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Thread: Is happiness the most important thing?

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    a fool on a journey pensive_pilgrim's Avatar
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    Is happiness the most important thing?

    Or are there things worth being unhappy for? What would you be willing to sacrifice your happiness for?

    I was reading peoples' divorce stories on reddit and I saw a lot of people saying things like "we discovered we just didn't want the same things in life". I pointed out to one person that marriage is a promise made for life, and she said (in part) "I wouldn't expect a couple to stay together unhappily simply because they made a promise".

    But I would. I think duty, loyalty and honor are more important than happiness. I can't see myself breaking a promise just because keeping it would make me unhappy. I know that I get taken advantage of that way, but it's more important to me that my words are worth something.

    This thread idea isn't really fleshed out, but I'm posting it anyway because I want to know what you guys think.

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    Elitist Hipster Snake Champion Grape Jelly's Avatar
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    I think given that you only live once, you should totally divorce in the pursuit of happiness, if something more chill came along, but only if you're not in a chill relationship and decide to end it. Lifes too short to be miserable or to not be happy.
    Chocolate ding dong

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    (╯□)╯︵ ┻━┻ Deckard's Avatar
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    I think duty & honour can be like a bridge that lets you travel across valleys when there's nothing else to sustain you. But if there's no end to that valley, those same traits become prison walls trapping both of you in a situation that isn't working. Your motivations can turn from selfless to selfish when you reframe your fear and stubbornness into something honourable. Nothing about a relationship can be put in absolute terms.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pathogenetic_peripatetic View Post
    Or are there things worth being unhappy for? What would you be willing to sacrifice your happiness for?

    I was reading peoples' divorce stories on reddit and I saw a lot of people saying things like "we discovered we just didn't want the same things in life". I pointed out to one person that marriage is a promise made for life, and she said (in part) "I wouldn't expect a couple to stay together unhappily simply because they made a promise".

    But I would. I think duty, loyalty and honor are more important than happiness. I can't see myself breaking a promise just because keeping it would make me unhappy. I know that I get taken advantage of that way, but it's more important to me that my words are worth something.
    This is a stance I admire greatly. Yes, indeed.

    On the other hand, if both people gave a promise and both ended up being unhappy, would you still see it the same way? What about a mutual agreement to dissolve the promise? As far as I understand, a marriage promise in modern times tends to be a promise of commitment to one another (as opposed to the former concept of being a promise to God or another metaphysical entity). If neither party has any further interest in remaining married, is it wrong to dismiss the original promise as an error and go separate ways, in your eyes?

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    Faster. Than. Ever. Sloth's Avatar
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    I agree with you.

    I think it's weird that some people end up taking marriage as lightly as they do. It's part of the reason I've been single so long, it's not that I think a dating relationship necessitates some deep commitment... I just think too much but really though, how does someone get to the point of marriage and not go to every length conceivable to fix it without comprising 'yourself' (and A. maybe a lot of people have and connecting with people is just hard and I'm wise to avoid it in this context and B. something, w/e I'm drunk and been single a long time).

    idk.

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    creator kali's Avatar
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    Happiness is not only not the most important thing, happiness is not even important, except as a yardstick byproduct for how well you are conforming to internal values and achieving your goals.

    In the context of relationships, if you are with someone that makes you a better person, happiness will organically result from that. Seeking it artificially is not only exhausting but also counterproductive.

    Fulfilment > happiness. The difference is that fulfilment leads to a general sense of peace, while happiness entails little instances of joy that may or may not be good depending on the context.
    "I fucking hate the cold!" - Wim Hof

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    Now we know... Asteroids Champion ACow's Avatar
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    I don't know the word I'd use for it, but self-respect/living in accordance with your values is more important.

    That being said, duty, loyalty and honour are only virtues honed in the right direction: when turned against hedonism, selfishness, egoism, etc. Personally I don't see what is to be gained staying in situations where you're actively harming people, but if its only among those consenting, I suppose that's up to you. That also being said, duty, loyalty and honour are often some of the most common backhanded claims of virtue used to manipulate people to do/justify some pretty abhorrent things...

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    Sysop Ptah's Avatar
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    Personal/individual happiness, health and efficacy -- as apprehended/pursued holistically, that is, long-term, and with respect to reality qua causality (as against short-term and/or wishful thinking). This is the most important thing -- the general purpose of life, as I see it. See also: the freedom to pursue this (freedom as in: free from the unwelcome threat or initiation of physical force by others).

    In this frame, some things (such as promises, etc) can and should be sustained, even if they are ephemerally unpleasant, to the extent that they obtain/sustain some aspect of the above. For instance: turbulence in an otherwise happy/healthy/beneficial relationship (insofar as it can be rationally perceived to offer such value in the future). For instance: work now, play later.

    That's how I see it.
    Last edited by Ptah; 10-06-2016 at 02:29 PM.

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    igKnight Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pathogenetic_peripatetic View Post
    But I would. I think duty, loyalty and honor are more important than happiness. I can't see myself breaking a promise just because keeping it would make me unhappy. I know that I get taken advantage of that way, but it's more important to me that my words are worth something.
    I'm with @Sappho--but then, failing to keep promises makes me unhappy.

    I do lots of things for those sorts of reasons--sense of duty, loyalty, and honour--that don't make me 'happy' in the sense of grinning and euphoric or even just, "Yep. Good beer." They're even things that make me unhappy or unsettled, like taking the risk of honesty when lying would obviously lead to a simpler result. But I choose not to because it isn't who I'm trying to be.

    I realize this sort of subverts the premise, but I'm really not happy with the idea of being happy by nefarious, dishonest, or oath-breaking means.

    That said--I certainly see value in divorce, and begrudge it to no one because I think most people get married for the wrong reasons. For dumb reasons. "Love" is never a reason to make an oath. It's too frivolous and untrustworthy a sentiment. Too heady an intoxicant. Marrying for love is like signing a contract while staggeringly intoxicated.


    There's happy, and then there's something else--a sort of self-approval that is more important than mere joy because without it, every pleasure is hollow.
    --Mention of these things is so taboo, they aren't even allowed a name for the prohibition. It is just not done.

  10. #10
    fluctuating Obfuscate's Avatar
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    And Do You Think That Love Itself

    the last three lines come to mind each time that i think about this, as does this song by joni mitchel....

    "Even the bored, insulted heart,
    That signed so long and tight a lease,
    Can break it's contract, slump in peace."



    it's not my place to judge others for how they conduct their romantic entanglements, but for me a marriage would be for life... if i was divorced, it wouldn't be because it was what i wanted... i don't think i would try to fight divorce in court, but i wouldn't remarry unless my wife were to die, attempt to kill me, or perhaps if she were to remarry on her own... i see no value in marriage if the vows hold no weight... i strongly dislike the casual attitude towards divorce that seems to permeate our modern culture... a side thought: the legal aspect of marriage means little to me (one of the many reasons i like the tune above)...

    post script:

    i forgot to address your actual questions... happiness is fleeting, and many things are worth giving it up for... as for a list, i can't provide one... it's like obscenity: i know it when i see it....
    Last edited by Obfuscate; 10-06-2016 at 07:18 PM.
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