Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesPhilosophy · 9 years ago

What does it take to be happy?


Okay so I have this long train of thought I'm going to share with you. I'm looking for someone to either agree with me or try to understand my concept and explain to me why I am wrong. I'm just a 17 year old kid so something I am lacking is experience which ultimately means that I am probably lacking wisdom.

Okay so what does it take for a person to be happy? Well obviously a lot of things, that's not really my question. My question is do you think it is healthy to think on a deeper level? I think it depends on how deep you like to think. But overall there is a point when it can be a bad thing. The people who think deeply about the meaning of life (and those who have no religion) can easily find themselves getting depressed about the thought. The people who say "There's really no point to life" are the ones who have thought about it. Now a lot of people think about it sometimes but some people think about it more often. Well there is really no point to thinking like that. Have you ever wondered what animals think of death? I'm sure most animals don't even realize they are ever going to die. It's something they've never experienced, why would they understand it? They don't have a language or a mind complex enough to talk and think about it.

Here is my thought. People are happy because of the "reward system" in our anatomy. A lot of people think they need meaning in order for them to be happy. People who need meaning are deeper thinkers than those who don't care. People who need meaning actually make it much harder to be happy because they separate the anchor between happiness and their actions or surroundings. Someone has fun playing a video game, we'll say Halo 3. But then he starts to ask himself why he likes the game so much? After a couple months of thinking in that manner he doesn't like halo 3 anymore. Why is that? Because he realizes that it is pointless in helping him get ahead in life. Nobody really cares if he wins a game every once in a while on there. He simply realizes that it is a pointless waste of time. That's what a lot of older people think of video games nowadays. But when you really think about it, that's just another path to happiness that he took from his life.

So here's what I think is key to being happy: Not asking why it is that you are happy. But simply focusing on the present. Focus on what is happening around you and think a lot less philosophically. You only need to choose a path and take it. If you find yourself miserable, use your intelligence to fix the problem and change your path. Only think what makes you happy, not why does it make you happy.

Good lord this looks like a bunch of random trains of thought. I feel like I wasted my time typing all this up. And wasted other people's time if they decided to read it all. Oh well! You'll get over it.

6 Answers

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I have some decades of experience on you and I can tell you without are very definitely on the right track here. Thanks for the time you spent on your question.

    Actually it takes a lot less than "a lot of things" to be happy. You already know that.

    Right, animals are not concerned with the Concept of death. They avoid pain after learning what causes it and instinctually avoid situations which are dangerous enough to cause death. But they have no concept for D-E-A-T-H . That is one very great difference between what we are as thinking beings and animals. We think in concepts mostly.

    Thinking deeply is not really a problem. The problem of unhappiness is finding ourselves always caught on one of the poles of a concept. We have to choose one - it is our nature and because there is always and only change in life, what we choose will be unsatisfactory sooner or later. All concepts have 2 poles such as left and right, up-down, yes-no, etc. No word or idea we can ever have has any meaning without it's opposite pole. This is also true for the birth-death concept. Animals have the great advantage on us here.

    You say: "But simply focusing on the present. Focus on what is happening around you and think a lot less philosophically." You are quite correct. And yet there are some traps in this because if you forfeit critical thinking you forfeit half your inheritance as a human being. Here is the thing. Recognize that thoughts are conceptual - all of them , all the time. It is a fact that no concept for life, no philosophy, is the same as life itself. Don't discard thinking, just find it's rightful place. Now this will also include your very thought/concept that thinking cuts off ones path to happiness. Partly true, don't always second guess yourself, but allow to be flexible enough to try something new as well. The product of thought/concepts will be rigid and it is the rigidity or polar orientation that causes unhappiness - guaranteed. So don't cause unnecessary unhappiness but also very important to not want only happiness. Be with the natural sorrow, for example the death of someone you love. Do that in the moment too - don't resist with thinking and cause even more unhappiness.

    Regardless of what we wish, we will think in concepts. So it is not the depth or the degree of thinking that is important. It is how we view these thoughts/concepts. We simply must have the distance and the space of mind to view all thoughts - every last one of them - as unavoidable process. We must stop taking all these thoughts as the only thing that we are. We also are the space in which these thoughts arise automatically. Actually life is happening to us while we are thinking something else about it.

    It is possible to find this distance right away just simply by sitting still and observing thoughts arising and passing away. Don't get attached to any one of them, just watch. Do this for 5 minutes or more a day and soon it will be both fascination and easy. In a short time it will be possible to be aware of thoughts throughout the day and still not be attached to them - even the painful ones which could cause unhappiness. If needed, you can engage any particular thought at will and knowingly. No need to worry about the instinct to protect yourself or to aid another, it will arise without even thinking about it. This is the wisdom of some decades. Actually this wisdom is roughly 10,000 years old and it works as well today as back then.

    The deepest core of this watching technique is to actually use thought - even very deep thought - to uproot the kind of conceptual thinking that causes the deepest unhappiness. This is to find out whether the thought/concept of death is actually true. To find out that this is only a concept, and not a reality, is true happiness, even fearlessness. Good luck. Many have done it before you.

  • 9 years ago

    Okay, I'll take the bait and give an almost equally long answer.

    I would say you are getting close but should consider another option in your mix. Being in the moment is certainly more fun than not, but it doesn't mean you will be happy. The reality is that happiness is a feeling and not a situation, possession, activity or the result of mental gymnsastics. It's a feeling, it is not an object. In your premise you are only looking at the type of feeling that comes as a result of something, i.e. playing a video game, getting the girl, winning the job, etc. This type of "happiness" is the result of cause and effect. This type of happiness is complex because there are strict conditions for it to work. For instance if a girl here in the USA becomes fat she may get depressed, but on some Pacific Islands if the girl becomes fat then she is eligible to marry the tribal chief and she becomes very happy. Different conditions, different cultures different emotional outcomes. Conditions change all the time, so what makes us happy today doesn't do the trick tomorrow. That kind of happiness is fickle.

    There is another kind of happiness, and that is the kind with no condition and is not the result of anything. What most of us don't realize is this is the type of happiness we really want, but we are not taught about it so it's very rarely a consideration. Some people do figure this out, but it is rarely followed up on. We are advertised so heavily to go outside, not inside, that we have been just about been put into a trance. The problem is, the type of happiness we are taught to strive for in our lives is not entirely satisfying, so a question like yours keep coming up all over the world "isn't there something more?". People cannot escape the question because they want to truly be happy and if they are not getting it something inside will let you know. It's a built in mechanism.

    We like consistency and dependability. What if our computers worked every so often, unpredictably? What if our cars only started and ran well every so often- and unpredictably? we don't like that. We also don't like when happiness is equally unpredictable. Why? Because we need it and want it - always!. The key to this kind of happiness is knowing where to find it and how to connect to it. It happens to be within us already. It's there all the time and is a natural feature of the energy that keeps us alive. It's there for no reason and can be enjoyed for no reason. I know it sounds strange, but it's real. When you experience the unconditional happiness you feel complete. You don't try to improve it, you never grow tired of it, you can't use it up and it doesn't cost anything. Once you have understood and experienced the unconditional happiness it makes life a lot easier because you have a rock solid standard by which to measure everything else. It's not a case of "good" and "bad", but it's having the ability to know the difference and knowing how to get exactly what it is you want. To get to that feeling though, you can't get there through philosophy. You need to find the way to go within.

  • If I agree with you, yet tell you why you are wrong. Then I am....

    I can try to understand/ understand your concept and tell you why I 'think' you are wrong.

    I think but not for religious purposes or the meaning of life.

    The point is life is that I am living, I live.

    Just like animals, we humans I'd say 'are born to die.' Death is something that not all have experienced.

    One thing that might be possible is humans have not found a way to effectively communicate with all of what we can communicate with including plants and animals.

    It may be that those who don't care might have at some point been deep thinkers as well.

    Remember, you just mentioned '..those who think there is no point in life are those that have thought about it.'

    One can be happy based on their actions and surrounding- e.g success might be the source/basis or definition of ones happiness. The source/basis/definition is happiness is subjective. What is for one isn't for another and vice verse.

    It appears to me that what you see as 'pointless' is actually 'reason.' Going this route, reason spring out of one reasoning of what is 'reasonable'. What a person finds reasonable is subjective. The Supreme Court doesn't have a definition for what is 'reasonable'; hence the amendments.

    I will assume your 'meaning in life' is to be happy. One can be happy, happier and happiest. Note, there is no end in sight when it comes to happiness. There is always more or less. It is susceptible to give and take. So you can lose as you gain and vice verse. it is not fulfilling.

    When you focus on what makes you happy now, you will get to that point where you don't find it reasonable. The you will have to 'think= use your intelligence' to 'fix it=find something else you find reasonable to make you happy.'

    Think=questioning= 'why'------> this is what you have been talking about all along.

    To this it seems, humans are looking for a 'reasonable objective.'

    This answers the questions:-

    -'what gives meaning to life?' What is reasonable

    -'why do we live.?' An objective

    Knowing that what is reasonable is subjective.

    It implies we are looking for a subjective objective.

    So, although more than one person can have the same objective the reason may be subjective.

    It boils down to:-

    What question should we ask?

    Which question should we ask?

    And you are asking 'why one should ask.'

    And another might ask 'how one should ask.'


    Should an objective be found reasonable before or after it is identified?

    If identified before- (objective is reasonable)

    ...It is important to note that, an objective should be fulfilling. That way one is focused on identifying what makes it reasonable.

    If after- (reasonable objective)

    ...It is important to define 'reasonable.' And focus of finding an objective.


    objective is reasonable-see happiness comment


    reasonable objective- see Supreme Court comment

    Yada, yada, yoddle!


    Objective is reasonable:-

    Happiness already commented on...(The seeker)

    Satisfaction- fulfilling, aware of possibility of more but do not want/need more result. No desire for more. (The righteous one).

    Contentment (want/desire more of result)- fulfilling, no need for more. (I refer to this as the Jewish mind- The holy one).

    Source(s): Good you asked it twice. You chose a best answer before i could post this response the first time, so here!
  • 9 years ago

    Sin ultimately leads to misery and virtue surely leads to happiness.

    Since you are a deep thinker, you should extend your search beyond the boundaries of birth and death.

    Take a look into the Mahabharata, the Ramayana of Valmiki, the Bhagavad gita and the like. Don't become bewildered by the many Gods which are advertised all over. Ultimately there is one God, the other gods are like His ministers.

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  • 9 years ago

    I'm sorry but I ENJOY thinking deeply. You're right it does make me more depressed, but I WANT to know. I need to know the reasoning behind things. Also plenty of animals know they are going to die, sometimes dogs know and they will to a special place to do it. Not all animals are as dumb as you think. They have seen other animals die, they know they will too. Maybe not all animals do but plenty of them do.

    I think you're right about not focusing on WHY you are happy, and that you should just accept it, but sometimes your happiness isn't coming from a good place. Videogames aren't pointless to everyone, maybe to me and you they are. People don't choose paths, they try to, but in the end the path chooses them.

    p.s. I like how you thiink we should taalk :)


  • 9 years ago

    You can't soar with the eagles

    when your roosting with the turkeys.

    Oh well. You can fly over them. <}:-})

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