September 27, 2011

3 happiness paths.

Are you doing any or all of these?
• Feeling good. Seeking pleasurable emotions and sensations, from the hedonistic model of happiness put forth by Epicurus, which focused on reaching happiness by maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain.

• Engaging fully. Pursuing activities that engage you fully, from the influential research by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. For decades, Csikszentmihalyi explored people's satisfaction in their everyday activities, finding people report the greatest satisfaction when they are totally immersed in and concentrating on what they are doing — he dubbed this state of absorption “flow.”

• Doing good. Searching for meaning outside yourself, tracing back to Aristotle's notion of eudaemonia, which emphasized knowing your true self and acting in accordance with your virtues.

66 comments:

Patrick said...

Pleasure often prevents happiness.

prairie wind said...

With a name like Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, you'd have learn to engage fully as soon as you learned to write your name.

bagoh20 said...

Ever since I narrowly escaped da Cancer, those three approaches have become my life.

I though of it as: "Do good & enjoy what you've been given."

Simple, but very rewarding in every way. I've never been so happy, and I had a good life before the reckoning.

bagoh20 said...

Being busy and driven is just pure pleasure for me. I sleep very little, and everyday is new project, a new challenge. Exhaustion is bliss.

MikeR said...

http://stores.dennisprager.com/PROD/DPBK1.html
Dennis Prager, "Happiness is a Serious Problem"

Henry said...

Three mornings a week I get up early and play ping pong. Feeling good. Engaging fully. Doing good in the ping pong community.

Here's an interesting example of "choking":

Read the top comment.

Scott M said...

Nope. Not doing any one of the three, but that's a mid-life crisis for you. I need a little red sports car, I think, stat.

Christopher in MA said...

I'm with Scott (except on the red sports car. It's a Harley for me). I'm not doing any of those things. But since I've been unhappy for nearly 40 years now, it's become my default position. Too late to change now.

MarkG said...

The older I get the happier I am, although it might not stay that way if I have to start using diapers someday.

J said...

Aristotle was not Epicurus.
"Eudaemonia" is not merely....utilitarian pleasure but duty, virtue, moral obligations--and the Good (and real harmony) depends on fulfilling those obligations.
Like an obligation to expose frauds and cheats--whether New Yawk bankers, or mormon swine.

Scott M said...

I'd definitely take a V-Rod over any car you would throw at me...no possible way for the wife to make me take the kids on the V-Rod.

Paul said...

There is no 'true' path to happiness till you are content with what you have.

Contentment is true happiness.

All else is just chasing your tail.

Alexander said...

Aristotle did not say that you ought to find out about your "true self." If anything, his definition of eudaimonia was more like Csikszentmihalyi than what they give him here -- or rather his view would perhaps be the fusion of these two sound bites, deepened and improved, a thousand times over.

EDH said...

Whatever happened to the simpler, good old days?

"He who dies with the most toys wins."

traditionalguy said...

You can sum up those three as get a job doing something productive and become the best at it.

Self esteem is the result. Where is the guilt from doing the right thing? That makes you free.

The doubters and cursors can be left behind in your dust.

And also enjoythe wife and children God gives you as His Blessing.

LordSomber said...

#1 comes from doing 2 & 3.

Alas, too many concentrate on #1 alone.

Titus said...

I am pretty happy.

I think it is because I can see my third eye and my wide second is huge.

Working out and eating good food makes a huge difference.

J said...

You don't know jack about Aristotle ,or any real thinker mormon-swinepuppet Alexander (another anonymous troll).

Aristotle was not merely a hedonist--or psychologist--, and surely not ...a mormon-zionist bunko artiste

PatCA said...

Me too, baghoh.

Happiness is now easy.

SteveR said...

I am not doing any of the three, to be honest. A combination of things that boils down to a selfish pity party. I'm not unhappy though.

sorepaw said...
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traditionalguy said...

The secret to happiness just went from Ten Commandments to three suggestions.

Safe people are the real secret to contentment, and the Ten transcribed by Moses just so happen to lead to a society full of safe people.

Shouting Thomas said...

I can't drink any more because I've got rosacea. Drinking causes my nose and other parts of my face to swell up and turn bright red.

So, there goes one of my favorite Happiness Paths.

I can still screw!

sorepaw said...
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William said...

This is an almost clinical description of Charlie Sheen's life in its finest moments.

jimbino said...

"Live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse." -- Sal Mineo

Gabriel Hanna said...

For me those three are the same thing.

jimbino said...

Die broke.

Henry said...

Safe people are the real secret to contentment, and the Ten transcribed by Moses just so happen to lead to a society full of safe people.

Job begs to disagree.

I don't think contentment is happiness.

But happiness is the answer to the wrong question.

Living a meaningful life is more important than trying to find happiness. Character is more important than fulfillment. I know people desperately in search of self-actualization who leave nothing but wreckage in their wake.

Scott M said...

I know people desperately in search of self-actualization who leave nothing but wreckage in their wake.

That's because they are trying to find a question for the answer 41 or 43. They're close....

J said...
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J said...

"sorepaw"-- another anonymous sockpuppet coward--you don't know Nicomachean Ethics from yr favorite logcabin book of mormon fantasies and prevarications.
You're the druggie here too liar. Not a work of psychology, zionist trash.

Rabel said...

You can follow all three of the golden pathways to happiness by commenting on Althouse.com.

traditionalguy said...

Henry...Job was a special case and he suffered because Jehovah was palling around with a fallen arch-Angel and bet him that Job was stronger than any other man of faith.

Practice Tip: It is not wise to be overly strong and righteous.

traditionalguy said...

Happiness is reading Carol_Herman's comments and not letting her mess with your mind. It is an exercise in mental focus akin to Houdini's escape tricks.

Love you Carol.

ricpic said...

What's a wide second, Titus?

Michael said...

The thread in which J manages to mangle philosophy even worse than he mangles Spanish. Aristotle would not be happy.

Cheryl said...

Thanks, Ann. I just realized what has been going wrong inside my head as I've started homeschooling. No "Flow." I read that book several years ago, and it resonated, but I put it on a bookshelf and forgot about it.

It is hard to have flow with a seven-year-old switching subjects all the time. This is good food for thought.

J said...

Not exactly Mikey--you're mistaking Aristotle for like yr rabbi's brainfarts. Not the same whatsoever. For one ,the Stagirite was not supportive, of...MadoffCo. Or, per Ezra Pound..con usura

David said...

All three, each in moderation. Having also escaped "da cancer" as Bagoh calls it.

Alex said...

How about a hybrid? I try to mix #1 and #2 as best I can. #3 - well, my taxes are already going for that.

Alex said...

Another way to achieve happiness is to ignore J.

David said...

"I need a little red sports car, I think, stat."

Careful. That's the entry level drug.

DADvocate said...

Doing good. Searching for meaning outside yourself,...

Searching for meaning outside myself because there is not meaning inside myself. I'm just an empty shell of nothingness, except when I eat ice cream.

Is this moodiness day? Depression Avenue? Sad Street?

William said...

I like traditional guy's wise comment that safe people are the secret to happiness. The persons with whom you are intimate and the society of which you are a part have veto power on your happiness. The sore paradox is that unhappy people are most likely to chose folie a deux partners and join movements that accentuate their misery. The great loves of both Hitler and Stalin committed suicide. Both men went on to alleviate their grief by immersing themselves in politics. There were no paths to happiness in Hitler's Germany or Stalin's Russia.

Michael said...

J does not appear to have adopted any of the Greek methods for attaining happiness. In fact, I would say that he presents as the antithesis of the Stoic.

ricpic said...

A lot of Germans were happy as clams in Hitler's Germany.

Alex said...

Michael - J just follows the Voltaire school of ridiculing stoicism.

Carol_Herman said...

Buddha says the paths to happiness are the 8-fold way. (Nature loves symmetry.)

sorepaw said...
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sorepaw said...
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Scott M said...

It's John.

sorepaw said...
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sorepaw said...
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sorepaw said...
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Meade said...

I call my 3-fold path to happiness the "Herman Way":

Read, support, listen to Carol_Herman Cain's Hermits.

Bliss.

Fred4Pres said...

Trooper's Path To Happiness

• Feeling good. Have you tried his meatballs?

• Engaging fully. He definitely engages.

• Doing good. Insulting Carol Herman really can't be bad, so I would take that as doing good.

William said...

I'm happy to say that I have lived long enough to regret the false paths I have followed in pursuit of happiness. It seems to me that there have been enormous numbers of people who were not able to choose wrongly, not even once.

Jane said...

I'm way too busy to pursue much pleasure. And I have my kids at home to teach, as well as two other groups of kids (one poor and needy, one for education), which is indeed a joy, but definitely not an epicurean pleasure.

"Lord, I keep so busy, workin' for the kingdom, ain't got time to die."

Bender said...
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Bender said...

The secret to happiness just went from Ten Commandments to three suggestions.
Safe people are the real secret to contentment, and the Ten transcribed by Moses just so happen to lead to a society full of safe people.


The secret to happiness is building your life on rock, not on sand. A great deal of unhappiness is caused by the loss of things (money, looks, etc.) or by the fear of losing them, while happiness is being secure in knowing that the important things are safe and cannot be lost.

So, as Augustine says, consistent with building on rock, the secret to happiness is putting your faith and trust in things eternal (truth, love, and dare I say it, God), which can never be taken away from you, rather than in things ephemeral, those worldly things (like money, possessions, looks, etc.) which can be easily lost and will, in any event, one day turn to dust.

Bobby McGee understood too -- "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Okay. Hungarian language and culture lesson.

Mihaly = MEE-high = Michael

szent = SENT = saint

Csik = CHEEK = a county once in far eastern Hungary, and after the 1919 Trainon dismembering of Hungary, in Romania.

So it's Michael St.Michael of Csik County.

Nagyon koszonom szepen az edes felesege apa. (Many thanks to my late father-in-law).

I am so totally absorbed by what I do -- growing vegetables -- that even if I were independently wealthy I would continue doing the very same thing. I guess that answers the question.

HamiltonMom said...

Bart that was a good Hungarian translation, I must say so myself :)

themightypuck said...

Wasn't David Foster Wallace writing a book on being absorbed by what you do when he hung himself?

St. Peter's in the Great Valley said...

Well, I'm having a "spa week" this week - doing an iconography workshop. We gather for Mass every morning, have a chat about what insights or thoughts we had the day before or overnight concerning our icons, then paint, in silence and prayer, for hours. There's noonday prayer before lunch, which our lovely rector is making for us every day. At the end of the week, we will each have written an icon - I'm writing the Sinai Christ Pantocrator - which we will bless at the altar at our closing Mass on Friday.

Sighhhhh..... I am DEEPLY happy.

Punslinger said...

Happiness lies in being satisfied with what you have.

So get all you can.

Hagar The Horrible