Thursday, June 2, 2016

Stoic, Buddhism vs PP got me thinking. Professors always think their subject is the most important thing, and often that they know best. The rest of us fact the real world. Oh well, shit happens, and when it does....

Moral character is necessary and sufficient for a good life, but that just keeps us out of the negative attitude, into a low neutral position. We can function well at this level. Some of those preferred thing, adequate housing, food, employment, income and the like raise us to the high neutral or positive state, if our expectations do not get too high. Our expectations shift the neutral position higher through hedonistic adaption. This is often the problem, our expectations get too high and we think we are in the negative, when in fact we are leading the good life. Oh well. People who think or say "you can be anything your want to be" are typical of creating the problem, raising expectations above reality.

Positive Psychology is an attempt to make this science, to generate more work and money for psychologists. It is working, and can raise some people to a new high, but if they cannot maintain it they crash, a hard landing concept. How we the people, feel, is more a function of where our expectations are, rather that there actually conditions. Lowering of our expectations is what Stoicism, Buddhism, and the like are about, whereas psychology and positive psychology specifically is about generating an artificial high. So with balance in our lives we can lower expectations, the zero mark, to maintain a positive state at all times.

If we have moral character we can think that "if there was wrong done, it was not done by us, at least not intentionally." This attitude fosters satisfaction and removes all guilt, and can build a false ego, if taken to far. It can be true, and produce satisfaction, meaning, engagement, and stoic joy; the stoic good life, also PP flow. Anything further we obtain is just gravy. This is the foundation of positive psychology.

Relationships with other people is all good and fun if you want them, but it can also create difficulties. Epicurus and others suggested that we stay out of public life to avoid those entanglements, yet Epicurus lived and ran a commune. Cicero states "When a man is able to communicate with himself, he has little need of company." So just depending on what we each personally like, relationships can go from a full public life to the hermit, and all be happy, satisfied, at peace with ourselves.

We can be happy as long as we are doing better than our expectation. It is our expectations that are the root cause of our discomfort. This is the part of the first noble truth of Buddha. 

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