Epicurus and Happiness

Favorite quotations, etc.
ThisDinosaur
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by ThisDinosaur »

Dependence is not as benign as brute is implying.

sky
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by sky »

BRUTE wrote:
ThisDinosaur wrote:Maybe this is too personal, but brute's form of nihilism is a common sign of depression. Is brute depressed?
brute is never quite sure. he isn't unhappy. it feels more like brute has gained an insight that most individuals are prevented from gaining because of a combination of biological and societal glitches. maybe this is what depression feels like to "depressed" humans, too.

to say it another way: the nihilistic ideas that brute keeps thinking about are clearly facts, and true. humanity is a short sentence at the end of a short chapter of the Earth. brute will be dead in a few decades, and a few years after that, nobody will remember him. and even if anyone did remember brute, what good would that do him?

is brute depressed because the thinks about these (clearly factual) things, or are humans just too busy distracting themselves from them?

fun fact: brute is literally dancing in his chair as he's writing this, he gets way too much sun, works out almost every day.. so it's probably not that hormonal/biological depression thing. it's just a very strong case of ennui :)
You are right, we pass from nonexistence to a brief flash of awareness to nonexistence. We are surrounded by many humans and animals that may be more or less present in sentient awareness, but most are duped by things they are told and by fantasies of their imagination. So how does one respond to this knowledge? The virtues taught to us by society may be helpful if there is truth in them, but in the end, they are just part of the societal chaos of people trying to manipulate people.

Epicurus establishes tranquility as the goal, and plots a course by avoiding pain and seeking simple pleasures, using rational choice and hedonistic calculus. The criteria for maintaining a state of happiness and tranquility are within one's self and require rational discipline to achieve.

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Ego
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

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enigmaT120
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by enigmaT120 »

Now I want to go home and pet my cat.

sky
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by sky »

From the flow system theory, in order to escape boredom, one must increase the challenges that one takes on.

Image

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE IN FLOW?

1. Completely involved in what we are doing - focused, concentrated.
2. A sense of ecstacy - of being outside everyday reality.
3. Great inner clarity - knowing what needs to be done and how well we are doing.
4. Knowing that the activity is doable - that our skills are adequate for the task.
5. A sense of serenity - no worries about oneself, and a feeling of growing beyond the boundaries of our ego.
6. Timelessness - thoroughly focused on the present, hours seem to pass by in minutes.
7. Intrinsic motivation - whatever produces flow becomes its own reward.

BRUTE
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by BRUTE »

ok, time for brute to finally get that "flow" rant out.

flow is bullshit.

it's not that it doesn't exist, and it's not that it doesn't feel good. but flow only works for certain things in certain circumstances.

heroin puts humans into flow like a motherfucker. doesn't mean it's great. leads to constipation.

some specific things are best done in flow. most are not. when humans point to m------------'s flow theory like others point to Marcus Aurelius or some other 3rd class "philosopher" for life guidance, brute loses his shit.

for reference, brute has used flow to overcome boredom in the past. turns out few things put brute into flow as quickly as riding a motorcycle at 3x the posted speed limit.

but that isn't a solution to life, it's not even a strategy. it's a very, very powerful distraction. spending the rest of brute's life on a motorcycle doing heroin is only insofar a great strategy as it would make the former end very quickly.

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Ego
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by Ego »

Heroin deadens the feelings produced by challenges. Flow heightens them. Two different things entirely.

I've found that entering flow with others is (for me) 2-5X the dose response of flowing alone.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@Ego: Agree. I almost end up in flow when I am aroused and another person is in control.

ThisDinosaur
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by ThisDinosaur »

Its nice to finally see somebody badmouth Aurelius. I found Meditations a tough read, because I was expecting some kind of life-changing breakthrough. Lots of these old philosophers read like outdated self-help books. If I tell you Enchiridion is my favorite book, you might rub your chin and mumble "indeed." If I tell you my favorite book is by Tony Robbins, you'd fight the urge to roll your eyes. Its all the same shite.

I think people find something inspiring if they find it at a time when they are ready to feel inspired. My world view is heavily influenced by George Carlin. Maybe he's a better philosopher than Epictetus, or maybe he was just better than me at articulating things I kind of already believed.

GandK
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by GandK »

@sky

I've seen a similar chart before, but I feel like that theory doesn't include me. My happiness isn't related to skill or challenges or tasks or activity in any way that I can see. I do enjoy those, but I also enjoy the absence of them, and frequently feel ecstasy and serenity when I'm not doing anything.

Maybe I'm just lazy. :lol:

FBeyer
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by FBeyer »

BRUTE wrote:...
heroin puts humans into flow like a motherfucker. doesn't mean it's great. leads to constipation... for life guidance, brute loses his shit...
I think I've just found the solution to Brute's opiate-related constipation problem.
GandK wrote:...My happiness isn't related to skill or challenges or tasks or activity in any way that I can see...
Is Flow about maximizing happiness? I always thought about Flow as some disjoint positive-psychology term relating to optimum working conditions, rather than a life philosophy.
Need to get work done? Is it boring? Do Pomodoros.
Is it not boring? Can you actively frame the work and alter your physical working conditions? If yes go for Flow.

If I'm reading for studies I NEED SQ3R reading and Pomodoros to keep me on track.
If I'm programming or doing calculations by hand: Flow!
ThisDinosaur wrote:...Its all the same shite...
I think this is one of the most profound insights a human can attain. Information/knowledge is regurgitated to unfathomable extent. The collective improvement of humanity comes down to perhaps a thousand outstanding individuals. You can sell a book/video/course when you can frame ancient knowledge in a way that is conducive to your intended recipients. Witness Your Money Or Your Life turning personal finance into something that is entertaining and thought provoking at the same time. This is why communication skills trump expert knowledge when it comes to the written medium. Framing old shit in new terms sells.

Dragline
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by Dragline »

GandK wrote:@sky

I've seen a similar chart before, but I feel like that theory doesn't include me. My happiness isn't related to skill or challenges or tasks or activity in any way that I can see. I do enjoy those, but I also enjoy the absence of them, and frequently feel ecstasy and serenity when I'm not doing anything.

Maybe I'm just lazy. :lol:
No, you are just good at what you don't do. :)

Dragline
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by Dragline »

BRUTE wrote: for reference, brute has used flow to overcome boredom in the past. turns out few things put brute into flow as quickly as riding a motorcycle at 3x the posted speed limit.

but that isn't a solution to life, it's not even a strategy. it's a very, very powerful distraction. spending the rest of brute's life on a motorcycle doing heroin is only insofar a great strategy as it would make the former end very quickly.
You need to "Ten-X" your flow by "bio-hacking" with George Carlin memes and Pomodoros to Unleash the Power Within.

This may help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPI5TexgiXA

cmonkey
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by cmonkey »

GandK wrote: I do enjoy those, but I also enjoy the absence of them, and frequently feel ecstasy and serenity when I'm not doing anything.

Maybe I'm just lazy. :lol:
For the first time in a long time I sat on our porch and did nothing last. It was the best time I've had in a long while, even if it was only 10 minutes.

I know this feeling quite well, even if I have been having a hard time of 'doing nothing' lately. I kind of think that my wanting to 'be doing something' stems from not being able to accept something as 'good enough' and wanting to improve it. At least thats how my whole renovation has gone.

When I sit and 'do nothing' I am accepting that everything is good enough (even if someone else doesn't think so) and that brings peace to my mind.

vexed87
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by vexed87 »

jacob wrote:The problem is that no matter how large the bucket list, one can not want to find meaning in any one entry. Without that meaning, the activity can easily feel like busywork. Something one does just to do something, e.g. #232) Learn to play the guitar. I don't really care to, nor do I find it meaningful or interesting, but I do it anyway because it keeps me busy.

This is also why we occasionally see hints of ennui around here.
Hmm, ennui, a new word for me! Is there a 'recipe' for finding meaningful activity/work? This is something I struggle with, particularly if my evening is taken up by chores or things DW wants to do that don't meet my personal interests, particularly as my day job isn't always THAT fulfilling.

cmonkey
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by cmonkey »

vexed87 wrote:Is there a 'recipe' for finding meaningful activity/work?
For me, it would default to what I daydream about. Watch any of your Monty Don episodes on BBC2 and you will see what I daydream about. Propogation, greenhouses, compost, flowers, veggies..... ;)

Above all, what do you dream about doing each day? Most people probably have something crosses their minds from time to time. What makes you so happy that when you think about it, you get goosebumps?!

vexed87
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by vexed87 »

That works for me too... but some day dreams require considerably more effort, skill or resources than I am prepared to develop or spend, and such I get put off a great many of my dreams!

I start a great many of them, but follow through on too few! :lol: I think that's the curse of the INTP though.

cmonkey
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by cmonkey »

There might even be an underlying driver for what you daydream about that would let you find other activities that are more within reach that would give you meaning as well.

For example, my love of gardening is actually just the best expression of my love of experiencing seasonality and thinking about the passage of time. That is at the core of it.

I can also fulfill this by reading about history, planning for/thinking about my future, and also just enjoying the rising/setting sun each day.

vexed87
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by vexed87 »

Great insight, I can definitely agree with that. My love for home bread baking started out with just basic tinned loafs, as I got more confident I branched out into sour dough and other artisan loaves, then to other culinary areas, such as cakes, buns, pastry and other more wholesome baked goods, but now it's seeping out into other areas of cooking too, whereas before I was more utilitarian with my weekly recipes, now I am pushing myself a lot more.

I definitely feel the flow in these areas, funnily it wasn't there before, I wonder what changed.

cmonkey
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by cmonkey »

My own personal meaning also seeps into other areas as well, I think that is to be expected. Variety is much more fulfilling than invariability. Outside the world of plants/gardening I also gain a lot of pleasure from birdwatching, reading about and looking at pictures of geology/different biomes, astronomy, etc... They all go back to the core though, which is experiencing the flow of time.

Astronomy in particular. Looking at/pondering the reality of some of pictures that have come out of the hubble telescope..... that will give me goosebumps like nothing else.

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