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"Miswanting": Do You Think You Know What Makes You Happy?

 
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Jul, 2008 07:01 am
But...is it making you happy?


:wink:
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Jul, 2008 07:02 am
It is!

So I didn't miswant this book. :-D
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Jul, 2008 07:03 am
sozobe wrote:
It is!

So I didn't miswant this book. :-D



Phew!!!!!
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Jul, 2008 07:21 am
Some gems from the book, no particular order:

Daniel Gilbert wrote:
In an even more remarkable study, volunteers listened to a recording of the word eel preceded by a cough (which I'll denote with *). The volunteers heard the word peel when it was embedded in the sentence "The *eel was on the orange" but they heard the word heel when it was embedded in the sentence "The *eel was on the shoe." This is a striking finding because the two sentences differ only in their final word, which means the volunteers' brains had to wait for the last word of the sentence before they could supply the information that was missing from the second word. But they did it, and they did it so smoothly and quickly that volunteers actually heard the missing information being spoken in its proper position.


When I lipread, I don't stop and make sure I understand each word as it is being spoken -- I just let it flow, and then at some point it will "click." A word or phrase will bring everything that preceded it into focus. That correlates closely to what Gilbert talks about above -- the brain does this time-traveling thing with filling in missing parts of language. I just have way more missing parts than most!
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Jul, 2008 08:05 am
Another:

Daniel Gilbert wrote:
Why do you close your eyes when you want to visualize an object, or jam your fingers in your ears when you want to remember the melody of a certain song? You do these things because your brain must use its visual and auditory cortices to execute acts of visual and auditory imagination, and if these areas are already busy doing their primary jobs -- namely, seeing and hearing things in the real world -- then they are not available for acts of imagination. You cannot easily imagine a penguin when you are busy inspecting an ostrich because vision is already using the part of your brain that imagination needs. Put differently, when we ask our brains to look at a real object and an imaginary object at the same time, our brains typically grant the first request and turn down the second. The brain considers the perception of reality to be its first and foremost duty, thus your request to borrow the visual cortex for a moment is expressly and summarily denied. If the brain didn't have this Reality First policy, you'd drive right through a red light if you just so happened to be thinking of a green one.


The tie-in here is hearing aids -- my brain does such a good job of filling in ("filling in" is a major concept from the book, may have to come back to it) that the hearing aid is just an annoying distraction. The actual (inadequate) sound it provides interferes with the much more effective "imaginary" sound that my brain provides. (So I don't wear hearing aids.)
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existential potential
 
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Reply Sat 26 Jul, 2008 12:21 pm
I have read the article, it was stimulating. the idea that we do not fully realize how quickly we adapt to things, and as a result we quickly lose pleasure in things, and as a result of this we are constantly acquiring new things, in the futile pursuit of happiness. In effect, this is what the Buddha has been telling us for centuries!
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hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Jul, 2008 12:46 pm
This is a hot field of study, another book:
Quote:
http://www.amazon.com/Happiness-Science-behind-Your-Smile/dp/0192805592/ref=pd_sbs_b_njs_1
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OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jul, 2008 01:23 am
Re: "Miswanting": Do You Think You Know What Make
sozobe wrote:
http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/2003/09/05/magazine/07happy.120.jpg

Very, very cool article in the NYT Mag:

"The Futile Pursuit of Happiness" by Jon Gertner

I have been trying to summarize the most interesting points, but it is so long, and there are so many of them, that I have just deleted most of what was turning out to be a very long post. I'll just say what came to mind for me when I read it, and will provide some excerpts later if it looks like people don't have the patience to read the whole article.

[quote]''Happiness is a signal that our brains use to motivate us to do certain things. And in the same way that our eye adapts to different levels of illumination, we're designed to kind of go back to the happiness set point. Our brains are not trying to be happy. Our brains are trying to regulate us.''
[/size]

My husband really, really likes to have a clean house. He thinks that he will be blissfully happy if things are absolutely, perfectly clean. The thing is, after about 11 years of knowing him, I have seen that the distance to perfect cleanliness has remained constant, through many variations in actual circumstances. When we were DINKS, with both time and money, we had a stupendously clean house and yard. It was quite a challenge to find any dust, everything worked perfectly, etc., etc. His pressing projects at that time were things like sanding down a few millimeters from the door so that it closed more smoothly. But they were pressing. He HAD to do these things.

Now, we have a kid, we live in an old kinda rickety house, we're incredibly busy, and there are genuine messes. You can find dust without much problem at all, the downstairs bathroom hasn't worked for a while. His level of compulsion to clean is about exactly the same, while there is much more that actually "needs" to be done. And he is "satisfied" (if temporarily) at a level of cleanliness much lower than before.

I have long noted this, when he starts one of his urgent, "We just have to do A,B, and C, and then everything will be fine" lobbies. I say, "If it's actually urgent, fine. But everything is always urgent to the exact same degree, whether it's fixing the bathroom or dusting the tops of the doorways. If we actually do this, you need to be SATISFIED for a while, instead of just coming up with another A, B and C a day or so after we finish this campaign." He recognizes this and agrees with it.

This whole theory brought all of that into focus -- that he thinks he knows what will make him happy, but that incredibly ornery organ, the brain, has different ideas. That we always feel like if we had just ___ more money, we'd be fine, and have felt like that from when we were living on something like $10,000/ year to when we were DINKs making far more than that to now when we're making much less again. "Our brains are not trying to be happy. Our brains are trying to regulate us.''

Definitely read the hot/cold stuff, too.[/quote]
I believe that Freedom, Individualism,
Hedonism sound health and plenty of cash will do the job of establishing JOY.




David
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