May 8, 2008

"David Chalmers... admitted he loved some of the negative emotions like sadness, melancholy, anger and jealousy."

The philosophy professor goes against the grain at the happiness conference.


rhhardin said...

Professor Gilbert said the brain was hard-wired to make people reproduce, not necessarily make them happy. But Richard Davidson, professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the brain was "plastic" and could be changed by meditation - which he called dedicated mental training - to achieve greater happiness and compassion.

You can't even count the number of evolutionary lines that ended in monks.

vbspurs said...

Well, I don't like to comment on all the threads, so as not to be too ubiquitous -- but one little reply looked bad, so here I am.

Just to note that Dr. Mattieu Ricard is the son of the famous French philosopher and French Academy member, Jean-Fran├žois Revel, my personal hero.

Revel wrote several famous books defending America (a rarity in French intellectual circles).

Three I highly recommend are:

Ni Jesus ni Marx


The Monk and the Philosopher

The last one, as you can imagine, is a dual-oeuvre by both father and son discussing their own viewpoints.

Children often veer very far away from their parents personal philosophies.

In Revel's case, he was the consummate Westerner, and though an atheist, had a healthy respect for religion and Christian traditions.

It must've been difficult to have grown up as his son, and though who knows why we choose the paths we do, you can see the son choosing a very Eastern and very Buddhist existence the negation of his father.

As to the topic, does not having children make you happier? I wonder.

But I doubt it.


Joe said...

My kids drive me crazy, especially my oldest (she aged me thirty years as a teen.) When they are rotten, I feel like I'm about to lose my mind. When the are good, they are a joy. Playing with my children has always been one of the greatest sources of my happiness. When they were little it was blocks, Legos, trains, Hot Wheels, etc. Now it's video games--it's one place where I can connect with them.

(For me at least, one thing that greatly helped with the play thing is that I actually played with them and enjoyed their toys [making things out of Legos is one of life's true pleasures]. And when my wife and I play games with them, we play to win.)

vbspurs said...

And when my wife and I play games with them, we play to win.

Aww. My father always played me to win (any game), but my mother let me win always. That's why I respect my father immensely, but I love my mother.


Eddie Thomas said...

I think that these survey results are misleading. Most parents are acutely aware of the sacrifices made for their children, as well as the on-going anxiety involved in care for another. (The times I can most easily "enjoy" my children are when I can watch them under someone else's supervision.) If you think of happiness as feeling good, which most people do, then it is no surprise that parents are likely to report lower happiness than others.

If you were to move toward more existential categories, however, I'm guessing that the survey results would look quite different. My life as a parent is not more pleasurable than my life before parenthood, but it has taken on quite a bit more meaning. An indication of how much you value something is how much you are willing to give up for it.

blake said...

Do you really want to be the guy standing in front of the casket with a big, happy grin on your face?