March 16, 2012

"And... that is the secret of happiness and virtue — liking what you've got to do."

"All conditioning aims at that: making people like their inescapable social destiny."

The Director said sententiously.


A quote, IM'd from Meade, who's been reading my blog this morning. We share a Kindle account, so he can search for "happiness" in the same books on his iPad that I've got on mine.

He sends 2 more from the same book:

1. "You've got to choose between happiness and what people used to call high art."

2. "Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they're so frightfully clever. I'm awfully glad I'm a Beta, because I don't work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don't want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They're too stupid to be able to read or write. Besides they wear black, which is such a beastly color. I'm so glad I'm a Beta."

51 comments:

Kit said...

Acceptance is the key.

ricpic said...

No. Acceptance is NOT the key. The key is doing what you've got to do without conning yourself that you like it while finding something you WANT to do and then doing THAT often enough to stave off madness.

rhhardin said...

Mu's are so standoffish.

- The Planet with 26 sexes, MAD magazine long ago.

traditionalguy said...

They will first have to eliminate the Judeo-Christian scriptures. Then people will accept manipulation so very easily.

Barack "the conditioner" Obama is here now to help us out of all this free will and private property beliefs that our ancestors fell for when the lived their lives by what the scriptures taught them.

edutcher said...

Put down the consumer electronics and step away from the hotspots. This is how symbiosis starts.

"A quote, IM'd from Meade, who's been reading my blog this morning. We share a Kindle account, so he can search for "happiness" in the same books on his iPad that I've got on mine". Electronic togetherness, what a concept.

No offense, but you guys are starting to weird me out a little.

Go out in the country and take a long walk as you hold hands.

No, don't even take any pictures of cute little bunnies.

Just enjoy the moment.

traditionalguy said...

What we have here is a failure to communicate said the Obamatron.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Some months back I read a Robert Heinlein novel titled Farnham's Freehold. It's kind of a bizarre book in the way that Heinlein does tend to be bizarre, only more so -- hmmm, nuclear war, time travel, cannibalism, and a racial element that is rather, shall we say, edgy for 1964, when it was written.

Anyway, in the future society that occupies part of the plot, there is a drug something like Aldous Huxley's "soma." It is called ... wait for it ... Happiness.

somefeller said...

Well, in our society, the Alphas do tend to work pretty hard also.

And while we're talking about Huxley, here is Huxley's letter to George Orwell, telling him that 1984 was a masterpiece and gently reminding Orwell that Huxley wrote a brilliant dystopian novel, too.

bwebster said...

Love the third quote. People (rightly) make a lot of references to "1984" and "Animal Farm", but "Brave New World" is every bit as prescient and relevant.

xnar said...

I think the Omega's destiny lies in government work.

ricpic said...

The secret of happiness is knowing I'm not Roesch-Voltaire and never will be. Thank you, Lord.

Freeman Hunt said...

People conditioned to seek happiness through sex and medication. The Brave New World is now.

Carnifex said...

Fahrenheit 451 was my cup o' tea for dystopia. But then I'm a bibliophile. None of these fancy e-books for me. My electronics are for work, my books are for me. I take them everywhere. I caress them, I want to know their innermost thoughts. I love the feel of the paper, the slight clay dust that accumulates on you fingertips so that you have to wet them to turn the page. I take them to the bathroom on weekends for intimate soaks in a steamy tub. To the bed to cuddle with on lonely restless nights.

I don't want a faulty tv, I want a real book.

Triangle Man said...

They will first have to eliminate the Judeo-Christian scriptures. Then people will accept manipulation so very easily.

Because no one ever used scripture to manipulate people?

Triangle Man said...

People conditioned to seek happiness through sex and medication. The Brave New World is now.

Isn't it food and religion if you are conservative and food and yoga if you are liberal?

Alex said...

Liberals are obviously smarter as they are all good looking, 20-30 somethings in LA. They are fit, tanned, make 6-figures and know were all the great parties are.

Dan in Philly said...

I hated Brave New World so much, and it's sooooo dated.

Bender said...

Huxley's letter to George Orwell, telling him that 1984 was a masterpiece and gently reminding Orwell that Huxley wrote a brilliant dystopian novel

The lessons of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein are ever timely. And although I only saw the movie, and did not read the book, Children of Men, and its idea of the despair and hopelessness of world of barren women is timely too during this push for a contraceptive paradise.

Darrell said...

Analyzing happiness is like analyzing comedy-- only less pleasant. Shut up and enjoy the moment.

Darleen said...

Happiness is not a condition imposed on us from the outside, it is a decision we make ourselves.

Darrell said...

That's quite a Gravitar you have there, Darleen! Throw you hat into the Presidential campaign and you have my vote.

Rusty said...

Christ, Marx, Wood and Wei gave to us this perfect day.

As I recall happiness came in the form of a pill as well.


Vote Progressive!
Where when we are all equal, everything will be mediocre.

traditionalguy said...

New survey time:

1) Happiness is hot coffee and a warm cigarette.

2)Happiness is a refilled Rx for Prosac.

3)Happiness is being loved by your grandchildren.

4)happiness is the beach and golf in the springtime.

Alex said...

Happiness is a warm gun, bang bang shoot shoot.

Curse Sir Walter Raleigh he was such a stupid git!

Alex said...

No. Acceptance is NOT the key. The key is doing what you've got to do without conning yourself that you like it while finding something you WANT to do and then doing THAT often enough to stave off madness.

Ah the mantra of greatness, I assume ricpic is a truly great man, inventor, patent holder, admired by millions...

Nora said...

I don't believe many people live their life continuously asking themselves whether they are happy. I don't think people want things like beauty or status because they think it will make them happy for life, most people aren't that stupid. I think unhappines and wanting more than one has is the driving force of humanity. Happy brain rests, unhappy brain works. Optimists rule the world, and no, optimists are not permamnently happy people, they are the ones who, when unhappy, believe they can do something about it.

Lem said...

I believe when you do your very best it becomes a gift.. the way art and love are gifts.


"From his father Jobs had learned that a hallmark of passionate craftsmanship is making sure that even the aspects that will remain hidden are done beautifully."

"One of the most extreme—and telling—implementations of that philosophy came when he scrutinized the printed circuit board that would hold the chips and other components deep inside the Macintosh. No consumer would ever see it, but Jobs began critiquing it on aesthetic grounds. 'That part’s really pretty,' he said. 'But look at the memory chips. That’s ugly. The lines are too close together.'"

Chip Ahoy said...

I think sententiously is an unhappy word.

Old Dad said...

I think a thorough exploration of Pandora's box is appropriate, but in the present blogospheric climate, I fear that such a penetrating analysis might end prematurely and in opprobrium.

One dares not follow in the truly conservative footsteps of Andrew Sullivan, Womb Raider, in one's personal pursuit of happiness.

Yet, in the spirit of the Greeks, surely there is a box somewhere worth opening. Perhaps, it is nestled in a virgin forest, or in some crevice on a well traveled dirt road.

But let us not forget the inscription residing over Dante's gaping hoary cavernous entrance to hell--"abandon all hope, ye conservatives who enter here." It's Hillary all the way down.

DADvocate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DADvocate said...

The secret is, there is no secret.

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
-Abraham Lincoln

cokaygne said...

Nora wins!

Meade said...

Here's one, emailed to me from unregistered lurker, Helen:

"It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question."
John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism (1863)

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Bender,

Re: The Children of Men, I haven't seen the movie, but have read the book. Based on Mark Steyn's review of the movie ... I'd say you're well advised to read the book, and try to forget you ever saw the movie.

Pogo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pogo said...

I was once on PBS discussing The Science of Happiness.

In truth, I don't know jack shit.
So it's hilarious.

Paul Ciotti said...

DADvocate: "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."
-Abraham Lincoln


And yet Lincoln was so depressed, both as a young man, and as president, that friends took took away his pocket knife and watched over him lest he commit suicide.

Bill'sFriend said...

@ricpic, 11:26: You don't have a clue what you're talking about.

leslyn said...

I'm sure that happiness has much to do with liking what you do, but not that it leads to virtue. To wit: Meade's selection of a quote that it's great being a Beta child, because all the rest are icky.

Bender said...

Michelle --

It is true that apparently it was the intention of the director to hijack Children of Men and make it primarily a story about mistreatment of immigrants, etc., but unless you are determined to see it that way, he failed. (In those same lines, apparently Starship Troopers was supposed to be an indictment of society as a police state, but there too viewers missed that angle, seeing it in more patriotic terms.)

In Children of Men, the film, the hopelessness of a world without babies overwhelms any other politics.

I would highly recommend seeing the movie. Just ignore the side-story.

Theo (played by Clive Owen): I can't really remember when I last had any hope, and I certainly can't remember when anyone else did either. Because really, since women stopped being able to have babies, what's left to hope for?

Miriam (Pam Ferris*): As the sound of the playgrounds faded, the despair set in. Very odd, what happens in a world without children's voices.


The truth is -- it is a baby who is the savior of the world.
____________

* When I saw Children of Men a few years ago, I never realized that this is the same woman who played the ghastly Miss Trunchbull in Matilda.

DADvocate said...

And yet Lincoln was so depressed, both as a young man, and as president, that friends took took away his pocket knife and watched over him lest he commit suicide.

Are you confusing the truth of what he said with the man himself?

ricpic said...

Alex said...

...I assume ricpic is a truly great man, inventor, patent holder, admired by millions...

You got me pegged, Alex.

ricpic said...

Hey Pogo, are you Kevin Flemming of the Mayo? What a thoughtful guy. If you are that guy. If not, not. Or is it Fleming?

Penny said...

"You got me pegged, Alex."

More like pigeon-holed.

But hey, when the wood fits?

Maybe you could call yourself something like...?

"Well suited".

Pogo said...

@ricpic: Guilty as charged.

The Crack Emcee said...

Happiness is a transitory state which, if you have nothing to compare it to, will be unrecognized for what it is. It's for this reason that - while I can't say I like my low points - I don't overlook them and give them their due:

Life is about living, not being some grinning idiot.

The Crack Emcee said...

Pogo,

Guilty as charged.

Whoa - my black ass usually agrees with a guy from the Mayo clinic:

Cool.

I'm happy!

Lem said...

Saw the video Pogo..

I knew you were a doctor.. but from the Mayo Clinic?

You had to know that was coming ;)

Pogo said...

Crack,

And this cracker usually agrees with a musician, so I'm happy.

Lem,
I forgot all about the scene!

Bruce Hayden said...

Pogo - what a pleasant surprise.

In addition to a very great video on its own, it also does a good job at responding to Ann's post a bit earlier on why people are happier when they get a bit beyond middle age.

Paddy O said...

Great video, Pogo. Thanks for linking to that. And for sharing a bit of yourself in the process.

That long term experience, the deeper contentment, is in Christian theology distinguished as joy rather than happiness.

Happiness is a fleeting reaction to circumstances. Joy is what we bring to those circumstances in expectation and insistence that circumstances will not be definitive for our identity. C.S. Lewis, for one, was surprised by this.