[extropy-chat] Pleasing Oneself

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Fri Feb 2 00:09:29 UTC 2007

Anders wrote:

> The highest forms of happiness occur when we are participating
> totally in
> something and using all our being to bring it about, be it cooking,
> climbing a mountain or solving a problem. At this level the
> pleasure
> sensation becomes less important than the happiness: it is actually
> not
> very pleasant to sit up all night hacking away at some great piece
> of
> code, but the happiness it brings is indeed supreme and lasting.
> Happiness
> tend to accompany doing things that makes us  extend ourselves as
> beings.
> >From this perspective striving for happiness might be both a goal
> and a
> means. It is the transhuman thing to do.

Anders, I agree with your point, similar to that expressed so well by
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and called flow.

I would, however, encourage people to avoid the traditional default
concepts of goals and means, which, despite their comforting
familiarity, carry an implicit assumption of a dualistic self.

It's more coherent and conducive to longer-range thinking to view this
flow experience as the natural and expected condition of a reflexive
system that is fully expressing its values.  

Rather than the paradoxical collapsing of goals and means that you
mentioned, dictated by classical thinking in this area (never mind what
priveledged party is supposedly able to observe and assess these goals
and means) we, and all other agents act in order to minimize the
perceived difference between our values and the environment. Goals are
only an epiphenomenon.

- Jef

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