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What is wrong with modern life

sushi

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discuss.

why are we so unhappy despite of better technology and abundance?
 

lightfire

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Was the purpose of better and abundant technology supposed to make us happy? It was supposed to make things easier or convenient. Not sure if that's supposed to make us happy or not. Depends what you use it for?
 

Cognisant

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Humans are machines designed (evolved) for survival, paradoxically we thrive on adversity, without exposure to filth our immue systems become weak and turn on our own bodies (not being exposed to sickness can make us sick), without having to fight the force of gravity our muscles atrophy and our bones become brittle.

There's nothing wrong with technology, the problem is that we're not designed to be happy, we're designed to succeed in a world that's trying to kill us.
 

Animekitty

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we're designed to succeed in a world that's trying to kill us.
Over a million years of exposure to environmental conditioning, the brain has been able to form a regulatory system where brain waves bouncing around inside it lead to intelligent behavior rather than the disintegration of the regulatory mechanism/memory modification process.
 

Happy

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I’m not unhappy
 

Blarraun

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People might be unhappy if they don't grow or seek out challenges.

It's their issue to make their life happy, instead of expecting the environment to force them to be happy or provide threats to have them overcome and become satisfactory as narrative.

Maybe nowadays it's easier to subsist depressed and miserable, whereas in the past depressed people would just die or fall into trouble catastrophic enough to keep them occupied and not thinking about their happiness.


Scrubs think 1900s were hard mode, in fact it's more hardcore to up the difficulty when easy mode is available.
 

DoIMustHaveAnUsername?

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Because they commit to speculation and conjectures without doing any real empirical research.
 

Polaris

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Because life's a trap.
 

Animekitty

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Cognisant

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Generally yes, unless there's two of them in which case it's a three way and therefore not gay.
 

onesteptwostep

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Personally I think the industrial revolution and the capitalism project has run its course. We've basically covered all the primitive needs of humans.. we at least in the developed world. I think people will begin to look outwards to the outside of their own society to find meaning in life, such as going to undeveloped areas to help develop it and such.

I've also been taught to think that humanity has two ways of looking at life, at least in secular terms, which is through the Enlightenment heritage, which is to basically look at life through the lens of reason and the industrial might, or through the Romanticist heritage, which is to look at humanity through the lens of primitive instinct such as through Will, art, nature, wonder, and the like. These twin cultural epochs in human history have their course- such as the Enlightenment in the 17th century and the Romanticist period which followed, like through the philosophical angle of the German idealists or the poets like Goethe or Lord Byron. I think in this day in age the Enlightenment heritage has take a hold of humanity more, with its technological prowess. Events like the 4th industrial revolution will help advance this epoch in history, but since this history is more like a wave, a Romanticist period I think will follow. People would try and return to be human more. I guess that's why people like Jordan Peterson is popular- he draws from people who have a more irrational understanding of humanity, such as Carl Jung.


As for the problems of 'modern life', like I said I think capitalism has run its course... so there will obviously be a transition stage in which people will be able to enjoy their leisure more. Events such as the 4th industrial revolution I think will help in that aspect.
 

Cognisant

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Events like the 4th industrial revolution will help advance this epoch in history, but since this history is more like a wave, a Romanticist period I think will follow.
Absolutely I think we're in a new renaissance, now is a great time to be an artist of any kind, even if your art is making kitchen cabinets the demand for bespoke things has never been higher.
 

moody

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There's nothing wrong with technology, the problem is that we're not designed to be happy, we're designed to succeed in a world that's trying to kill us.
I don't necessarily think the world is designed only to kill us. You're not wrong, but I think it's more like natural boundaries. This "world" also pretty much created us (evolutionary speaking, and we literally have to eat things from the earth to live), and we die and then our lives got back to a blank drawing board. The only problem with technology is that we look at it as a short cut to solving our own happiness, I think. Humans just like to problem solve because of our brains, and I guess we all figure the more "work' we make easier, then the happier we can be, right? Trying to simplify it like that doesn't really solve anything. There's probably even a "happiness for dummies" book out there. (...is there???)

Personally I think the industrial revolution and the capitalism project has run its course. We've basically covered all the primitive needs of humans.. we at least in the developed world. I think people will begin to look outwards to the outside of their own society to find meaning in life, such as going to undeveloped areas to help develop it and such.
I often think the same thing...people so often equate "progress" with getting more technologically advanced. In certain professions that's all well and good, but it's not sustainable if we run our mass now-just-about-global societies that way. I'd like another Renisance age to come. A lot of people in the younger generations are yearning for that too. We just have to change the way we look at living so we don't die in the meantime.
 

MayaRefugee

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A gripe I have with modern life is the splintering of tribe/culture/connection. It's so easy to become esoteric and distant from each other in todays world. With ever expanding difference tribes get smaller and smaller, values get more incongruent and something bigger than ourselves becomes harder to identify with. I know diversity is a good thing but at some point I think it makes us all strangers. As an example gone are the days where more often than not neighbors knew each other, gone are the days where we all commune around the same forms of entertainment, etc. I might just be nostalgic but the increase in loneliness and depression in the world to me is indicative of the ease at which we can isolate yet still trick ourselves into thinking we are connecting, how easy it is to become an outsider if you don't do or present yourself in the way orchestrators of pop-culture and advertising influence you into doing. In saying that so much of what passes for connecting today is pseudo-connection, there is no touch, eye-contact, use of the voice is most cases, etc. We connect with ideas we have of others in a remote way rather than an other here in close proximity, we have ample time to check what we are communicating before we communicate it (i.e. there is no onus to answer or speak quickly to avoid awkward silence), there is no threat of a punch in the face if you say the wrong thing to the wrong person, etc. The whole dynamic of being human and part of a collective has been turned on its head and I kind of find this inorganic.
 

Serac

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the more sophisticated technology becomes, the easier it is for the smart to exploit the dumb. E.g. social media – arguably the most soul-sucking, vapid, cesspool of shit ever invented by humankind – where algorithms optimize the content to make the average zombie idiot out there waste as much time as possible.
 

sushi

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the biggest tyranny is the clock.

Imagine the days we had before the clock was invented.
 

Minuend

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What do you think it takes to be happy?

Gaming all day or having an app to make you coffee every morning is not equal to human happiness.

Happiness is more of an emotional thing, and unless we are taught how to appreciate and like the things that could make us happy, we will never be so. Happiness is an idea, is what we delude ourselves to be.
 

moody

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What do you think it takes to be happy?

Gaming all day or having an app to make you coffee every morning is not equal to human happiness.

Happiness is more of an emotional thing, and unless we are taught how to appreciate and like the things that could make us happy, we will never be so. Happiness is an idea, is what we delude ourselves to be.
I don't think happiness is applicable to a fixed state of being. I think we strive for being content, or having something to look forward to the next day. A reason to wake up. I also don't think the same things make us all happy. If an app that makes you coffee makes you happy, then you shouldn't cheapen that.

Relying on things to make you happy....that's when the problems begin. It's just as you said, gaming all day won't make us happy. At the same time, it's also not healthy to rely on a single person or small subset of people to make you happy. It's when we look outwards for things to "fix" our lives before ever looking inwards ourselves that we start deluding ourselves. How can you expect other people to solve your problems if you've not even began troubleshooting yourself? That's a bit lazy, and probably why a generation of people raised to be impaitient are having higher and higher rates of depression. It's the trusting of ourselves to be able to find purpose that allows us to be content. (Of course lives are complicated, so I'm not meaning to discredit anyone's own personal experience...)

Of course, that's just my take on any sort of "formula" for being content. I'm sure there are other self-help books that can say more-or-less the same thing with different words...
 

gilliatt

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Happiness is not to be achieved at the command of some emotional whims. That would be an irrational wish. Happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy--joy without penalty or guilt. If a man values destruction, like a sadist or self-torture, like a masochist-or life beyond the grave, like a mystic etc- his alleged happiness is the measure of his success in the service of his own destruction. Irrational whims do not work to bring on happiness.
 

Minuend

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I don't think happiness is applicable to a fixed state of being. I think we strive for being content, or having something to look forward to the next day. A reason to wake up. I also don't think the same things make us all happy. If an app that makes you coffee makes you happy, then you shouldn't cheapen that.

Relying on things to make you happy....that's when the problems begin. It's just as you said, gaming all day won't make us happy. At the same time, it's also not healthy to rely on a single person or small subset of people to make you happy. It's when we look outwards for things to "fix" our lives before ever looking inwards ourselves that we start deluding ourselves. How can you expect other people to solve your problems if you've not even began troubleshooting yourself? That's a bit lazy, and probably why a generation of people raised to be impaitient are having higher and higher rates of depression. It's the trusting of ourselves to be able to find purpose that allows us to be content. (Of course lives are complicated, so I'm not meaning to discredit anyone's own personal experience...)
just wanted to +1 on your post
 

CatGoddess

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Huh, I was actually assigned a paper on this topic (I'm in this "IB" program that has a rather perfunctory, pseudo-philosophical course as a prerequisite). Each person in the class was given a different topic, and mine was "how can an individual find happiness?". I found it ironic, at first, that she'd give a paper on happiness to someone who's been on-and-off depressed (clinically, but not usually severely) for years and whom nobody would proclaim a "happy" person, but then I decided to run with it.

I basically wrote that it's her own job to figure out her own happiness, and that the same applies to everyone else too. It's subjective, so you gotta look outside of what everyone else tells you will make you happy (lots of money and "success", as a large portion of the population claims) and puzzle out what actually makes you happy. I was pleasantly surprised to find I got an A for pretty much saying "do your own goddamn assignment".

But, anyways, general thread topic. Frederick Turner's frontier thesis is an interesting take on it; maybe the opening of space colonization in the (hopefully near) future will give people a healthy escape from class divisions/sucky expectations/pressures in society.

Hmm. Excessive materialism comes to mind. Not the buying itself perse, but people's belief that buying more stuff, no matter how useful or actually wanted, equates to happiness. Maybe it does for some people, but it's not for everyone. Cue edgy Wasteland (TS Elliot) quotes. I guess that's more in line with what I was originally saying.

*Appears out of nowhere, pretends she was there all along, thinks of self as a sneaky bastard even though only half of that's true*
 

Serac

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if you inject a rat's brain with a few shots of dopamine, it too will be given a notion of "happiness" – some physiological state it will keep pursuing all of its waking hours. The only difference between the rat and a human is that by means of our imagination and general lack of clarity, we've made up this lofty concept of "happiness" that we keep discussing and telling stories about, but which no one ever reaches because it doesn't really exist.

my personal goal is not happiness but being free from fear of discomfort, and being free from the instinct to escape pain and misery. But maybe that's a viable definition of "happiness", so I dunno – maybe it's all subjective like people have pointed out
 

Rook

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Events like the 4th industrial revolution will help advance this epoch in history, but since this history is more like a wave, a Romanticist period I think will follow.
Absolutely I think we're in a new renaissance, now is a great time to be an artist of any kind, even if your art is making kitchen cabinets the demand for bespoke things has never been higher.
Yup... people making lots of money these days by offering old-world skills, more refined crafts. Fuck, do u know how few free lance builders there are here? and you know how highly plumbers are paid?

In some ways, i think a lot of people through modern society have been forced into positions where they feel no passion for their work. Boredom, depression, addictions.
 

Rook

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my personal goal is not happiness but being free from fear of discomfort, and being free from the instinct to escape pain and misery. But maybe that's a viable definition of "happiness", so I dunno – maybe it's all subjective like people have pointed out
Hmmm your goals are pretty much what Im attempting to do in my life, along with always searching for creative stimuli.
 

Emmanuele

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Marie-Henri Beyle: In the Middle Ages hearts were tempered by the presence of danger, and therein, unless I am mistaken, lies another cause of the astonishing superiority of the men of the sixteenth century. …

Love is a delicious flower, but one must have the courage to go and pick it on the edge of a frightful precipice. Besides ridicule, love has always staring it in the face, the desperate plight of being deserted by the loved one, and in her place only a dead blank for all the rest of one’s life.

Civilisation would be perfect, if it could continue the delicate pleasures of the nineteenth century with a more frequent presence of danger.

It ought to be possible to augment a thousandfold the pleasures of private life by exposing it frequently to danger. I do not speak only of military danger. I would have this danger present at every instant, in every shape, and threatening all the interests of existence, such as formed the essence of life in the Middle Ages. (On Love, 1822)

Giacomo Leopardi: And the same with everything that disgusts us. Thus, if you have been frightened by a dangerous experience, your heart aches to think about it. You do not have the strength to dwell upon that thought, moment, incident, proximity to death, etc., but you don’t have the strength to drive it away, either; indeed, whether you want to or not, you still have to catch a glimpse of it. …

Rather, I would say that the unknown gives us more pain than the known and, since that object frightens us or saddens us or makes us shudder, we do not know how to leave it alone. And even if it disgusts us, we still find a certain desire to put it into some perspective so that we can understand it better.

Perhaps also, and so I believe, it comes from a love of the extraordinary, and the natural hatred of monotony and boredom that is innate in all men, and if an object presents itself that breaks this monotony and steps out of the common run of things, however much more burdensome it seems to us than boredom (but perhaps, at that moment, we do not notice or think about this), we still find a certain pleasure in the shock and agitation that the fleeting glimpse of that object produces in us. (Zibaldone, 89-90)
 

sushi

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there is no decline in danger, there are always psychopaths lurking among us.

Plus poverty and uncertainty is the substitute of lack of meals and water in the past.
 
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