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Do you know what the 'meaning of life" is?
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What is the meaning of life? How can we find happiness?
Posted: 18 May 2010 01:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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I’m thinking I’m judging by using reason.

On the flip side, one could reason that violent games act as a release, allowing people to vent their darker moods and fantasies in a safe, virtual environment where no one gets hurt.

I think that practicing violence (by way of simulation in a video game), esp. violence to humans, desensitizes us and makes us worse humans.

Bah.  I play numerous violent games and watch many violent movies and I’m a rather laid back person and not violent at all.  I actually prefer to avoid confrontation.  The ability to separate reality from fantasy is a sign of a healthy mind.  Those who can’t, those who translate violence from games or movies into real life are typically mentally disturbed in some manner.

Also, if someone struggles with an issue, such as depression, they should study what they do and try something different.  One can’t wish their life would change yet do the same things.

That’s all well and good, but it’s not that simple.  Depression can’t just be thought away, or removed by changing one’s lifestyle.  The thought processes that crop up during a depressive episode make it extremely difficult to do the things you like and are used to, let alone something new and potentially hard.  You feel worthless and the prospect of attempting something new is either swept away by the self-doubt and crushed by the apathy or it fills you with dread over the prospect of failure and further potential embarrassment and ridicule.

Instead of playing a violent video game, how about going out and volunteering in some humanitarian effort?  See how that affects your thinking.

In my case, it would likely make things worse.  I would have great difficulty with not obsessing over the people’s problems and what caused the misery in the first place.  Or, I would end up feeling terrible when I started feeling good, worried that I was feeling better about myself because someone else’s misery.  I’m kind of neurotic that way.

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Posted: 18 May 2010 01:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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Bernie_Dehler - 18 May 2010 01:01 PM
George - 18 May 2010 12:34 PM
Bernie_Dehler - 18 May 2010 12:30 PM

I think that practicing violence (by way of simulation in a video game), esp. violence to humans, desensitizes us and makes us worse humans.

Well, you think wrong. They did some study on it and they didn’t find any evidence for this. Google it if you must.

Google says I’m right.

Holy hell, it is worse than I thought:

http://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2003/10/anderson.aspx

Correlational studies are okay in astronomy so they are good enough in psychology (paraphrasing Dr. Anderson).  confused

Where is the study? I want to see the data. How many kids? Did they control for genetic influences? How?

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Posted: 18 May 2010 01:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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I also take issue with it.  Specifically with the use of kids.  The violent games that are always cited in cases such as this aren’t made for kids.  They’re made by adults for adults.  The most graphic and violent (the ones that get people riled up the most) are rated as not for kids and in many states have laws prohibiting their sale to children under 17.

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Posted: 18 May 2010 01:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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Did anyone stop to consider whether or not we should be pursuing happiness as a goal in the first place? Seems to me that happiness is just another state of mind no better or worst than any other. It has an evolutionary purpose we don’t yet understand, just like depression seems to [http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/magazine/28depression-t.html]. To pursue it for its own sake may be a mistake…A waste of time. What if when you finally find it you think, “there must be more to life than this”? Maybe I’m a little young to make this conclusion, but it seems to me that there is. I don’t think pursuing happiness is the meaning of life.

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Posted: 18 May 2010 01:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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I think people want happiness as the meaning of life because everything sucks.  Get rid of happiness as the goal and what’s left?

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Posted: 18 May 2010 01:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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Bernie_Dehler - 18 May 2010 09:29 AM

 

Genetics plays a part, but only a part.  Let’s not ever have a victim attitude.  We must play the hand we are dealt. 

We must according to genetics and environmental influences.

Let’s not have a victim attitude, but let’s also keep it real.

 

Stephen

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Posted: 18 May 2010 02:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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George - 18 May 2010 09:03 AM

To tell someone that he can choose from whatever destiny he desires also implies that he can be blamed if he fails. This can be very damaging to some people.

It seems it isn’t meaningless afterall to discuss the affects belief in free will can have on people!

Stephen

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Posted: 18 May 2010 03:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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Where is the study? I want to see the data. How many kids? Did they control for genetic influences? How?

These are all fair and appropriate questions. But let’s not forget it was you who casually tossed out the notion that Bernie’s contention was scientifically proven to be wrong. Any evidence in favor of your own theory in addition to challenges to the evidence for the opposing point of view? Dead Monkey’s theory about “blowing off steam” is the traditional pop psych “hydraulic theory” of emotions, and my very limited understanding of the field is that it is no longer the consensus view but more of a holdover of Freudian notions.

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Posted: 18 May 2010 03:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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Dead Monky - 18 May 2010 01:45 PM

I think people want happiness as the meaning of life because everything sucks.  Get rid of happiness as the goal and what’s left?

Whatever you’re driven to do. I like to spend my time on hobby AI projects, but do they make me happy? I wouldn’t say so - it’s kind of taxing, actually. I get a sense of accomplishment when I complete a project, like maybe I’ve contributed to humanity in some way, but would I call that happiness? Not really.

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Posted: 18 May 2010 07:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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mckenzievmd - 18 May 2010 03:03 PM

But let’s not forget it was you who casually tossed out the notion that Bernie’s contention was scientifically proven to be wrong. Any evidence in favor of your own theory in addition to challenges to the evidence for the opposing point of view?

As far as I remember the study simply didn’t find any evidence to support the hypothesis that violent video games make people commit violent acts. But you’re right, I guess I need to find the actual study. Sigh…

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Posted: 18 May 2010 07:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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domokato - 18 May 2010 03:21 PM
Dead Monky - 18 May 2010 01:45 PM

I think people want happiness as the meaning of life because everything sucks.  Get rid of happiness as the goal and what’s left?

Whatever you’re driven to do. I like to spend my time on hobby AI projects, but do they make me happy? I wouldn’t say so - it’s kind of taxing, actually. I get a sense of accomplishment when I complete a project, like maybe I’ve contributed to humanity in some way, but would I call that happiness? Not really.

The “Happiness for Dummies” book explains there are different kinds of happiness.  You gave an example of one kind of happiness.

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Posted: 18 May 2010 07:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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FWIW, here is one reference to a study finding no conclusive link between video game and violent activity from the Harvard Medical School Center for Mental Health:
Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games by L. Kutner and C. Olson.

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Posted: 19 May 2010 11:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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Bernie_Dehler - 18 May 2010 07:32 PM
domokato - 18 May 2010 03:21 PM
Dead Monky - 18 May 2010 01:45 PM

I think people want happiness as the meaning of life because everything sucks.  Get rid of happiness as the goal and what’s left?

Whatever you’re driven to do. I like to spend my time on hobby AI projects, but do they make me happy? I wouldn’t say so - it’s kind of taxing, actually. I get a sense of accomplishment when I complete a project, like maybe I’ve contributed to humanity in some way, but would I call that happiness? Not really.

The “Happiness for Dummies” book explains there are different kinds of happiness.  You gave an example of one kind of happiness.

But even then, I still get the feeling that pursuing it for its own sake is a mistake. I don’t do my project because I want to feel a sense of accomplishment when it’s done, I do it because I’m driven to - simply put. If you turn happiness into a goal and then organize your actions to achieve that goal, in my experience it takes you further away from that goal. I’m not sure why; maybe it has something to do with you turning happiness into an incentive rather than leaving it as a reward. And when that incentive has been received, it leaves you wanting more because your only goal this whole time has been happiness, so you make another happiness goal. When you turn happiness into a goal, you plan a path to get there - and that plan blinds you from taking other paths that may have been more fruitful. You rationalize happiness and bring it into the realm of logic; throughout all of evolutionary history happiness has never been rationalized - so it’s no surprise that it could create weird dysfunctions when that happens.

I think happiness serves a primarily social purpose, rather than a personal one; you don’t really see anything resembling happiness in non-social animals; and our social instincts are very much in tune with the happiness of others.

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Posted: 19 May 2010 11:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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Dead Monkey’s theory about “blowing off steam” is the traditional pop psych “hydraulic theory” of emotions, and my very limited understanding of the field is that it is no longer the consensus view but more of a holdover of Freudian notions.

All I said is that is helps me.  Although I did sort of throw out the idea that it could apply to others.

As for the psychological consensus, pfeh.  We’ll see how that goes in the next few years.  From what reading I’ve done, it seems like practically everyone we’re exposed to screws us up psychologically.  Even if video games cause a slight increase in violence in children (which I still take issue with the whole methodology of these studies) so does religion, poverty, hormones, cultural background, being between 2-3 years old, and many other factors.  Personally, I think the entire crusade against violent media is a way of creating an easy scapegoat to blame.  Of course, those are just my musings on the subject.

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Posted: 23 May 2010 01:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
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George - 18 May 2010 07:15 AM

Hmm, I usually get very suspicious of people who think they can teach others how to be happy. I mean, there are people who can make us happy (for the moment), like, I don’t know, Jerry Seinfeld or Peter Sellers, but they actually do it instead of telling us how to do it ourselves. Sorry, not a big fan of this self-help stuff. If anything, I am inclined to believe it can even be harmful.

My view on happiness and lifes purpose, is from the perspective of ancient culture. All reality can be reduced to two dual categories:

Immaterial: Consciousness and Will.
Material: Energy and Matter.

What we refer to as the spiritual and physical realms, according to them, is that the physical realm can be traced back to increasingly more subtle particles and waves.
This is consistent with our science so far. Emotions are states of energetic/ biochemical tension. They held that the original state of material reality was INERT ENERGY, and a HOMOGENOUS and UNDIFFERENTIATED MATTER.
As this matter solidifies until it is completely solid, it increases in TENSION. Emotions are tensions, so a cultivated effort to calm and relax these energies will bring about a conscious awareness of the subleties within our selves. By practicing in the very thick of life, we can establish an inner peace that is INDEPENDENT OF EXTERNAL EVENTS.
Thus the inevitable yo-yo effect of lifes pleasant and unpleasant occurrences have less and less influence over our emotional state, and stability and contentment begin to take root.
Supreme Being, by whatever name we may call it, is Consciousness in the world. Originally lacking in objectification (thoughts, feelings, objects,etc.) It was incapable of experience, as it takes two or more things to interact to create this experience. Hence, the creation of the infinitude of things in existence has the purpose of interacting and creating infinite experience. As humans, we are brought into a dense state of energy and matter (physical birth), and our purpose in life is to gradually return our awareness to the original inert state we came from. Everything in the world, including our bodies, is only temporary. Happiness cannot be attained by attempting to settle down in the world and attach ourselves to people, places, and things. These all end, but our state of discontent or content will continue after death. Establishing inner peace and tranquility is the only lasing solution to becoming happy and achieving our highest purpose.

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