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“Science of Happiness”

Posted March 19th, 2013 by whitleys

I watched a video by Dan Gilbert on the “science” of happiness.In this talk he gives evidence that lead to his claim of human’s ability to synthesize their own happiness which is just as effective (if not more) at gaining joy as getting what you want.
This introduces the idea of happiness as a feeling, and perhaps a little as a chemical phenomenon in the brain. Happiness as a feeling is when an individual experiences a subconscious drive towards a positive attitude surrounding a particular situation.
Happiness as a chemical phenomenon, from what I know, is a strong flow of serotonin to it’s receptors. (I am afraid I don’t know enough of that topic to be effective)
I would argue that this kind of happiness most definitely requires ethics, at least to the meaning that I understand of ethics.
Like Dan Gilbert said, someone who became paralyzed for the rest of his life would be just as happy as a man who won the lottery a year after the incident. If we have such abilities to synthesize our own happiness and make ANY situation a “joyful” experience, then whose to say we couldn’t make more controversial situations more joyful? For example, someone could have the power over their minds to force themselves into thinking that murder is joyful. But that is psychotic. The idea is revolting, yes?
Because we WANT to believe that is wrong. We fear our own abilities to manipulate ourselves into thinking the unfathomable will make us happier. That we would like such things.
That’s where ethics comes in. We have to decided what we believe to be wrong/destructive/evil/bad/negative and what we believe to be right/constructive/holy/good/positive and create lifestyles according to those beliefs.
What is okay and what is not?
That’s really for YOU to decide. Take ethics 205 😉
But ask yourself the question – does this kind of synthetic happiness come from MY suffering, or the suffering of others? Does this happiness only effect me? What does it mean when my ambition causes others to be effected? Is that a problem?

Watch it here:

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