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Seeking fake happiness

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Styles2112
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[split from an earlier thread.]

According to Ayn Rand, happiness "is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values. If a man values productive work, his happiness is the measure of his success in the service of his life. But if a man values destruction, like a sadist—or self-torture, like a masochist—or life beyond the grave, like a mystic—or mindless 'kicks,' like the driver of a hotrod car—his alleged happiness is the measure of his success in the service of his own destruction." ("The Objectivist Ethics")

For the record, there can be no such thing as a "prudent predator." A predator is by definition destructive, and happiness qua happiness can only attained by productive work. The "prudence" of the predator is thus a stolen concept.

Thieves and mystics and drivers of hotrods are only faking happiness. Ask them the source of their happiness. Blank out. By contrast, those who follow the Objectivist philosophy experience intensely gratifying happiness throughout their conscious hours on this earth.

How did a driver of a Hot Rod get thrown in with thieves and mystics? Why is driving a hot rod faking happiness? Is driving a truck faking happiness? I might have missed something here, but I fail to make the connection? What if it's a Hot Rod that I built, ground up?

I only ask because you/she brought it up.... seems very contextual to me....

Edited by softwareNerd
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How did a driver of a Hot Rod get thrown in with thieves and mystics?
Very contextual indeed. I think that's a reference to pure thrill-seeking, with no purpose. I was watching Stunt Junkies a couple of nights ago, trying to decide if I want to make it a regular watch. The first think that came to mind (this was the guy biking down the side of a mountain) was "What sort of a sick crazy is he?" By the end of the show I knew the answer: he was a man of ability, doing what cannot be done by ordinary men, who could not accept a conventional limit on what man can do, so he applied his mind (integreated with his body) with great skill, to reaching the goal. Unfortunately the show has too much repetitive yacking, so I'll probably only watch the last 5 minutes when they show the actual stunt.
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How did a driver of a Hot Rod get thrown in with thieves and mystics? Why is driving a hot rod faking happiness? Is driving a truck faking happiness? I might have missed something here, but I fail to make the connection? What if it's a Hot Rod that I built, ground up?

I only ask because you/she brought it up.... seems very contextual to me....

Everything depends on context. If a man drives a prototype car on a raceway to determine the power of the motor or the efficiency of its steering, then he has a productive purpose and his happiness is deserved. But going fast just for the "kicks" is mindless thrill-seeking, no different than smoking pot or swilling gin.

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Very contextual indeed. I think that's a reference to pure thrill-seeking, with no purpose.

AHHH. I see now. You're right. I lost the context when it was applied to only one style of vehicle. Of course, if she was around today, it'd probably changed to "thieves, mystics, and SUV owners." :worry:

No offense to SUV owners.... :confused:

Edited by Styles2112
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But going fast just for the "kicks" is mindless thrill-seeking, no different than smoking pot or swilling gin.

That view is far too narrow. You can't legitimately equate the entire NHRA with pot smokers. She was referring to a specific group of miscreant teenagers who just so happened to be the some of the first hot rodders. At the time, it was probably a fair assesment of hot rodders. To this day, the hobby has its share of idiots, but that doesn't make anyone with a hot rod mindless or an idiot.

The thrills of racing do not have to be mindless any more than an olympic runner has to be mindless. It would be taking that quote way out of context to constue it to mean that.

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I enjoy the "fake" happiness of motorcycling along an open road. Sometimes it involves speed and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it involves going somewhere to do something and sometimes its just about the ride. But everytime I set out on the road my destination is always home.

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As implied in my profile and elsewhere on this site, I drive a "hotrod car." It is so wonderful. The thunder of the engine… the sheer power as it pushes me back into the seat... the fact that it frightens animals and small children. When I step on the gas, people think the world is coming to an end.

In short, I get my “kicks.”

That doesn’t make the "kicks," or me, “mindless.”

Edited by Inspector
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Everything depends on context. If a man drives a prototype car on a raceway to determine the power of the motor or the efficiency of its steering, then he has a productive purpose and his happiness is deserved. But going fast just for the "kicks" is mindless thrill-seeking, no different than smoking pot or swilling gin.

So any engineer testing the prototype hotrod is engaged in productive activity, all those that enjoy the result of that are mindless thrill seekers?

Just as an electrical engineer who is designing and testing a new guitar amplifier is engaged in productive activity, but anyone plugging it in and getting a kick in its sound and power are mindlessly thrill seeking.

Just as a movie-maker who produces a new way to shoot a special effect is involved in a productive purpose, but all those that get a thrill out of seeing it on the silverscreen are indulging in mindless thrill seeking.

If you get the principle, I could do these examples until my fingers bleed.

Are you against enjoyment?

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I used to have a Dodge like that, though replacing the exhaust system changed that. God I miss that V8.

True....I've got my V8 turbo diesel (ford)...though I can't get "mindless" thrill seeking out of it, since it doesn't go above 90 mph (and even THAT's not really good for it). I get mind thrills pulling people out of snow banks with it.....I imagine THAT'S mindless too.

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If you get the principle, I could do these examples until my fingers bleed.

Are you against enjoyment?

Okay, let's take it further. If you grow/chemically engineer your drugs yourself, is taking them good?

As far as I see it, things are quite mixed up here.

Everything you consume today has been produced or at least found by someone. Everything from a hotrod to a pile of cow dung (which is good for fertilization) has to be either created or collected.

The very fact of consumption can therefore always be referenced to as a celebration of man's conciousness and its power over matter. This is getting us nowhere.

The idea behind this is that everything that we have has been created and therefore has to be earned. But if I hunt and gather instead of work and go to the supermarket, how much better is that supposed to be? Just because I hunted the damn bird myself it is worth more than my bought Double Whopper with bacon and cheese? I doubt it, because the Whopper is just as earned as the bird. Basically, the idea presened is that you shouldn't steal, but totally taken out of context to prove a point where none can be made.

I still think that happiness is an end in itself. It's just that some things don't make you happy in the long run. Like taking too much of some drugs, which is why one should refrain from it. Driving faster increases your statistical probability of death by accident. So it can be detrimental to your well-being. But this doesn't mean that you should live your life as a bubble baby. It can't. Pretty much everything in life contains risk. From driving to work to crossing the street even when the light is green. You can die by accident any minute, no matter what you do. It happens all day to some people on this planet.

To me it's a trade between present and future enjoyment. If you put off happiness till you're old and gray by saving your money instead of spending it, you may die before you can reap what you sew. But if you spend it all foolishly you may meet the dark fate of not dying early ;) and then you are old and broke.

The question is: Where do you put the emphasis?

Carpe Diem or Saving? Because the problem with happiness in contrast to money is that happiness can't be saved. It has to be experienced in the present. And either you do it, or you don't. And if you don't, you'll never get that chance back, because time moves on unforgivingly.

My stand on this is that you have to learn to find a balance between the two. But how?

I keep thinking about this. This is an interesting subject. It's basically about how one should lead one's life. And that's what philosophy is about in the end.

My first definition of mindless enjoyment:

Something you enjoy in the present that causes a greater lack of enjoyment in the future.

And this is where my definition of mindless enjoyment seems hard to me. Because it is only mindless if it has negative effects in the future. And one characteristic of the future is that it is unknown. Yes, some things are more probable than others, but in many areas we don't have enough knowledge about how the world works to make even intelligent guesses. Nobody can predict what the world will look like in 50 years.

Therefore the definition of mindless enjoyment would be:

Something you enjoy in the present even though you are very certain that it will cause a greater lack of enjoyment in the future.

I think this one works, because even if things turn out right in the end, it was mindless nonetheless.

Edited by Felix
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What does 'faking happyness' even mean? Surely the criterion for being happy is just feeling happy?

The reason short-term pleasure pursuit is often immoral is because it can have negative long term effects on your life, not because the feeling you get from it is fake (whatever that means).

Edited by Hal
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What does 'faking happyness' even mean? Surely the criterion for being happy is just feeling happy?

"Faking" happiness in this context means substituting pointless short-term pleasure for real long-term pleasure.

It's a similar case to obsessively playing computer games or RPG's. If you're doing it as a recreational activity, i.e. as a break from serious work, it's wonderful! If you're doing it as a way to drug yourself into not needing actual achievements in your life, then you have a serious problem.

There's nothing wrong with pursuing a better hotrod car, as long as your only goal in life isn't the rush you get from driving fast. Professional racecar drivers and Olympic snowboarders are seeking an achievement (doing the best that they possibly can, even if they don't compete!) as their fulfilment, not a sensation.

So, my principle: a sensation divorced from context is not a proper goal in life.

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I don't understand this. Is there nothing wrong with hitting a bong with your friends on Friday nights if it's done as some type of part-time recreation? Or using heroin in an occasional method that doesn't harm you physically?

This thread was already split from a previous thread, and there is already another thread here that deals with drug use. Perhaps this question would be better asked in that thread (even moreso after you have reviewed it).

Hope that helps.

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