Thursday, February 21, 2013

456: The Art Not to Be an Egoist 21

In my lectures so far I have tried to find the pieces of the puzzle, which create the true picture of human nature.

There are all kinds of theories about what is human nature. For centuries it was the playground of philosophers only.

But nowadays many sciences contribute their pieces to our puzzle. That is, there is a growing body of evidence of what we already understood about ourselves.

In lecture 454 I said : "We look at ourselves as a good person, or  long to be regarded as one at least. 

And that is why we are nice to each other (not always but often), because it makes us FEEL GOOD.

Not because it serves our genetic interests, but it nurtures our psyche, our mind."

In the next lecture I showed you that this "Feel good" desire had already old philosophical roots in hedonism and eudaimonism.

I begin to wonder, whether it is really an ART not to be an egoist. Is it really audacious to claim, that the homo sapiens is NOT an egoist by nature,

that his happiness is not the result of his selfish, calculating exploiting of his fellowmen or the eternal pursuit of his greed?

The greedy, calculating banker might save a young kitten from drowning, or help a stranger by pointing him in the right direction.

As I said in previous lectures, we are a vessel of conflicts and contradictions and it is all the product of one's brain.

But what becomes clearer and clearer is that our brain, or actually We, steer in a clear direction: we want to feel good, we want to feel happy.

And this is achieved by one of our basic qualities: being a social being. We need the other to be happy ourselves.

What motivates us is recognition, appreciation, friendship, in other words, the feeling of being accepted socially.

When we feel ourselves socially good, the brain produces neuropetides, like oxytocin and vasopressin. These 'feel good' hormones are like a balm for our soul.

The opposite is true as well. When we get under stress the brain produces the stress hormone cortisol.

Of course happiness is much more complex than just observing the production of hormones in the brain..

Let's get back to good old Aristotle and his idea of "eudaimonia" as the perfect state of happiness. I think he really hit the bull's eye a 2000 years ago.

You can find dozens of definitions of happiness, but Aristotle already knew. Happiness is the inner state of being in balance with yourself and with your  environment.

We can achieve that state in many ways, but definitely not  by assuming that we are only calculating egoists.

We can be altruists, while calculating our profit in helping someone else, and the next moment altruists for free by helping an old lady cross the street.

But it all leads to the same result: it makes us feel good. It boosts our Self Image. We look in the mirror and smile at ourselves….  what do we really see in that mirror?

The Discussion

[2013/02/19 13:21]  herman Bergson: Thank you.. ^_^
[2013/02/19 13:22]  herman Bergson: If you have any questions or remarks...the floor is yours :-))
[2013/02/19 13:22]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): good question what do we see in that mirror.
[2013/02/19 13:22]  herman Bergson: I'LL DEAL WITH THAT IN THE NEXT LECTURE FAITHFULL :-)
[2013/02/19 13:23]  herman Bergson: oops caps
[2013/02/19 13:23]  herman Bergson: sorry
[2013/02/19 13:23]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): haha
[2013/02/19 13:23]  Debbie DJ (framdor): When individuals are happy, society functions well. That is an evolutionary win - the happy society will be more resilient ?
[2013/02/19 13:23]  Bejiita Imako: hahaha
[2013/02/19 13:23]  Bejiita Imako: yes thats true
[2013/02/19 13:23]  herman Bergson: True Debbie...
[2013/02/19 13:24]  Debbie DJ (framdor): so maybe we evolved happiness to survive ;)
[2013/02/19 13:24]  herman Bergson: The problem is only...why aren't we nice all the time..:-)
[2013/02/19 13:24]  Chuck Donardson: I am
[2013/02/19 13:24]  Chuck Donardson: :)
[2013/02/19 13:24]  Debbie DJ (framdor): Because we aren't perfect yet ;)
[2013/02/19 13:24]  Bejiita Imako: indeed a mistery sort of
[2013/02/19 13:24]  Chuck Donardson: Because we have children
[2013/02/19 13:24]  Debbie DJ (framdor): ************ G I G G L E S ************
[2013/02/19 13:24]  Debbie DJ (framdor): chuck
[2013/02/19 13:24]  herman Bergson: If that means living in harmony with the group, you are right Debbie
[2013/02/19 13:24]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): we haven't realized that we aren't perfect.
[2013/02/19 13:24]  Chuck Donardson: :)
[2013/02/19 13:24]  Merlin (merlin.saxondale): we have to compete for things
[2013/02/19 13:24]  Bejiita Imako: guess power and money have drive on us as well that often gets the best of us and ruins everything
[2013/02/19 13:25]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): or rather realized that we are perfect
[2013/02/19 13:25]  Chuck Donardson: we are perfect
[2013/02/19 13:25]  herman Bergson: Yes source of evil perhaps
[2013/02/19 13:25]  Merlin (merlin.saxondale): /me nods
[2013/02/19 13:25]  Debbie DJ (framdor): Our societies also channel feelings of unhappiness towards an "enemy". Not the operation of religion in creating people we like to dislike.
[2013/02/19 13:26]  herman Bergson: But the thing is....every person has some set point of happiness...
[2013/02/19 13:26]  Chuck Donardson: yes, is it the default
[2013/02/19 13:26]  Bejiita Imako: ah
[2013/02/19 13:26]  Bejiita Imako: yes
[2013/02/19 13:26]  herman Bergson: indeed Chuck...
[2013/02/19 13:26]  herman Bergson: and the next point is...
[2013/02/19 13:26]  Fred123 Aiten: so there is no common definition of happiness
[2013/02/19 13:26]  herman Bergson: when you become unhappy...for instance because of the loss of a dear one...
[2013/02/19 13:27]  herman Bergson: you'll eventually get back to your set point of happiness
[2013/02/19 13:27]  Debbie DJ (framdor): Happiness is very personal - a state of mind.
[2013/02/19 13:27]  herman Bergson: When you win a lottery and become a milionair...
[2013/02/19 13:27]  herman Bergson: you will not become happier by that
[2013/02/19 13:27]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): short lived, perhaps
[2013/02/19 13:27]  Fred123 Aiten: why not?
[2013/02/19 13:27]  Bejiita Imako: yes
[2013/02/19 13:28]  herman Bergson: Well Fred....
[2013/02/19 13:28]  Chuck Donardson: oversupply is the enemy of happiness
[2013/02/19 13:28]  herman Bergson: think of yourself...
[2013/02/19 13:28]  Fred123 Aiten: I think I would be happy to win the lottery
[2013/02/19 13:28]  herman Bergson: you buy a new car...
[2013/02/19 13:28]  herman Bergson: in the beginning you feel really cool about it....
[2013/02/19 13:28]  herman Bergson: but after a while it is just your car again
[2013/02/19 13:28]  Bejiita Imako: yes
[2013/02/19 13:29]  Bejiita Imako: i guess
[2013/02/19 13:29]  herman Bergson: My point is....
[2013/02/19 13:29]  Fred123 Aiten: I would give lots of money to other people and their joy would make me happy
[2013/02/19 13:29]  Bejiita Imako: useful stuff can be nice to have
[2013/02/19 13:29]  herman Bergson: Aristotle thought that man longs for a state of eudaimonia...
[2013/02/19 13:29]  Debbie DJ (framdor): just more admin - rather just be nice to people now ;)
[2013/02/19 13:29]  herman Bergson: good spirit...
[2013/02/19 13:29]  Bejiita Imako: for ex my Galaxy S3 i have a lot of joy cause it os a tool that help me at work ect and that i always have with me
[2013/02/19 13:29]  Bejiita Imako: scedules communication ect
[2013/02/19 13:29]  Bejiita Imako: but still just a tool
[2013/02/19 13:29]  Bejiita Imako: a thing
[2013/02/19 13:30]  herman Bergson: what research shows is that every person really has such a state of mind....
[2013/02/19 13:30]  Lizzy Pleides: Happiness is always short lasting but it can be measured
[2013/02/19 13:30]  Debbie DJ (framdor): and it makes you work harder Bej.
[2013/02/19 13:30]  herman Bergson: Happiness is not short lasted Lizzy..on the contrary....
[2013/02/19 13:30]  Bejiita Imako: yes, i have some music in it while working along with work plans project list ect
[2013/02/19 13:30]  Bejiita Imako: really useful all in 1 thing
[2013/02/19 13:30]  herman Bergson: Joy is short lasted
[2013/02/19 13:31]  Bejiita Imako: but still just a device
[2013/02/19 13:31]  Bejiita Imako: i need friends to communicate with through that device and directly around me
[2013/02/19 13:31]  Bejiita Imako: just like i do with all of u through my computer now
[2013/02/19 13:31]  herman Bergson: You find the same idea in buddhism for instance...the idea of Aristotle's eudaimonia
[2013/02/19 13:31]  Bejiita Imako: the computer is just a way to reach all of you
[2013/02/19 13:32]  Bejiita Imako: and its you that make me happy
[2013/02/19 13:32]  Debbie DJ (framdor): Coming to this class and interacting here makes me feel happy for example...
[2013/02/19 13:32]  Bejiita Imako: ah „ã°
[2013/02/19 13:32]  Bejiita Imako: Its really nice
[2013/02/19 13:32]  herman Bergson: Yes Bejiita...for you are recognized and accepted as a person here in SL by friends
[2013/02/19 13:32]  Bejiita Imako: ah „ã°
[2013/02/19 13:32]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): buddhism has wonderful ideas of happiness
[2013/02/19 13:32]  herman Bergson: No difference with RL here in that respect
[2013/02/19 13:33]  Bejiita Imako: no
[2013/02/19 13:33]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): much more sense than some western philosophers
[2013/02/19 13:33]  herman Bergson: Yes Gemma....
[2013/02/19 13:33]  Bejiita Imako: just like my S3 the computer is just the medium i use for communication
[2013/02/19 13:33]  Bejiita Imako: in the end i need real people
[2013/02/19 13:33]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): with practices to aid in moveing along
[2013/02/19 13:33]  herman Bergson: that is the same approach as Aristotle Gemma....
[2013/02/19 13:34]  herman Bergson: He said that you have to practice VIRTUE....
[2013/02/19 13:34]  herman Bergson: virtues like honesty, fairness, love and so on...
[2013/02/19 13:34]  Debbie DJ (framdor): It seems that if we please people we know, the results are stronger happiness, than pleasing strangers...
[2013/02/19 13:35]  herman Bergson: I wouldn't say that Debbie....
[2013/02/19 13:35]  herman Bergson: Bonobo apes even prefer to please a stranger over a known member of their group
[2013/02/19 13:35]  Debbie DJ (framdor): I wouldn't sit in the park and have such rewarding discussions with total strangers - no common ground.
[2013/02/19 13:36]  herman Bergson: To please a stranger...helping an old lady cross the road..might even make you feel better :-)
[2013/02/19 13:36]  Debbie DJ (framdor): Point taken...
[2013/02/19 13:36]  Bejiita Imako: yes
[2013/02/19 13:36]  herman Bergson: But that is an amazing observation....we all feel that way....
[2013/02/19 13:37]  Lizzy Pleides: only when the old lady really wants to cross the road
[2013/02/19 13:37]  .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lol Lizzy
[2013/02/19 13:37]  Merlin (merlin.saxondale): lol
[2013/02/19 13:37]  herman Bergson: grins
[2013/02/19 13:37]  herman Bergson: I would drag her to the other side just ti get the feel good experience :-)))
[2013/02/19 13:37]  Chuck Donardson: why did the old lady cross the road
[2013/02/19 13:37]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): sorry i crashed
[2013/02/19 13:37]  Debbie DJ (framdor): *************** G I G G L E S ***************
[2013/02/19 13:37]  Lizzy Pleides: lol
[2013/02/19 13:38]  Bejiita Imako: wb
[2013/02/19 13:38]  Debbie DJ (framdor): wb
[2013/02/19 13:38]  herman Bergson: Love to help old ladies cross the road ^_^
[2013/02/19 13:38]  Lizzy Pleides: and young ladies too i guess
[2013/02/19 13:38]  herman Bergson: ssshhh....
[2013/02/19 13:38]  Chuck Donardson: To makae the boy scout feel better
[2013/02/19 13:38]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[2013/02/19 13:38]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate):  GIGGLES!!
[2013/02/19 13:38]  Fred123 Aiten: lol
[2013/02/19 13:38]  Bejiita Imako: hahaha
[2013/02/19 13:38]  herman Bergson: Anyway....
[2013/02/19 13:38]  Bejiita Imako::-)
[2013/02/19 13:39]  herman Bergson: In general I get a rather positive picture of human nature so far....
[2013/02/19 13:39]  herman Bergson: To reveal you something....
[2013/02/19 13:39]  Debbie DJ (framdor): Right now, we look like a cheerful, helpful happy lot...
[2013/02/19 13:39]  Bejiita Imako: hehe true
[2013/02/19 13:39]  Bejiita Imako: :-)
[2013/02/19 13:40]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): until something or someone pushes our buttons
[2013/02/19 13:40]  Merlin (merlin.saxondale): hmm... I'm saying nothing
[2013/02/19 13:40]  herman Bergson: I am working on ideas about a next project after all this positive thinking about man...
[2013/02/19 13:40]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ooh
[2013/02/19 13:40]  herman Bergson: Subject will be "The origin of Evil" :-))
[2013/02/19 13:40]  Debbie DJ (framdor): that will dwell on the dark side?
[2013/02/19 13:40]  Chuck Donardson: his struggle to control...
[2013/02/19 13:40]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ohoh
[2013/02/19 13:40]  Debbie DJ (framdor): yes!!!
[2013/02/19 13:40]  Bejiita Imako: aaa ok
[2013/02/19 13:40]  Chuck Donardson: to be the alpha male
[2013/02/19 13:40]  Bejiita Imako: interesting
[2013/02/19 13:40]  Debbie DJ (framdor): time to put the devil in his place ;)
[2013/02/19 13:41]  herman Bergson: Really philosophically fascinating....
[2013/02/19 13:41]  Bejiita Imako: hehe
[2013/02/19 13:41]  Bejiita Imako: yes
[2013/02/19 13:41]  herman Bergson: Yes Debbie....that fellow needs to be taught a lesson...
[2013/02/19 13:41]  Chuck Donardson: better the devil that you know ? :)
[2013/02/19 13:41]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): lets try not to mention Ayn Rand
[2013/02/19 13:41]  Debbie DJ (framdor): gemma
[2013/02/19 13:41]  Debbie DJ (framdor):  ******* G I G G L E S ***********
[2013/02/19 13:41]  herman Bergson: He may thing k that it is all his doing...
[2013/02/19 13:41]  Bejiita Imako: hahahahahahaha
[2013/02/19 13:41]  Bejiita Imako: loooool
[2013/02/19 13:41]  herman Bergson: but there he is mistaken :-))
[2013/02/19 13:41]  herman Bergson: right Gemma..!!!!!
[2013/02/19 13:42]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i am sick of her
[2013/02/19 13:42]  herman Bergson: We just needed Ayn Rand.....
[2013/02/19 13:42]  .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): me too Gemma
[2013/02/19 13:42]  Chuck Donardson: i need to know her better
[2013/02/19 13:42]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): the only project we did not mention her was the first 100 philosophers
[2013/02/19 13:42]  Debbie DJ (framdor): ayn who?
[2013/02/19 13:42]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): never mind
[2013/02/19 13:42]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): lol
[2013/02/19 13:42]  Debbie DJ (framdor): ;)
[2013/02/19 13:42]  herman Bergson: Yes...her simplistic interpretation of human nature is a disaster
[2013/02/19 13:43]  Bejiita Imako: yes
[2013/02/19 13:43]  .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): we all feel that disaster now
[2013/02/19 13:43]  Debbie DJ (framdor): She doesn't make you happy Herman....
[2013/02/19 13:43]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): you want to talk about terribly unhappy human being.
[2013/02/19 13:43]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): look at Ayn
[2013/02/19 13:43]  herman Bergson: Yes we do Beertje
[2013/02/19 13:43]  Bejiita Imako: that we only are and should think of ourselfves
[2013/02/19 13:43]  Bejiita Imako: totally weird
[2013/02/19 13:43]  Chuck Donardson: She must have had good days
[2013/02/19 13:43]  Chuck Donardson: when helped across the road
[2013/02/19 13:43]  herman Bergson: Well. I guess I already have shown that THAT is NOT the basis of human nature
[2013/02/19 13:43]  .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes Chuck when she was only 4 I guess
[2013/02/19 13:43]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): never
[2013/02/19 13:43]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): all conditional on something no doubt
[2013/02/19 13:43]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): no one could help her across the road
[2013/02/19 13:43]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): lol
[2013/02/19 13:44]  Chuck Donardson: lol
[2013/02/19 13:44]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): seh would take a train first
[2013/02/19 13:44]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): or walk across someone to get there.
[2013/02/19 13:44]  Debbie DJ (framdor): Gemma - lets not talk about....
[2013/02/19 13:44]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): GIGGLES!!
[2013/02/19 13:44]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[2013/02/19 13:44]  Bejiita Imako: hahah
[2013/02/19 13:44]  herman Bergson: OK....I guess we better continue with more merry things in SL now....
[2013/02/19 13:45]  herman Bergson: So thank you all for your participation....
[2013/02/19 13:45]  herman Bergson: Class dismissed...^_^
[2013/02/19 13:45]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate):  Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ‚ô•
[2013/02/19 13:45]  Debbie DJ (framdor): Sounds good to me... Go and feel good some more ;)
[2013/02/19 13:45]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): thank you.
[2013/02/19 13:45]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): let's go party
[2013/02/19 13:45]  Bejiita Imako: YAY! (yay!)
[2013/02/19 13:45]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): just kidding
[2013/02/19 13:45]  Bejiita Imako: :-)
[2013/02/19 13:45]  Debbie DJ (framdor): Thanks Herman... Nice to have you back - and i had a great holiday thanks ;)
[2013/02/19 13:45]  herman Bergson: That's the spirit Faithfull :-))
[2013/02/19 13:45]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): i hope to see you at Kido Go, Herman
[2013/02/19 13:45]  Chuck Donardson: I must attend to shovelling, thank you Herman, friends,
[2013/02/19 13:45]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i was sick the whole two weeks
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): bronchitis
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Chuck Donardson: thanks Faithfull for the t
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): don't ruin that lovely suit, Chuck
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Bejiita Imako: aaaaw
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): and a blizzard
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Bejiita Imako: poor Gemma
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): oh well
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): recovering
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Bejiita Imako: nice u r better now
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate):   Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!!  
[2013/02/19 13:46]  herman Bergson: yes...poor Gemma ...
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Bye, Bye   
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): for now
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Fred123 Aiten: Many thanks Herman
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Bejiita Imako: cu soon all
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Bejiita Imako: hugs  
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Thanks Herman and Bye everyone
[2013/02/19 13:47]  .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[2013/02/19 13:47]  herman Bergson: smiles
[2013/02/19 13:47]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): that's it that's all
[2013/02/19 13:47]  herman Bergson: Nice discusion again today :-)
[2013/02/19 13:47]  Bejiita Imako: yes
[2013/02/19 13:47]  Bejiita Imako: very
[2013/02/19 13:47]  Bejiita Imako: interesting
[2013/02/19 13:47]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): i'm just getting warmed up
[2013/02/19 13:47]  herman Bergson: smiles
[2013/02/19 13:47]  Bejiita Imako: cu soon again
[2013/02/19 13:47]  Debbie DJ (framdor): Faithfull - pace yourself hun... this happens twice a week ;)
[2013/02/19 13:47]  herman Bergson: We have a strict time schedule here Faithfull
[2013/02/19 13:48]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): good to know
[2013/02/19 13:48]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): i'm a hungry ghost
[2013/02/19 13:48]  herman Bergson: Class never takes longer than about a 50 minutes...sometimes some longer
[2013/02/19 13:48]  Debbie DJ (framdor): bye friends, bye herman...
[2013/02/19 13:48]  herman Bergson: Bye Debbie :-)

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