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Optimism VS happiness

User Thread
 40yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that eye is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Optimism VS happiness
Is optimism the key to happiness?

well it's a revolving question of sorts.

Is life just as we interpret it, or are there certain things that drive us towards optimist and pessimistic choices.

if we were to handle a certain incident in an optimist view, which means seeing the good of it without the bad. Would that lead us to living life with a smile upon our faces.

Now i think there's 2 sides of everything, even death. And our always relative interpretation leads us to assumptions about how we feel about certain things / actions / occurrences in our lives. And dying is not good since we never like it when someone dies, Do we actually know how they saw it ?

question: does optimism necessarily mean seeing only one side of it ?

Now to every action or occurrence there are consequences, and it seems our lives are lead to a certain constant feeling of "sadness" or "happiness" or "anger" or anything really all based to how we interpret the things that happen to us, With our minds analyzing the outcome of it as in terms of predicting our personal future (to a certain subconscious level), and assuming answers to some questions of "why", "how" and "what for".

This led me to believe that our feelings are mostly controlled by which side we chose to be valid out of the many sides of everything.

Now that validity is questionable. Since we only question things that from experience we've learned are invalid, for certain reasons, as in if i do this i get tazed (think of it as a white mice in a maze, with some electrical current)

So then the main question here, does having a certain constancy of enjoyment in our lives lead to optimism, which might keep us going through a lot of inevitable "shit". Or does optimism require a certain amount of stupidity, or maybe better understanding of life as a meaningless blurr of "stuff" neither good nor bad.

Or is it that at a certain point in time we started looking at things in an optimist point of view (whatever the reason or the occurrences that lead to that view). and then we were able to accept life as life being "good", in a certain way. Or on the other end led us to see life as "bad".

now the question i'm trying to understand is that which comes first, optimism or happiness.

care to negate my point, i hate being right.

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"i think therefore i think i am"
 70yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that NicOfTime is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Optimism is, in my view, pretty much synonymous with "hope" -- the optimist is hopeful that the future will be either better or at least no worse than the present. Hope is a fundamental component of happiness. Where there is abundant hopelessness, there is little happiness.

But these definitions, even though an answer could be inferred from them, don't really answer your question.

My own take on that, analyzing my own experience, seems to suggest that the personal experience of happiness may well have a strong, perhaps even decisive, genetic component -- as much as I personally dislike that conclusion. I'd like to believe that there is more choice involved -- but my own experience of happiness and joy in life seems unrelated to any choices I've made. Yes, there are choices that have had consequences that have caused severe stress/unhappiness, even hopelessness. But even when the conditions/circumstances don't really change, my feeling of happiness generally returns. In fact, I've often described myself as a chronically happy person on balance, often feeling like one of the luckiest fellows in the world -- but with no apparent reason for it other than the feeling itself.

If this is true, then the answer to your question would be that a happy person is an optimistic person, rather than an optimistic person being a happy one. That is, optimism is a symptom or product of effect of happiness, rather than being a cause of it.

Some folks seem happy in spite of how bad they've got it; some folks seem unhappy in spite of how good they've got it.

I don't necessarily like this conclusion. It runs counter to what I want to believe. But it's a subject I've given much thought to over time, and that conclusion seems to be most consistent with my personal life experience.

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[  Edited by NicOfTime at   ]
 70yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that NicOfTime is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Looking a little deeper into this:

It has often been asserted, and generally easy to observe, that our psychological makeup has two general components: an emotional/reactive side, and an analytical side. If humans are a product of evolution (which seems to be the case), and we can use all biological organisms as a source of information to help us draw some general conclusions about our own biological nature, I think most of us can agree that one thing that sets humans apart is the relative sophistication of our analytical capacity. This would mean that most other organisms, as well as our more distant ancestors, tended to be less analytical -- and therefore more emotional/reactive in their behavior.

Emotions appear to be "condensed" summaries or synopses of the bombardment of information from the senses -- generally organized into degrees of impulse of approach/avoid, precisely the "choices" necessary to make some survival-related "decisions" about what to do about certain circumstances in the environment. The organism does not need to know in a conscious/cognitive sense what's going on -- it just needs to know whether the circumstance is a threat to its survival or not. This is why I connect the terms "emotion" and "reaction". Emotion/reaction is relatively instantaneous, and that kind of rapid decision making, even if it is not always 100% right, still confers a reproductive advantage to organisms that possess it. And that reproductive advantage, even if based on an imperfect model, is all that's necessary for that genome to propogate itself to its descendents.

Chronologically, then, the reactive preceded the analytical -- and would tend, therefore, to be the source of our emotions, rather than our emotions being products of analytical thought. This makes perfect sense if we were to try to construct a series of steps through which non-living (i.e., entirely reactive), non-conscious stuff became living, conscious stuff -- living stuff, itself, would tend to have evolved from fully fully and entirely reactive material, and the ability to analyze/choose would be the icing, not the cake.

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 40yrs • F •
A CTL of 1 means that pupa ria is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
first, the difference between an optimist, a dreamer and an ambitious person is very unclear to me...they are all mingeled up so if anyone can make a distinction i'll be grateful.

experience wise, optimism may be favoured if parental education gives some freedom of being to the child. A child has a vivid imagination and he throws himself with no second thoughts into dreamweaves. And it's always the best of the worlds possible. so maybe an optimist attitude starts from there. does optimism lead to happiness? not necessarly, it puts you in a state of hopefullness as Nicotime said, a certain anticipatory state. I think that this is an illusion we comfort ourselves with.
For me optimism has to do with faith ( the same faith we use in religion). It requires a certain amount of innocence (towards experience's of the past) and blind's like you got to be optimistic no matter what, no matter how improbable a happy outlet may be. I consider it as a survival and balance tool for the psyche, it kind of keeps you high and dry.
there are some days where optimism just doesn't work and becomes impotent. Days when you neither feel happy nor sad, where you just feel empty and see how pointless it all is.
And about happiness, well it always caugh me by surprize, when it was never foretold or hoped for at that certain space and time.
Maybe optimism helps happiness in the sense that it creates a positive energy and that leaves your doors open in a way.

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"I'm the mirror that will make you invisible"
 40yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that eye is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
first, the difference between an optimist, a dreamer and an ambitious person is very unclear to me...they are all mingeled up so if anyone can make a distinction i'll be grateful.

here by "optimism" i meant, accepting life as it always turns out for the best(at least for our self), Not believing in god, not believing in becoming something else, simply acceptance and understanding of everything that happens to us as not necessarily leading to us feeling sad or in pain. It is not living afraid of "life" in other words.

but the matter i wanted to discuss was the difference. my statements were obviously flawed.

do we actually know what happiness is ?

is it something we can attain.

what is the difference between happiness , optimism, misery and pessimism, i believe it's only a matter if we accept or reject the reasons we assume are behind them.

and believe me it's always an assumption, we accept reject and block everything out of comparison with others. But we're not all the same, are we..
if we were we wouldn't be going in different ways about our lives.

my whole approach was through the conception of how we see happiness and comparing it with optimism.

is there really any difference between putting a smile on ur face as in being happy, and putting a frown on ur face as in being sad.

if u smile, people assume u are. if you frown people assume u're not.

how is it that you tell if you're happy or not ?

i think our mind tricks us into categorizing emotion, while the whole mess of it is of one type with different strengths.

if we put physical pain aside.

isn't anything that we feel the same ?

i know pain but i do not claim knowledge of happiness, i simply wish to understand what it is.

any ideas ?

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"i think therefore i think i am"
 40yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that eye is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
OK, i guess my previous point flew away.

THE definition of the word optimism, is seeing the good of it all. being happy about all of the shit u might face. Even if you "should" not be.

IT is NOT HOPE, as it's being understood here.

Optimism is based on the actions that happen, that happened. NOT about the future.

At least that's how i wanted to approach it.

HOW is that different from the ever elusive "happiness".

the point is how is happiness anything but relative to how we chose to see things.

this post only shows me more about how little we know of the word happiness.

is it a forsaken form of beauty.

I'm talking about happiness as in how a person is completely content with his/her life, without seeing any pain in it. (IT doesn't mean that there is no pain in their lives, it means they chose not to see it as an absolution of something "bad", they see it as something that would eventually lead to a future "good".)

Now we do not chose to feel pain i'd give u that, we only chose to remember it. optimism if achieved helps u not see the pain in things anymore. or at least not remember the pain anymore.

can it be taken by choice ?

i do admit inexperienced optimism leaves you vulnerable to the cruelty of the world, hence how an optimist can switch to pessimism.

if we already experienced both. isn't optimism a better route than the other.

Now the above was naivety as most people connect optimism with being naive.
My view on optimism is a fully experienced decision of to not be affected by things that simply make us feel worse than we already feel.
This view can only be achieved after feeling the brutal cruelty of the world. It is not lying to yourself about certain things that you "want" to happen.
It's about releasing yourself to the world knowing that life happens in the best (or at least only) way possible. It is in sorts the acceptance of the outcome of our lives, not rejecting and regretting anything in it (however painful our lives were).

Would that lead us to a route from which we can achieve a sort of content with our existence.

please don't define the words, try understand what i mean by them.

or use wikipedia.

Please note that optimism and pessimism, are a way of thinking, not a way to describe choices we made, they are belief systems of sort.
Optimism: I Believe that this life happens in the best way possible.
Pessimism: I Believe that this life happens in the worst way possible.

you're all talking about the same thing.
which is optimism can lead to us feeling bad about certain things, which is a contradictory concept.

if you were truly an optimist then anything that happens happened because it was the best way it could've happened and it couldn't have happened in any other way.
Our need to control everything we can not control leads us to such "destructive" paths.

i think the important thing to keep in mind is that an optimist does not switch to pessimism simply because he faced something "bad" or "horrible".
naivety and not accepting the nature of the world leads us to such hasty choices.

optimism is seeing the good in both war and love.

do not preach me about there's nothing good about war. and there's nothing bad about love.

if we're accepting that there's nothing good about war, and there's nothing bad about love. Then we are a hopeless naive optimist.
which means we are not accepting all sides of the matter simply because we either haven't seen it yet, or we've been taught that war is bad, love is good.

Now all things have 2 sides in the end.
That given, which is a better choice, optimism or pessimism.

in terms of which would make us "happier".


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"i think therefore i think i am"
 40yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that eye is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
I think humans are inherently optimistic and it is only the repression of pain that prevents optimism from naturally uplifting us. By that rational, I believe that if a human goes through pain and accepts it and lets it engulf and change them, that they will naturally be optimistic about the future - it is the repression of pain that limits optimism.

beautifully put.

repression of pain was not something i considered explaining.

i looked at optimism in accepting pain as something that would lead to a greater "good".

maybe my view of optimism can only be seen through the eyes of a pessimist.

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"i think therefore i think i am"
 70yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that NicOfTime is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
That given, which is a better choice, optimism or pessimism. in terms of which would make us "happier".

If optimism is an effect / product / symptom of happiness, then we don't choose optimism any more than we choose happiness. When I'm happy, I'm optimistic, at least insofar as "feeling" optimistic goes. When I'm optimistic, it's because I'm already happy. For me, unhappiness tends to breed pessimism -- pessimism (feeling) is a symptom of unhappiness, not the cause of it. I'm mostly a naturally, almost chronically, happy person -- and a naturally optimistic (feeling) one. I don't feel that my analytical understanding of human nature justifies the happiness I generally feel -- that is, there's a disconnect between my faith in the collective human character and my natural optimism (hope) that, somehow, it's all going to work out all right anyway. IOW, analytically (thinking, not feeling), I'm pessimistic, even cynical. If (analytical) optimism causes happiness, then my analytical pessimism should result in a feeling of unhappiness.

As I said -- this is just my own personal take, based on my own personal life experience. Since I don't seem to have any real control over my own happiness, other than having some control over the conditions in which happiness is most likely to be experienced (*), then I suspect there's a strong, perhaps even decisive, genetic component to it.

(*) I think Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's "Flow: The Psychology Of Optimal Experience" has captured some, if not all, of what these "conditions" are.

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 70yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that NicOfTime is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Please refer to the "General Motors" thread for elaboration:

First, there is emotion, then comes feeling, then comes consciousness of feeling. There is no evidence that we are conscious of all our feelings, in fact evidence indicates that we are not conscious of all feelings.

Support for the notion that happiness may be less of a choice than most of us -- including myself -- want to believe.

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 40yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that eye is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
it could be approached as being able to realise what might possibly make you happy.

instead of the word "happiness".

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"i think therefore i think i am"
 70yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that NicOfTime is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Well, relative to the thread topic in the initial post -- is optimism the key to happiness? -- perhaps it's not.

Perhaps optimism is a symptom of happiness rather than a key to it.

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 70yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that NicOfTime is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
I guess at least one of the points I've been making about happiness here is that it's not a destination where one can arrive at and remain as long as one chooses -- but more like a barometer of current conditions, subject to variation as the conditions vary.

You have some control over some of the conditions in which happiness is likely to occur, but setting the conditions you have control over doesn't guarantee happiness, but just increases the probability. The book "Flow: The Psychology Of Optimal Experience" attempts to define those conditions precisely enough to enable one to elminate a lot of the superfluities and metaphysics that makes happiness as elusive as it is. The author doesn't arrive at his conclusions through thoughtful speculation, but rather through observation of people when they report experiencing happiness and finding the common factors. Turns out they're pretty simple -- but to appreciate the simplicity requires one to step back from happiness and "objectivize" it as an object of study, throwing away the huge amount of baggage that folks attach to it.

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 40yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that eye is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
You have some control over some of the conditions in which happiness is likely to occur, but setting the conditions you have control over doesn't guarantee happiness, but just increases the probability.

it's never a definite answer, as we all know.

i wasn't looking for an answer, i was looking for arguments on which is a less stressful way to accept things we consider.

now i do not claim we have a choice in terms of chosing if we see things as in ultimately good, or if we see things ultimately bad.

good and bad are relative in the end. To where we're standing.

anyway, this whole subject was out of boredom, it should have been best if we turned to discussing the different views of optimism instead of which leads to happiness.

as in comparison in how we see certain things in life.

In the end the only way we can see the good in certain things, is to see it from a different point of view.
It is something we can achieve through conversation, or simple experience. And time is of the essense, we can not claim knowledge of the answer before our mind speaks it to our subconscious. In terms of what is good, what is bad (for us of course).

now we all know the answer, it is innate in all of us.

the intuiging part is how a person can switch to pessimism, There are a lot of reasons or occurences that led to such consequences in a person's life.

if we understand those occurences, and see them in a different point of view, we might be able to switch back to seeing life as "good", or leading to something good in the end.

But my personal observation of the human creature, is that how we see things is based on how we feel at the moment.

if we are in pain, we find it more difficult to see the good in certain things that from the first glance seem bad.
If we are not and haven't been in a while, we can find more point of views (as in being a bit objective), of course if we did not hold on to certain previous (memorised without especially knowing we memorised them) decisions on certain things.
If we are in a euphoric state, we find it difficult to see the bad in anything, even if it's starring us in the face.

So as with most ultimate questions, the answer is usually the simplest one (or moderation as usual).

I guess it all falls back to choice, and are we capable of making "choice" in terms of how we see things.

I do believe we have a choice in terms to ignore certain things. We do not have a choice in how we interpret them.
Basically it's about tolerence of pain, and only that.

Now i believe patience is a cure to all life's miseries, it is NOT easy in any way, especially if our lives lead us onto destructive paths.

But it is possible in time and experience, it is important that if i see something that i fear to embrace, to be able to overcome that "fear" or "pain". As i might have said in a different post. Experience and only experience leads to wisdom (as in knowing what is the best route to take, for our own person of course).

Now we fear a lot of things we do not understand, and that fear stops us from knowing what it is that we fear. So then that certain thing we faced might come facing us eventually.
And on second occurence it's even worse, because we chose to ignore the experience simply because we "feared" it.
Now we all experience different things, we never see things objectively because of those emotions we have on a daily basis.
I do believe it requires courage to be able to tolerate something that terrifies us, and courage is a way to embrace such feelings that might be too strong for us to handle.
But as i observed, emotion only destroys you if you are "scared" of it.
I believe the key is courage, not as it might be understood as having no fear. But as embracing something because we fear it.
i am not talking of fighting something or so.
But we can only move on if we fight, the thing social living taught us as "wrong", is the one key to our happiness.

We all fear a lot of things, we can not enjoy anything in life. if we do not embrace the bad before the good.

I do believe in the need of fight. I do not believe in the need of utter violence as the answer.

But in the end, we must chose to fight or at least come face to face with our fears. If we would ever wish to conquer them.

If we see the worst of life and embrace it, it is easy to see the good in things, if we don't keep our distance from everything that we "feel" (as painful of course).

Now the thing we might want to consider that emotion is strongest when it's something i haven't faced before, not in terms of if i've seen it before. But in terms if i've embraced the feeling before.

i believe the only choice we ever can make is the lack of choice.
We can either sit still and avoid the thing that pains us, or we can allow it and hold on to our sanity untill it passes.

happiness is only the silence after the storm. Hence why love makes us happy.

Now from my personal observation, that was the only thing i could have done to survive my life. Again it killed me more than a few times.

Now, it's hard for us to hold on to something that's torturing us without us losing our sanity.

one trick i got used to doing without consideration, is that if i am in pain i chose to feel it in all it's true nature, as in surrendering to the torture of it, to be able to "learn" from it, or at least not feel it again. (using art to express it after it's gone, i thought of it as "experience", not as "wrong"

if anyone follows through what i'm saying, please discuss what i said, not the initial subject.

anyway, i ain't writing this as a response. I simply like the sound of my own voice

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"i think therefore i think i am"
Optimism VS happiness
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