Thursday, June 2, 2016

Responses: Philosophy and How to Be Happy

Lately I've been thinking a lot about happiness vs fulfillment and how to achieve it. Allow me to link some Internet things that sparked my thoughts.
Suddenly nothing matters anymore from Psychonaut

 On the Reddit post, I spotted a very interesting response:

So as a simplified and recapitulating summary of all of these sources (I am aware, none of these are credible philosophy sources but since it's a matter of opinion, it doesn't matter), here is my formal opinion on the meaning of life and how to achieve happiness.
  • Since the universe is inherently empty, and everything we do as humans is created by society (which is the concept of nihilism as seen in the Reddit post), and time and morals are simply human creations, choose the right path for yourself. But keep in mind society's limitations, for instance you can't start a hedonistic adventure circa Jack Kerouac because society has police, and they will catch you when you start stealing cars. For many, with this information in mind, they will still choose the traditional path of education and family life.
  • Given that you may be stuck in a traditional lifestyle, make the best of it by making a conscious effort to enjoy right now. You don't have to do something different, as stated in the comment, but take joy in the things that you already do. We take a lot of things for granted, such as the outdoors and good weather, good people who surround us, our families, and smells. If you start to take notice of these small things, you will realize that life is beautiful.
  • The joys in life come from mainly interactions with other people, so learn to enjoy them but remember that the only way to be truly happy is by deriving it from yourself and not depending on anyone else for your happiness.
  • In regards to the "do we need philosophy to be happy" thing, I would say we don't need philosophy to be happy, but we do need it to be fulfilled. I have friends who have never given philosophy a second thought and are perfectly happy in their lives--that said, not exceptionally happy. But is anyone? I'm definitely not exceptionally happy. However, in my opinion, we do need philosophy to be fulfilled. I would argue that the only way to achieve fulfillment is the realization of how and the implementation of that. For example, I used philosophy to determine that not taking things for granted will make me fulfilled and happy. The implementation of this will make me happy and fulfilled. But I wouldn't have been able to determine that not taking things for granted will make me happy without the study of philosophy, and even if I did (without outside sources), that would be philosophy as philosophy is defined as "the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline."
  • (not from any of the sources) In my personal opinion, humans are inherently selfish. Even when we help others, it's only because helping others will make us feel like a good person and we will derive joy from this act of kindness. With that concept, the only reason we don't do things like drop toxic friends is because we would feel bad about it and we want to feel good. But what would be the most rewarding in the end: removing a toxic friend from your life, or keeping that friend but not having to dump them? I think the former. Therefore, we should do things with blatant self-interest rather than hidden self-interest if it will benefit us the most in the end. So basically, do what makes you happy regardless of how it will affect others. Drop those toxic friends. You don't owe them anything.
In conclusion, do whatever it takes to make yourself happy and fulfilled regardless of its effect on others, keeping in mind limitations based on society or people you care about. A tip to help you be happy is to enjoy the little things. Be selfish.