Archive for November, 2007

On Being Naughty

November 24, 2007

One potential component of a personal theory of happiness is a willingness to do wrong.  Hauser, in Moral Minds, supplies the following quote:

“What is termed sin is an essential element of progress.  Without it the world would stagnate, or grow old, or become colourless.  Through its intensified assertion of individualism it saves us from monotony of type.  In its rejection of the current notions about morality, it is one with the higher ethics.”  –Oscar Wilde

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Happiness – a theory

November 23, 2007

It seems to me that everyone should spend at least some time developing a personal theory of happiness.  There are very few things we do the motivation for which can not be reduced to seeking happiness.  The better we understand what makes us happy, the better a chance we have of being happy.  We frequently view happiness as a state we will achieve after some external event occurs.  Sometimes we posit external events, or other people, as sources of our unhappiness.  Far more likely, it seems to me, is that we become happier as we acknowledge the relatively infinite potential we have here and now to be happier.  Because the human brain is not a truth-seeking device as such, we must examine the evidence with caution, as we attempt to discern what, in any given day, has made us most happy, and proceed from there.

Origin of the universe

November 23, 2007

If we say the universe was caused by something, aren’t we excluding that thing from our definition of the universe. Why? If the universe means everything, it either arises from nothing, creates itself, or has always been, no? Of these three choices, the third seems least unlikely.

Here is a sample response I have received when posing this question elsewhere:

[If we say that the universe was caused by something, aren’t we excluding that thing from our definition of the universe.]

Not a priori. We ask ourselves about self-created things and about the concept of infinite pasts. Then we see where we are. Then we move forward.

[If the universe means everything, it either arises from nothing, creates itself, or has always been, no? Of these three choices, the third seems least unlikely.]

I presume that the universe is all material things. So to me the idea that material things created themselves or that they have existed eternally is unlikely, if not logically impossible. So the third option becomes a consideration (unless I’ve already decided not to consider it.)

Hello world!

November 23, 2007

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