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LINK The Happiness Trap: Why You’re Never Satisfied and How to Break the Cycle

I could have just about written this myself ... it does a great job of reflecting the hard-won views I've come to after 62 years of living and, in particular, some 25 years of godless living.

I don't know to what extent you have to be a subscriber to to read the article, but it appears to be one of the articles they allow people to read for free.

I have a medium account (not a paid one, a free one) and it's possible you may be able to read it by registering if you can't read it as-is.

mordant 8 Mar 30

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Presently, somehow, this site will not accept my response, πŸ‘


It’s a great article and it resonates with me on many levels. As I was told once, you can not find happiness by searching for happiness. But through mindful awareness of each passing moment, a perpetual state of joy is inevitable.

Sensual pleasure and pain come and go, and you can’t feel one without having the other for comparison. On the other hand, deep joy is the default state. You have to work hard to screen that joy. Maintain a smokescreen of untrue or negative, judgmental thoughts and you might hide from joy, but it takes effort.

Thanks mordant, for that valuable link.


isn't he just parroting what Buddha said more succinctly 2500 yrs ago?

I'm not saying it's original, but it frames and discusses it in a way I find most relatable.


Good article. Thanks for sharing!


Good article. I agree that we don't find happiness by comparing ourselves to the Joneses. We're not the Joneses, and those things important to the Joneses are not important to me. I find that TV is one of the biggest traps for unhappiness in modern life. Generally all advertising. Stuff is sold to us by making us feel like were missing out if we don't have it, or we won't achieve our full potential without it. In fact FOMO has been coined because of it, Fear of Missing Out. Beer commercials show the good life with a six pack and our buddies. Cosmetics commercials tell us we're not good enough without that goop on our face. You can't sell a product unless you can create a need for it, and you can't create a need for it if people don't know about it and why they need it. I won't even get started on "fashion." I'm quite happy "Missing Out." I'm going to save my time and my money for what is important as I decide they are important.

Television was never in my view a boon to society, and earned the old-time moniker, "the boob tube". However, it's both better and worse today compared to my salad days. More choices, but in a "235 channels and nothing to watch" sort of way. Higher quality in terms of production values. But the old TV advertising model looks horribly broken to me. There seems to be a shortage of advertisers such that you see the same handful of commercials over and over again, ad nauseum, in a given time frame. And yet they stupidly keep the same ratio of commercial time to programming time. Want to watch the news? Turn on CNN and it's nothing but commercials. Switch to MSNBC and it's nothing but commercials. The only mercy is they seem to be out of sync as to when their commercial breaks are (probably deliberate) so I just switch to a different channel when a commercial comes up. But between the low quality of newstainment and the commercials I end up just turning it off. I get my news more from carefully curated Twitter feeds than anything else anymore.

We go many nights without TV anymore, there's not much to miss really. Even when there's a show we really like, season 2 invariably goes right into the shitter (e.g., WestWorld). It's been a long time since we looked forward to a TV show.

But to your larger point ... yep the simple life is better. In the current climate, being unplugged much of the day is a virtue. I can't stand to watch the destruction of civil society in realtime anyway.

It manifests in other ways, too ... we bypass 80% of the aisles at the grocery store for example. I mean there's nothing there for a sane person to eat.

@mordant The common wisdom for smart shopper is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store, that is where the real food is. I don't buy much in the way of processed food, I cook large batches and freeze leftovers. I think I broke the TV habit by being in the military and living overseas. We had one channel so limited American TV. When my kids were growing up I limited their TV time. They tell me they were culturally deprived, but they were also the smartest and best read kids in their classes. I turned off cable TV during the Iowa Primary, I don't miss it. I also realized I was not watching TV so much as I was using it as background noise while I was online. I have never seen Game of Thrones, and I don't expect that to change. Give me a good book any day.

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