If happiness is a normal reaction to ... ???

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If happiness is a normal reaction to ... ???

Postby painBody » Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:51 pm

A whip-smart woman ... probably the most intelligent person I've ever met ... and a close friend, from another forum once asked ...

"If happiness is considered a normal reaction to favorable life circumstances, why is unhappiness considered an abnormal reaction to unfavorable life circumstances ? Is a person expected to be happy in response to unfavorable life circumstances ?"

Why is unhappiness pathologized ? How can unhappiness possibly be a disease ? And, I'm not talking about some superficial "chemical imbalance" crap. I'm talking about something far deeper. I'm talking about a deep unhappiness with this world that eats away into your soul.

A follow-up question that I added to my friend's original question is - if something is fundamentally wrong with what's outside of us, why would anyone think that ingesting 10mg of Fluoxetine inside of us would help ? How can you solve what's wrong on the outside by ingesting something on the inside ?

Why aren't the so called "happy" people doped for being "annoyingly chirpy" (words I borrowed from my friend's original quote) ?

Hopefully without offending anyone, how can the medical profession be so FUCKING STUPID ? How can it expect us to be so FUCKING STUPID ?

Can anyone answer ?
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Re: If happiness is a normal reaction to ... ???

Postby Webwanderer » Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:44 pm

I suggest that the place to look is in a flawed premise.
if something is fundamentally wrong with what's outside of us...

How can something be fundamentally wrong? What makes any life condition wrong rather than just a challenge or problematic? We all encounter life conditions that can be painful. But what turns a naturally unfolding life condition into something wrong? Is it not our very own moral judgment on the matter? If we had seen it in a different context would it not change our perception of it, and our experience?
"If happiness is considered a normal reaction to favorable life circumstances, why is unhappiness considered an abnormal reaction to unfavorable life circumstances ? Is a person expected to be happy in response to unfavorable life circumstances?"

This seems a bit of a straw man. Who decides what is the proper response to any given circumstance? Expected by who? It's not about some arbitrary outside expectations. It's about how each individual perceives the circumstances in which they find themselves. It's easy to see that people respond and think differently about very similar events. Doesn't one's moral judgments effect the experience that one has?

Happiness in some ways is born of a skill set on creating a context through which to view our life circumstances as they unfold. It is a learned and conditioned behavior begun early in our lives. Nothing but habit of thinking and established belief structures holds us in any given perspective on how we view things.

How can unhappiness possibly be a disease ?

Looking at the word disease itself, how could it be otherwise. 'Dis-ease' certainly seems to describe the experience of un-happiness. 'Ease' is certainly absent in the word description itself. But it's not the potential chemical imbalance that I refer to. It's the consciousness and/or perspective imbalance that creates the dis-ease. Moral judgment on our conditions seems to be the pathology that causes so much pain. Could the key be to exercise less judgment and move to a more neutral stance on challenges and problems that come our way? Possibly even see them as opportunities to re-tune our approach to such conditions?

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Re: If happiness is a normal reaction to ... ???

Postby painBody » Wed Sep 27, 2017 4:02 am

WW, I think you completely missed the point of my post (or I didn't make it clear ... or both).

What I wrote is more from the angle of "depression" and "mental illness", rather than "spirituality". I didn't intend for this to be a debate about morals and ethics or what is "right" or "wrong". Of course, we all know that there is no right or wrong. That's completely beside the point.

Look at this from the perspective of one single person. Whenever someone becomes depressed, in response to whatever they consider "bad" circumstances (breakup, job loss, whatever), they are encouraged to see a doctor, as if that response is pathological. If that is considered pathological, why is it considered healthy/normal to be happy in response to whatever they consider "good" circumstances (getting a raise, getting married, etc) ? Why don't people tell you to go to the doctor if you smile and laugh and frolic in happiness, in response to circumstances that you consider favorable (whatever they are) ?

In other words, it seems arbitrary that, of those two polarities (happiness and unhappiness), regardless of what triggers them, one of them is considered pathological while the other is considered normal. Is that not entirely arbitrary ? It's like saying, "The South pole of the Earth is bad, because it begins with the letter S. Anybody who lives near the South pole is evil. The North pole is a great place to be, because it begins with the letter N. People near the North pole are great people." ... arbitrary.

Now, onto the second question I brought up ... I was referring to human insanity and pain and suffering, when I mentioned what is "wrong" on the outside. The human condition. A person doesn't need to be "spiritual" to know that the world is insane. Maybe "wrong" wasn't the best word, but how about "insane" ?

So, given that the world is insane, why would any doctor think that a person taking a bunch of pills is going to solve anything ? By me swallowing, metabolizing, and absorbing those pills, is the human condition going to change, in response ?

If the root cause of my unhappiness is human insanity (i.e. outside of me), is me ingesting Prozac (i.e. inside of me) going to bring about any improvements ? How about Lexapro ?

That's what I meant when I asked, "How can you solve what's wrong on the outside by ingesting something on the inside ?"

A person can take all the pills in the world. Is that going to make the world a better place ?
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Re: If happiness is a normal reaction to ... ???

Postby Webwanderer » Wed Sep 27, 2017 6:45 am

I don't think I missed your point. I think I just see the matter in a different context. To begin with, everything is 'spiritual' - though I prefer consciousness and being. This physical world is, in my perception, one possible environment in which we can explore possibilities. Within this world, as likely in all 'worlds', certain universal principles apply. The context in which we perceive the conditions we find ourselves is creative to the way we experience it. To the degree we judge some things as 'morally' wrong we create an adversarial relationship with those things and experience them more negatively than we might with a more curious and exploratory approach.

If you want to isolate the experience to a purely physical contest, without concern for its most fundamental context, then whatever answers you may find will be limited to their physical relationship. Such answers are likely to be flawed as the premise in which they were considered is incomplete.

Look at this from the perspective of one single person. Whenever someone becomes depressed, in response to whatever they consider "bad"

They? Too often 'they' are the blind leading the blind. The more I learned to consider less what 'they' have to say, the more I found clarity in my own insights. Sure, I still listen to and read resources I consider valuable, but I accept that I am the final arbiter for what I hold as true. As for they, why do you care? Are they the authorities of your perspective on life? It's obvious that you question their narratives. I predict that their influence over you is soon to lose its power.

Maybe "wrong" wasn't the best word, but how about "insane" ?

To see it as insane is fine, so long as we acknowledge that there is nothing 'wrong' with insanity. It is after all, bad enough without making it wrong. Here's the issue. Judging something as wrong does not change the conditions we disapprove of. It does however, change us in a fundamental way.

The evolution of consciousness and being is a process of inclusion. Moral judgment is a process of exclusion. One is expansive by nature, the other is contraction by nature. Don't misunderstand. There is a human context that we all live under. In this human context there is a context of right and wrong. But it's a limited context that is best understood for what it is if we are going to find peace in an 'insane' world. And while I still get caught up in the madness as such, I also have access to a greater, more inclusive perspective that can instantly bring me peace.

The greater understanding that is available is an oasis that is available to any who would seek it out. Many are doing just that. This forum is dedicated to such interests.

If the root cause of my unhappiness is human insanity (i.e. outside of me), is me ingesting Prozac (i.e. inside of me) going to bring about any improvements ? How about Lexapro ?

That's what I meant when I asked, "How can you solve what's wrong on the outside by ingesting something on the inside ?"

A person can take all the pills in the world. Is that going to make the world a better place ?

Taking the drugs can be useful. It depends on what one does with it. It's the same with psychedelics. What a person focuses on will be a major factor on what transpires. If one is really stressed out, the right drug may bring some relief. But long term use and dependency is likely to be counter productive.

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Re: If happiness is a normal reaction to ... ???

Postby painBody » Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:20 am

Look at this from the perspective of one single person. Whenever someone becomes depressed, in response to whatever they consider "bad"

They? Too often 'they' are the blind leading the blind. The more I learned to consider less what 'they' have to say, the more I found clarity in my own insights. Sure, I still listen to and read resources I consider valuable, but I accept that I am the final arbiter for what I hold as true. As for they, why do you care? Are they the authorities of your perspective on life? It's obvious that you question their narratives. I predict that their influence over you is soon to lose its power.[/quote]

Grrrr, I'm getting frustrated now ! By "they", I didn't mean the population of the world. I meant that one single person whose experiences we are considering. Fuckin pronouns !!! Let's make this easier.

I'm going to refrain from using any pronouns below, unless absolutely necessary. This is intentional, to make it clear who I am talking about, so that we don't go back and forth without understanding each other.

Part 1 - Adam

Let's say Adam has a life situation that Adam considers bad/unfavorable/shitty/negative. As a result, Adam is depressed/unhappy, can't get out of bed, won't take care of himself, etc. Now, the reasons for Adam being unhappy are unimportant, because, as long as Adam deems them unfavorable, who are we to judge ? So, Adam is extremely unhappy. Adam's friend Eve urges Adam to go to the doctor, because Eve thinks that Adam being unhappy in response to Adam's unfavorable (according to him) circumstances is pathological. If this response is pathological, what would be considered a normal response to unfavorable life circumstances ? Happiness ? Is Adam expected to be happy in response to a crappy life situation ?

Part 2 - John

Let's say John is the happiest guy in the world because John has a life situation/circumstances that John is extremely happy with. Again, what those circumstances are, is totally irrelevant. All we know is that John is happy with them, because John considers them favorable/desirable. John's happiness is obvious in John's interactions with John's friends. No one suggests that John go to the doctor. This is because John's happiness is considered normal/healthy.

So, to summarize, Adam's response to Adam's life situation is one that would (typically) be considered pathological, while John's response to John's life situation would not.

Is this not arbitrary ? Judging one kind of response to be abnormal and the other one normal.

Furthermore, if Adam is unhappy with human insanity, what are pills going to do to change that ?
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Re: If happiness is a normal reaction to ... ???

Postby Webwanderer » Wed Sep 27, 2017 3:07 pm

painBody wrote:Is Adam expected to be happy in response to a crappy life situation ?

Expected by whom? Adam? Eve? You? The world at large? Irrelevant - unless Adam makes it so. You seem to be trying to justify Adam's unhappiness when no justification is necessary. What really makes a crappy life situation crappy? The conditions themselves? The attitude toward those conditions? Or some combination of factors. Is it crappy because of the conditions or because of the relationship adopted to those conditions? What is the underlying determining factor that makes someone feel crappy? Also, can someone begin to feel different about conditions by adjusting the way that one perceives those conditions without the conditions themselves actually changing?

So, to summarize, Adam's response to Adam's life situation is one that would (typically) be considered pathological, while John's response to John's life situation would not.

So what. Some imaginary person or persons perceive another's circumstances as pathological. Do we live in someone else's judgment and perception? Do we live by labels applied by others? Or does John live life to the best of his ability, learning to navigate life and making choices that are in his own best interest based on his own inner guidance? I spent too many of my early years living in the 'shoulds' of other people. It's just not a very good way to live. It discounts self and raises others to a standard they have no place being in our life. Sure, other peoples opinion can be valuable - until it becomes controlling or dominant. There is a special kind of freedom that comes with reliance on self.

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