movie made a few years ago with david duchovny that illustrates this well. He and several others played a fake family that moved into a rich suburb to increase sales of certain products. Companies would pay for them to show off all their products and then they'd watch the sales increase as they spread unhappiness through the community. Once people realize they have the choice to buy something, it causes them strife not to have it. The kicker is that buying it doesn't increase your happiness, it just temporarily restores it while setting you up for future insecurity and depression.

If the analysis is true then people living in dictatorships or communist countries would be much happier then those living in free societies. However, the analysis is false.

People enjoy freedom because they have better control over their lives, which is a cause of happiness.

Unforetunately, in those cases, the degrees of freedom are not the only differences between the nations, and so you cannot conclude that a difference in happiness is due to that freedom. We can also see that people tend to be Happier in Europe and the the USA than in Somalia. Where it isn't freedom that equates to happiness, but wealth.

Indeed, numerous studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between wealth and happiness to a point (at which point, more wealth does not breed more happiness). It would likewise make sense, that only a certain amount of freedom is needed for happiness, after which, more freedom does nothing for happiness.

If people have basic financial security and in particular basic healthcare, then they will be as happy as any other person with any amount of freedom, wealth, or just about anything you can put in there.

He makes two points, backed up with studies (refer to video):

As said in other threads, I don't get sound on videos (so basically, I don't get videos), so I cannot watch videos.

1) Anything that's happened more than 3 months ago doesn't matter. That means I could take two random people from DDO for example, take one and give them $10M and a supermodel wife and just about anything else they could want, and then take another and sever their spinal cord so they can no longer move their arms and legs. If you come back, say a year later, and ask each of them how happy they are, you won't necessarily get a better answer from the first person.

I would disagree. I would bet money that in those two situations, you would find a difference in happiness between the two people.

He provides very clear evidence that this is not the case. And I've observed this in society my whole life as well; Christopher Reeves, for example, reported genuine joy at being alive after his horse accident, despite having no use of his body. Many successful people, who would theoretically have the world in the palms of their hands, become depressed and suicidal. If you were right, wouldn't everyone in hollywood be so happy that nothing could phase them? And wouldn't people with injuries/illnesses be inconsolable? There should be a clear correlation but there isn't. Rich people commit suicide, poor people love life, and there's no discernable pattern.


2) Those who are stuck with something, without the freedom to choose another option, will be synthetically disposed to enjoy it. Those who are in similar situations, but given a choice of a different circumstance to experience, will not recieve synthetic happiness and will be unsatisfied with their choice because of the percieved ability to have something else.

It's sort of like "the grass is greener" but not quite. In "the grass is greener," we simply attribute envy to the phenomenon. The grass is only truly greener if you feel you have a legitimate chance at achieving it. So it's not just that someone else has something better than you; the main variable in the equation, that we fail to recognize, is that we get the sense that we are able to get that greener grass if we so choose. Once you assimilate this point, it really puts a lot of seemingly complex moral and psychological issues to rest!

People attribute part of their happiness based on what they could have had (in other words, the feeling of regret). The more choices you have, the more likely you'll make a wrong choice someone along the road and so have a divide between what you do have, and what you "could have had." Having no choices, you don't realize what you "could have had" and so cannot feel regret for not obtaining it.

However, there is one key difference that prevents this from being true. And that is the emotion of jealousy, wanting what others have.

Jealousy is not "wanting what others have." That is envy. Jealousy is demanding that someone else be faithful to you. The definitions have blurred over time and colloquially you can use jealousy to equate with envy, but not in a conversation with me.

Your analogy would have suggested that slaves are happier than slave holders, as they have less choices. But because they can see how much better the slave holder's life is (not getting whipped weekly and other life negatives), their happiness becomes limited and they cannot fully experience that synthetic happiness.

I'm not sure how we could test or demonstrate that.



We can see from the paradox of choice, that having too many choices can cause additional stress (which is tied to many health issues, as well as unhappiness). People are happinest and least stress when they have several choices, not thousands, nor only one. This would also make sense with freedom, as freedom is very similar to choice.

As he demonstrates, even a small manageable decision-group is negative. Would you have been happier if you were able to choose the traits of your daughter?

Yes. There is a 25% chance my daughters eyes will turn Hazel (instead of staying blue). I will be happier if they stay blue. I can also say that I'm happier when I choose my own meal at a dinner, than having someone choose it for me.

I don't think he was meaning to use freedom in the sense that another person is constantly oppressing and controlling you. Instead of looking it that way, consider if you were a farmer and produced your own meals, but simply didn't have a choice on what you were getting (you raised your own crops and didn't have a strip-mall full of restuarants down the street to patronize). You would be much happier and more appreciative of the meal you were "stuck" with, based on the potential of your farm/garden, than you would if you went to McDonald's but had the choice of Wendy's and Burger King next door.
Rob
Lasagna
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11/29/2011 10:01:36 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/28/2011 3:17:13 PM, darkkermit wrote:
At 11/28/2011 2:30:13 PM, Lasagna wrote:
At 11/28/2011 1:05:02 PM, darkkermit wrote:
At 11/28/2011 9:43:26 AM, Lasagna wrote:
At 11/27/2011 11:26:24 PM, mongeese wrote:
Sounds peculiarly Brave New World-ish.

Ah yes I just saw that thread. This man shows that people are pretty ignorant when it comes to understanding freedom and happiness, and seems to explain all the random conjecture that was generated in the brave new world thread.

People consider freedom inherently good. It would appear it is not. We seem to be designed to function better without it in many, if not all cases. It's kind of hard to swallow but the more I think about it the more it explains what I see and what I feel. Our economic system, for example, promises us happiness at every turn and robs it from us with each choice it presents us.

There was a movie made a few years ago with david duchovny that illustrates this well. He and several others played a fake family that moved into a rich suburb to increase sales of certain products. Companies would pay for them to show off all their products and then they'd watch the sales increase as they spread unhappiness through the community. Once people realize they have the choice to buy something, it causes them strife not to have it. The kicker is that buying it doesn't increase your happiness, it just temporarily restores it while setting you up for future insecurity and depression.

If the analysis is true then people living in dictatorships or communist countries would be much happier then those living in free societies. However, the analysis is false.

Well I'm glad you were able to do that analysis in your head. I however would like to see your evidence that people in dictatorships are less happy than Americans. I don't expect you will be providing that evidence so I suggest we discount your point entirely.

People enjoy freedom because they have better control over their lives, which is a cause of happiness.

This point is directly defeated through the studies he presents.

Yes I have data to back myself up:
http://www.city-journal.org...
http://www.nd.edu...

His studies are much more effective than these. He's using double-blind experiments and the like to bypass psychological errors that seem to be all over these types of studies. Simply asking people what their percieved levels of freedom and happiness are is a recipe for disaster; of course you're going to get the people that are happy saying they are more free. In my study, he shows that people are psychologically ignorant of whether freedom is good or not in the first place, and these studies have failed to take that into account. Also, it mentions that "responsibilities" were taken away from the residents without freedom... removing responsibilities is a confounding variable and obviously changed the results of the test.
Rob
Lasagna
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11/29/2011 10:10:55 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/28/2011 3:42:55 PM, Steelerman6794 wrote:
It's certainly not new to claim that one's happiness can be dependent on one's upbringing in a certain situation. Humans (and most other animals) have extraordinary biological dispositions to survive and even thrive in different situations. Naturally, too much freedom would result in what you and the man in the video described: lots of choices = the desire to have it all = unhappiness.

This is a socio-biological concept that you attempt to extend to political systems. I think the key problem is that the video talks about natural checks on human ability, while you talk about human ability to limit each other. These are two vastly different concepts. Societal constraints exist to further restrain human action. These constraints are artificial not biological. Biological and psychological drives do not cease to exist just because the government says we cannot indulge them.

Exactly Steelerman. I didn't make the distinction between freedom in the sense of oppression (i.e., slavery) and freedom in the sense of simply being endowed with lots of extra options that I use to make myself feel better.

I drive a Buick LeSabre. It doesn't run that great, it's banged up, and it's a pig at turning corners because of its size. But I love it because it's my car. If I had a fleet of powerful and luxurious sports cars and took a different one every day, one would assume that I would be happier. But I think it's clear to see that this is ignorance, based on this study: I would end up being less happy with the fleet of sports cars in the long run because every time I chose one I "could have" chosen another, and that would create dissonance in my enjoyment of it. I could possibly see other sports cars on the road I don't own and feel envy at not having it. But being stuck with my Buick, with no psychological justification to think I could have another vehicle, forces me to be synthetically happy with it.

Economically speaking, this has some strong implications. If people under capitalism are doing all this just to get a fleet of sports cars, for example, and it's shown that the end results of their work are actually going to make them less happy than when they started, then there's something to be said for that! I usually rant about income distribution, useless production of luxury items, etc., but there are even more fundamental and damning arguments against capitalism that make these arguments seem petty in comparison.
Rob
darkkermit
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11/29/2011 11:43:46 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/29/2011 10:01:36 AM, Lasagna wrote:

His studies are much more effective than these. He's using double-blind experiments and the like to bypass psychological errors that seem to be all over these types of studies. Simply asking people what their percieved levels of freedom and happiness are is a recipe for disaster; of course you're going to get the people that are happy saying they are more free. In my study, he shows that people are psychologically ignorant of whether freedom is good or not in the first place, and these studies have failed to take that into account. Also, it mentions that "responsibilities" were taken away from the residents without freedom... removing responsibilities is a confounding variable and obviously changed the results of the test.

I've watched the video before but honestly forget because it's been awhile since I watched it. Plus, I haven't looked at the experiments yet.

There's a limit to how far you can take these studies though in terms of real world analysis. There's a study that demonstrated that people behave altruistically. In a famous study done, dictator game, the dictator was given a sum of money and could give any sum of money he/she wants to the respondent:
http://en.wikipedia.org...

Basic neoclassical theory would predict that the dictator would keep the money for his/herself. However, that wasn't the case. However, the notion that this proves that people are altruistic and giving as the study would suggest is nonsensical because real world indicates that people tend not to give large sums of their money out for free. There was also a study that demonstrated that people are not motivated by money for anything that involves critical thinking. I remember that one member thought this was proof that equal pay would work. However, when pressed why corporations don't do this already, he stated that its because "they are behind on the science". Also nonsense. Your telling me that these greedy corporations didn't once try to consider this strategy and underpay their workers. And that not one greedy corporation bothered to look at this study which has been viewed by millions, even though corporations already engage in market research. Give me a break.
Open borders debate:
http://www.debate.org...
Homo_Sacer
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11/29/2011 11:57:33 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/29/2011 8:30:23 AM, Ren wrote:
However.

I believe that although that may be true, most people are sociologically wired to participate in a greater system. In other words, I feel that inasmuch as personality and other inclinations are partially inherited, so are proclivities to lead, follow, adapt, conflict, regress, or progress. I think it makes sense that most people are more comfortable with less responsibility. It's stressful; it holds us accountable for things we're not comfortable with. Therefore, if we're inclined be participate in a larger system, but we're also inclined to reject any responsibility greater than ourselves or loved ones, then it makes sense that we'd consider ourselves most comfortable, and therefore most happy, in a system that gives us the capacity to make decisions based on our day-to-day lives, but that also limits those decisions by a governing body we can hold accountable for whatever decisions are available.

More or less, this is true. I spoke a bit to this concern, but there are two areas in which think you might be erring:

First, I think, while social pressures are certainly a pertinent form of group self-regulation, I think that the emergence of such pressures is itself evidence of a further link in the causal chain--specifically, the aforementioned congenital inclination toward happiness. While a single individual may be able to self-select into an environment in which he experiences persisting positive affect, I would argue that an aggregation of individuals, by virtue of the difficulty of mass self-selection, is forced to create an environment in which flourishing is not only possible, but also quite likely. I think you touch on this somewhat, but perhaps not strongly enough.

Second, it isn't clear to me that the manifestation of a legal system, in terms of a general judicial apparatus, is directly linked to happiness. While happiness is arguably an evolved adaptive mechanism, so too is the group-protection instinct. I think we could perhaps agree that, at the very least, these two instincts are complementary. Just as a positively-offset equilibrium happiness is critical in dealing with adverse stimuli, so too is a functional legal system critical in dealing with physical threats to the well-being of the aggregate.

In other words, the preternatural "WHY did you LET me DO that," when we're clearly "not in our right mind."

So, it is conceivable that some people, if even most people, are happier with less freedom. This isn't to say that they should be fettered, imprisoned, or in any other way oppressed. Our most recent solution to this riddle is democracy -- rather than placing such responsibility on each individual, or any one individual, we place it on everyone.

I think that this is true only by happenstance: considering that the overwhelming majority of the world's population inhabits the Global South, it makes sense that most people are flourishing in what we might consider severely adverse conditions. If anything, I think this fact strengthens the case for congenital theories of happiness by demonstrating that people in two radically different environments can express comparable levels of happiness; however, I don't think this at all weakens the argument that happier people, in light of their tendency to seek out environments in which a positive affect feedback loop can be established, will either select or create zones of freedom for themselves and others.

So, can we be happy while we're free? Sure, until something needs to get done that we're not comfortable with. Then it's time to call someone and let them take control.

I assume, then, that we are in agreement about the propensity of happy individuals to create or select environments in which they can continue to flourish. Still, I think that there's a clarificatory point to be made, namely that it's not a question of freedom or non-freedom bringing happiness. We must be careful about pointing the causal arrow in the wrong direction: rather, I think, the question is the balance of freedom and control that happiness, left entirely to its own devices, is likely to produce. I also, however, think it's interesting that you consider ceding someone control to be non-freedom. Suppose I call a plumber to fix my pipes, and I give him complete access to my house, and complete license to do as he pleases so long as the pipes are fixed by day's end. It's certainly an inconvenience for me to call him up and license him in this way, but it isn't clear to me that making such a call leaves me, in a general sense, less free. On the other hand, once a government establishes legal hegemony over a region, we're talking about something other than the cessation of liberties. After all, no government in history has really been unanimously voluntarily established. Many governments, e.g. groups of barbarians capturing the lands and resources of farmers, simply established their rule by staking a claim, as it were, and suppressing dissent through aggression. While the contractarian notion of giving up freedom for other goods is an interesting thought to consider, it's not one which I am convinced has grounding in the historical reality of the foundation of states.
Ore_Ele
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11/29/2011 2:47:45 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/29/2011 9:58:11 AM, Lasagna wrote:
At 11/28/2011 3:11:22 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
At 11/28/2011 2:53:07 PM, Lasagna wrote:
If people have basic financial security and in particular basic healthcare, then they will be as happy as any other person with any amount of freedom, wealth, or just about anything you can put in there.

He makes two points, backed up with studies (refer to video):

As said in other threads, I don't get sound on videos (so basically, I don't get videos), so I cannot watch videos.

1) Anything that's happened more than 3 months ago doesn't matter. That means I could take two random people from DDO for example, take one and give them $10M and a supermodel wife and just about anything else they could want, and then take another and sever their spinal cord so they can no longer move their arms and legs. If you come back, say a year later, and ask each of them how happy they are, you won't necessarily get a better answer from the first person.

I would disagree. I would bet money that in those two situations, you would find a difference in happiness between the two people.

He provides very clear evidence that this is not the case. And I've observed this in society my whole life as well; Christopher Reeves, for example, reported genuine joy at being alive after his horse accident, despite having no use of his body. Many successful people, who would theoretically have the world in the palms of their hands, become depressed and suicidal. If you were right, wouldn't everyone in hollywood be so happy that nothing could phase them? And wouldn't people with injuries/illnesses be inconsolable? There should be a clear correlation but there isn't. Rich people commit suicide, poor people love life, and there's no discernable pattern.

That only shows that it is not absolute, not that it is completely not true at all.

First, lets point out several issues.

1) Suicide =/= unhappy.

I know, that sounds crazy right? But the nations with the highest level of reported happiness also have the highest suicide levels [1]. There are a few different explinations. The most likely is that, as Rags claimed, self-reported happiness is not real happiness. People can say "I very happy" without actually being very happy, thus nulling any study done by self-testing. However, other studies have found that self-testing is pretty accurate to professional psychological tests.

[1] http://healthland.time.com...

2) Handicapped people are "less happy" on the whole.

Despite the single example of Chris Reeves, the trend is still accurate. Depression rates are 2 to 10 times (different studies measure depression differently) higher among those with disabilities and chronic illness than the general population [2].

[2] http://www.fpg.unc.edu...

3) Wealthy are happier, to a point.

You've strawmanned my arguement. I didn't say that the richer you are, the happier you are, I said that the link it true to a point, after which, no amount of money will increase your happiness. Study after study show this [3]. It also isn't a single variable. Hollywood actors and such have an entirely different life with different worries and different stresses, so they cannot be directly compared to every day people (though they should all burn).

[3] http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com...



2) Those who are stuck with something, without the freedom to choose another option, will be synthetically disposed to enjoy it. Those who are in similar situations, but given a choice of a different circumstance to experience, will not recieve synthetic happiness and will be unsatisfied with their choice because of the percieved ability to have something else.

It's sort of like "the grass is greener" but not quite. In "the grass is greener," we simply attribute envy to the phenomenon. The grass is only truly greener if you feel you have a legitimate chance at achieving it. So it's not just that someone else has something better than you; the main variable in the equation, that we fail to recognize, is that we get the sense that we are able to get that greener grass if we so choose. Once you assimilate this point, it really puts a lot of seemingly complex moral and psychological issues to rest!

People attribute part of their happiness based on what they could have had (in other words, the feeling of regret). The more choices you have, the more likely you'll make a wrong choice someone along the road and so have a divide between what you do have, and what you "could have had." Having no choices, you don't realize what you "could have had" and so cannot feel regret for not obtaining it.

However, there is one key difference that prevents this from being true. And that is the emotion of jealousy, wanting what others have.

Jealousy is not "wanting what others have." That is envy. Jealousy is demanding that someone else be faithful to you. The definitions have blurred over time and colloquially you can use jealousy to equate with envy, but not in a conversation with me.

Whatever, change the word to "envy", point remains.


Your analogy would have suggested that slaves are happier than slave holders, as they have less choices. But because they can see how much better the slave holder's life is (not getting whipped weekly and other life negatives), their happiness becomes limited and they cannot fully experience that synthetic happiness.

I'm not sure how we could test or demonstrate that.

Bring slavery back is one way. See if 3 months down the road (that is how long the guy said it takes to forget), if all the slaves are happier than they are now.


As he demonstrates, even a small manageable decision-group is negative. Would you have been happier if you were able to choose the traits of your daughter?

Yes. There is a 25% chance my daughters eyes will turn Hazel (instead of staying blue). I will be happier if they stay blue. I can also say that I'm happier when I choose my own meal at a dinner, than having someone choose it for me.

I don't think he was meaning to use freedom in the sense that another person is constantly oppressing and controlling you. Instead of looking it that way, consider if you were a farmer and produced your own meals, but simply didn't have a choice on what you were getting (you raised your own crops and didn't have a strip-mall full of restuarants down the street to patronize). You would be much happier and more appreciative of the meal you were "stuck" with, based on the potential of your farm/garden, than you would if you went to McDonald's but had the choice of Wendy's and Burger King next door.

I'd be happy, not because of having fewer choices, but because I was able to produce it myself. That is pride driven happiness.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
sadolite
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11/29/2011 5:38:36 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
What this video is saying is that you can lower the bar on anything and people will just accept it over time as the new norm. And once they have accepted the new lower bar you can lower it again and people will accept the new lower bar as the new norm. You can over time get people to live in squalor and accept it as normal. You can't fight what you can't change forever. The human mind can't live in angst forever. So it accepts it and moves on. This is how tyranny takes hold. Lower the freedom bar a little at a time over time and the people never know the difference. That's how they come to the conclusion that you would be happier not being free. You don't have to make any decisions, so there is less to be unhappy about. You will accept living in squalor and be happy, you would have nothing to compare squalor too, that would be the norm.
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

If you think I will give up my rights and forsake social etiquette to make you "FEEL" better you are sadly mistaken

If liberal democrats would just stop shooting people gun violence would drop by 90%
Ore_Ele
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11/29/2011 5:42:25 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/29/2011 5:38:36 PM, sadolite wrote:
What this video is saying is that you can lower the bar on anything and people will just accept it over time as the new norm. And once they have accepted the new lower bar you can lower it again and people will accept the new lower bar as the new norm. You can over time get people to live in squalor and accept it as normal. You can't fight what you can't change forever. The human mind can't live in angst forever. So it accepts it and moves on. This is how tyranny takes hold. Lower the freedom bar a little at a time over time and the people never know the difference. That's how they come to the conclusion that you would be happier not being free. You don't have to make any decisions, so there is less to be unhappy about. You will accept living in squalor and be happy, you would have nothing to compare squalor too, that would be the norm.

While that does provide a potential explination of it, does it not also admit that the results are factual? And if various ethical positions (like nihilism for one) say that you should morally do what makes you happy, than wouldn't those moral positions then advocate that we should give up our freedoms?
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
Willoweed
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11/29/2011 6:00:23 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Latin and Central Americans rank as the happiest people in the world even though they have less wealth, and in some cases "freedom" then first world nations.
Ore_Ele
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11/29/2011 6:19:46 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/29/2011 6:00:23 PM, Willoweed wrote:
Latin and Central Americans rank as the happiest people in the world even though they have less wealth, and in some cases "freedom" then first world nations.

Not entirely true.

http://www.forbes.com...

If you take the points and place them on a scatter plot, you'll see something totally interesting.

http://www.debate.org...

It would show that while many poor nations (in this poll, these are nations that are self reporting low rates of "thriving life experience") are happy, many are also not happy, while nations that do have "thriving life esperience" are all happy. It would appear that, as a nation, you can be poor and happy, but you cannot be rich and unhappy.

In which case, living in a developed nation does bring happiness. But of course, we all know from logic class, A -> B =/= not A -> not B.

So developed nations do bring happiness, but that is not the only means of happiness for nations.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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11/29/2011 6:22:26 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
To anyone wondering what that single outlier is that appears to have fairly high life experiences (score of 62) but a pretty low happiness (only 6.4, where as the clear curve shows that it should be around 7.4 or higher), it is Israel. And you can guess why they might be not as happy as the rest of the world.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
sadolite
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11/29/2011 8:38:56 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/29/2011 5:42:25 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
At 11/29/2011 5:38:36 PM, sadolite wrote:
What this video is saying is that you can lower the bar on anything and people will just accept it over time as the new norm. And once they have accepted the new lower bar you can lower it again and people will accept the new lower bar as the new norm. You can over time get people to live in squalor and accept it as normal. You can't fight what you can't change forever. The human mind can't live in angst forever. So it accepts it and moves on. This is how tyranny takes hold. Lower the freedom bar a little at a time over time and the people never know the difference. That's how they come to the conclusion that you would be happier not being free. You don't have to make any decisions, so there is less to be unhappy about. You will accept living in squalor and be happy, you would have nothing to compare squalor too, that would be the norm.

While that does provide a potential explanation of it, does it not also admit that the results are factual? And if various ethical positions (like nihilism for one) say that you should morally do what makes you happy, than wouldn't those moral positions then advocate that we should give up our freedoms?

Tyranny, the opposite of freedom. tyranny = squalor
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

If you think I will give up my rights and forsake social etiquette to make you "FEEL" better you are sadly mistaken

If liberal democrats would just stop shooting people gun violence would drop by 90%
Lasagna
Posts: 2,440
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11/29/2011 9:41:40 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Just out of curiousity, has anyone here actually watched the presentation? If so, do you agree with his points? I made the mistake of giving political interpretations of it, which were not even hinted at by the presenter, and we've mostly been arguing those. I think someone with opposite political views as myself could resonate quite well with his points while drawing completely different conclusions as I did.
Rob
Homo_Sacer
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11/29/2011 9:58:26 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/29/2011 9:41:40 PM, Lasagna wrote:
Just out of curiousity, has anyone here actually watched the presentation? If so, do you agree with his points? I made the mistake of giving political interpretations of it, which were not even hinted at by the presenter, and we've mostly been arguing those. I think someone with opposite political views as myself could resonate quite well with his points while drawing completely different conclusions as I did.

I stumbled across the presentation some time ago, and I've also familiarized myself somewhat with a lot of the literature on adaptive/congential theories of happiness (though I would greatly hesitate to say that I'm well-read). Much of the existing research seems, to me, to confirm the fundamental thesis that we're wired to make ourselves happy even in conditions in which we don't get what we want, or in which we make a decision that cannot be reversed. As I argued previously, I think this strongly indicates that "equilibrium happiness", as part of an individual's general homeostasis, is a primarily adaptive mechanism which helps us to adjust to adverse conditions. I think Gilbert's research hints at this wider phenomenon, as does research on things like Stockholm and the human capacity to rationalize past behaviors.
Homo_Sacer
Posts: 63
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11/29/2011 10:02:53 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I should qualify, however: I don't agree that freedom is necessarily an "enemy" of happiness. Rather, I think it shows that humans, being "programmed" to be happy, so to speak, can flourish in a wide variety of circumstances. Though there is some indication that the ability to go back and alter one's choices results in less satisfaction overall, I think, perhaps, that it would be premature to therefore conclude that liberty in choice and action is counterproductive to happiness, particularly if it is true that we always tend to return to equilibrium happiness, regardless of a short-term spike in mood one direction or the other.