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Thursday, February 23 - 6:47pmSanction this postReply
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Here is a link to the full study:

http://www2.eur.nl/fsw/research/veenhoven/Pub1990s/97a-full.pdf

In it, you will find scientific evidence that collectivism causes misery, while individualism causes happiness. Apparently, Rand was right about human beings (and what they would need in order to live well). Now, you can argue that, based on analysis of first principles, that Rand's conclusion was right. That is one way to address the issue (the philosophic way). Now, there is another way. Now, you can also argue that, based on empirical evidence, Rand was right. That is another way to address the issue (the scientific way). Through the lens of philosophy or science, the conclusion is the same.

Ed




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Friday, February 24 - 2:18amSanction this postReply
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Awesome thanks for the post!



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Friday, February 24 - 4:04pmSanction this postReply
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Over evolutionary time frames, happiness is achieved by self sustainment at least until successful reproduction. The masses, even with their welfare provided grain, legume, and sugar diets and inflation loaned & subsidised housing, achieve this at a greater rate than those who choose self sufficiency. Hence in the long term, in a mixed economy such as ours, if it does not become too socialist as to wipe itself out, many people will find happiness in receiving the redistributed resources.

And then you will lose this scientific argument. Furthermore, I doubt Rand's view of a man being productive, although they prefer others are such, would not seem virtuous for themselves to be. They are happy being leeches.



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Friday, February 24 - 4:36pmSanction this postReply
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There is a problem with the usual definition and understanding of "happiness." It is conflated with "pleasure" which is a very different thing. Real happiness requires a degree of self-sufficiency, of independence, of productivity of some sort. It isn't available to someone that doesn't grow into a fair degree of their potential.

Real happiness is fed, in part, by self-esteem: specifically, the sense that one is competent to deal with what reality presents us. Leaches don't acquire that sense. Any set of actions that require some degree of avoiding a clear understanding of reality or of one's motives or of one's identity, will also automatically diminish one's happiness, leaving instead some degree of anger/shame/fear/hurt/bitterness/etc.

Leaches can feel pleased that they are getting away with something-for-nothing schemes, but the pleased feelings are a bad choice since it involves choosing a path, a lifestyle, and some twisted thinking, all of which preclude what is required for the kind of personal development that produces self-esteem and real happiness.

But if the point of Dean's post is that we can build stupid systems that reward leaches who then reproduce in greater numbers than those who are productive... Well, that is all too true - but it won't make a sustainable utopia out of any system that ignores human nature's true needs, nor will it be conducive to generating real happiness for anyone.



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Friday, February 24 - 5:47pmSanction this postReply
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Dean,

I agree with Steve's take on the matter. You cannot acquire long-lasting, noncontradictory joy -- i.e., real happiness -- by being a leech.

Veenhoven talks about how a lot of the previous research on happiness fell into the trap of "counting specific miseries" -- measuring the incidence of "deviant behaviors (such as homicide, alcoholism and suicide) and psycho-pathologies (as measured by incidence of depression or admissions to mental hospitals)" and then using the absence of such miseries as an indication of happiness. But this is the disease model of health, where health is wrongly conceptualized as nothing other than the absence of disease. He attempted to measure overall satisfaction with, or appreciation of, your life as a whole.

In short, I'm pretty sure I would be able to invalidate (i.e., logically prove the illegitimacy of) the kind of "scientific" study that you had forewarned as being a possible, oppositional countermeasure to Veenhoven's findings.

Ed




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Friday, February 24 - 6:22pmSanction this postReply
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I sanctioned the last three posts of this thread because I understand the points made by Dean, Steve, and Ed.

Different people label experiences differently. The leeches will label themselves as "happy" even if the rest of us do not. Hence I can see why Dean said what he said.

The rest of us who understand the relationship between productiveness and happiness understand that the leeches will never experience that state and do not know our sense of "happiness." The question remains: Does it matter to the leeches? Clearly it does not. It is up to us to stop enabling their willful self-delusions.



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Friday, February 24 - 8:57pmSanction this postReply
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We need "lindane" . (without the side effects of course.) It is a chemical that was used on farm animals to kill blood sucking parasites like ticks fleas and lice.



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Saturday, February 25 - 8:57pmSanction this postReply
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In societies operating under the malevolent universe premise, which Europe inarguable does, the pinnacle of happiness is that ultimate zero of having no needs or ongoing emergencies at the moment.



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Sunday, February 26 - 12:11pmSanction this postReply
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Michael,

Good point. I know someone who has a crushed spirit. She said something to me once that breaks my heart whenever I think of it. She said:
I don't want to be happy, I just want peace.
My eyes are watering even now. I can't think of a greater tragedy than a willful acceptance of limitation on one's own joy.

Ed




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