Social Anxiety Support Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
716 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
First I'd like to say that I am not Buddhist, and although I agree with a lot of ideas from Buddhism, my own philosophies differ in many ways.

Alright, what I want to talk about is unhappiness. I've made a few threads in a short time on the same subject because I don't like to mix my new ideas with my old ones so I just start entirely new threads. Please don't judge my current thoughts based on any of my old ones.

I'm just going to get right into this:

Unhappiness comes from subconscious wants. I'd describe unhappiness as a feeling of incompleteness or feeling that you are not whole. This is why we desire, because we want to feel whole, and obviously if we don't currently feel that way, we need something to change in order to get results.

These wants are subconscious because we don't always know that we want something, because we don't have anything specific in mind; we just aren't content with our current situations. However, you can find out what you are wanting in your subconscious by simply imagining getting things that you could possibly want, and if you sense that feeling of completeness, then that is what you want.

Why do we want things, though? Why do we want anything?

Every one of us has our own understanding of what is good and what is bad. These understandings are subconscious, like our wants, because we don't actually think about them, they are just there in the back of our heads. These understandings are our criteria for all of our subconscious judgments.

Our judgments are the direct reason for us wanting anything. We have to judge something as good before we can want it, and we have to judge something as bad before we can want to avoid it. These subconscious judgments happen automatically with every single aspect of our life.

The judgment that hurts us the most is our judgment of self.

If you know anything about Buddhism you've probably heard "no self" or "false sense of self," because in Buddhism the solution to self judgment is removing the self from your mind. The self is created in the mind and can't actually exist in the present, so this sounds like a logical idea, but it is extremely difficult to convince the mind you have no self. Plus, that only removes the judgment of self, there are many other judgments we make.

My solution is to get to the root of our judgments, which I mentioned above as our understanding. These understandings we have are all unjustified, and thus, false.

Humans learn primarily by example, and this is where most of our understandings come from. We are not born wanting popularity, we learn that popularity is good.

There are natural understandings. These understandings are with us from birth for survival purposes, I guess. The number one natural understanding I can think of: pain and discomfort are bad, pleasure and comfort are good.

But why are these understandings unjustified?

Because we don't know why we have these understandings. Actually, it's as simple as the fact that we cannot justify them.

Why is pain bad? Because it feels bad. Why is it bad to feel bad? ...Uh, I don't know.

Why is it good to be popular? Because it means people like you. Why is it good for people to like you? Because it makes me feel good. Why is it good to feel good? Because I like it. Why do you like it? I don't ****ing know.

We don't actually know anything. Which brings me to this example:

I'm sure you've heard, seen or experienced a kid asking an adult a simple question, getting an answer, and then asking, "Why?" After which, every answer given by the adult is followed by another "Why?" from the child, until eventually the adult has to end the conversation in frustration.

The child assumes the adult knows things, because we all think we know things, but when the child tests this it is proven that the adult actually doesn't know but simply understands that is the way things are. The understanding is unjustified.

The child, on the other hand, is humble. The child doesn't think he knows anything, and that's why he asks so many questions. Eventually the child learns the understanding that you can think you know things without actually knowing.

Buddha said that the reason for unhappiness is ignorance. I believe the reason for unhappiness is false understandings.

To be truly happy, I believe we have to remove these false understandings. We have to admit to ourselves, and realize, that we know nothing. In fact, I believe there is only one thing we are capable of understanding, and that is that we are incapable of understanding anything else. We can know nothing except that we know nothing.

I don't know exactly how to remove unhappiness, but the goal is to:
1. Realize that our understandings are false.
2. Accept that our understandings are false.

Then we will be free of judgment, negative judgment in particular.

I hope some people get what I'm talking about, and I hope this helps some people feel better.

Thanks for reading, if you did.
 

·
Staying positive
Joined
·
754 Posts
Wow what a post. I loved that part about how you said the child is humble and the adult thinks he knows everything. You're so right, we really don't know anything.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1 Posts
"We have to admit to ourselves, and realize, that we know nothing. In fact, I believe there is only one thing we are capable of understanding, and that is that we are incapable of understanding anything else. We can know nothing except that we know nothing."

But wait, isn't the statement "We can know nothing" something that we know, hence a contradiction?
 

·
Retired Enforcer
Joined
·
19,108 Posts
Most adults that I have ever met was totally convinced that what they knew was right and anyone who disagreed with them was wrong. It is a difficult thing to admit that one may be wrong. That's why we have arguments.

I read something once about this.
A child thinks that his Dad knows everything.
At about 10 years of age he realizes that Dad is occasionally wrong.
At about 15 he knows that Dad doesn't know anything.
At about 20 he begins to realize that Dad was right about some things.
At 30 when he has a problem, he asks Dad for advice.

Knowledge, in and of itself is useless.
Knowledge with understanding is imperfect.
Understanding that knowledge and understanding will always be incomplete is a step towards true knowledge.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
364 Posts
Good post. A lot of truth here. I think you and I have a lot in common and see things mostly from a similar standpoint. Here is my humble personal take on some of your points.

Unhappiness comes from subconscious wants. I'd describe unhappiness as a feeling of incompleteness or feeling that you are not whole. This is why we desire, because we want to feel whole, and obviously if we don't currently feel that way, we need something to change in order to get results.
Yes the mind will always feel unfulfilled. Its just the nature of the mind, it will always feel unfulfilled because when the mind is not you. so trying to find fulfillment through it doesn't work, so it does no good to identify with the things that it wants. That is why celebrities are completely unhappy same with millionaires etc. The mind always wants more to strengthen its sense of self. This never really works in the long run though. Because peace comes from deep within yet outside of the habitual conditioned thought patters of the mind and does not come from egoic self gratification (attempt to find peace through your identification with mind.) Its the mind itself, the very nature of it that is the problem.

The self is created in the mind and can't actually exist in the present, so this sounds like a logical idea, but it is extremely difficult to convince the mind you have no self. Plus, that only removes the judgment of self, there are many other judgments we make.
The egoic mind certainly is crippled when you eliminate past and future. However the mind will still comment on the present situation and try to create problems. The problem with convincing your mind that you have no self is that it would be the mind trying to convince itself that you have no mind. So it would just be more mind activity more thought. So it doesn't really work. Sort of like trying to solve a problem created by the mind like getting stuck in repetitive negative thought loops by trying to think your way out of them and resisting them. Just more mind activity. Like looking for a flamethrower to put out a raging fire. Awareness / presence / being must witness or see through the mind's conditioning to realize you are not your mind, you are the awareness before, underneath and after the thoughts. The one who watches the thoughts. Mind is just repetitive conditioning. The mind can't solve the problem because it is the mind that is the problem.

There are natural understandings. These understandings are with us from birth for survival purposes, I guess. The number one natural understanding I can think of: pain and discomfort are bad, pleasure and comfort are good.

But why are these understandings unjustified?

Because we don't know why we have these understandings. Actually, it's as simple as the fact that we cannot justify them.

Why is pain bad? Because it feels bad. Why is it bad to feel bad? ...Uh, I don't know.
I'll further ad that while pain can certainly be unpleasant most of the real suffering comes from the minds labeling the fear as 'bad' and trying to escape from it. Trying to resist it, trying to escape it mentally, and trying to project into the future where the pain will no longer be there. Pain is as it is. Surrender to it. Say yes to it! What good does resisting what is do? It is completely futile to fight against what you can't control. If you go to war against what is you will always lose. If you surrender to it there will be space around the pain and no thoughts which trigger even more pain and resistance.

Why is it good to be popular? Because it means people like you. Why is it good for people to like you? Because it makes me feel good. Why is it good to feel good? Because I like it. Why do you like it? I don't ****ing know.
Yep and once you become popular and fulfill that egoic need then your mind will just create new problems. The mind's problem creating structure will still be there. Just the content will change. The nature of the mind. Look at celebrities to see that this is true. All the drug abuse / depression / suicides etc.

We don't actually know anything. Which brings me to this example:

To be truly happy, I believe we have to remove these false understandings. We have to admit to ourselves, and realize, that we know nothing. In fact, I believe there is only one thing we are capable of understanding, and that is that we are incapable of understanding anything else. We can know nothing except that we know nothing.

I don't know exactly how to remove unhappiness, but the goal is to:
1. Realize that our understandings are false.
2. Accept that our understandings are false.
Yep, Byron Katie has a real good technique dealing with your beliefs / thoughts and seeing through them called 'The Work'.
 

·
HaloOfDarkness
Joined
·
608 Posts
I don't know about anybody not knowing anything and I certainly don't know the bit about judgement but I believe that in life, you will struggle to find yourself. When you finally figure out what you truly want in life, having that piece of knowledge will pretty much inspire you to go after it. If you really really want something, you will do anything to get it. I'm still soul searching, I'm not unhappy because I know there are things in life that you can never take for granted and the things that we think we want never really make us happy in the end.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
619 Posts
Wow, very insightful. I am similar in my "ideologies" or beliefs; Buddist in many ways but not completely. You are absolutely right about unhappiness coming from unfufilment. As soon as we get what we want, we want something else. Like someone who wants the latest iPod (or whatever), finally gets it, but is unhappy when a newer model comes out. Or on a deeper level, getting the career/significant other/etc that you always wanted, and then finding out XYZ is not all it's cracked up to be.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
716 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I don't mean we don't know anything as in nothing is true, I just mean the way we see things, our understandings of the world, we can't back a single one of them up.

What is the real difference between a young child and an adult. An adult has learned a lot more, but learned what, exactly?
 

·
Staying positive
Joined
·
754 Posts
I don't mean we don't know anything as in nothing is true, I just mean the way we see things, our understandings of the world, we can't back a single one of them up.

What is the real difference between a young child and an adult. An adult has learned a lot more, but learned what, exactly?
Yes this is very insightful. People really can't know anything, they can only have beliefs. For example, think about religion. People will identify themselves with their religion because they believe it to be true. People will call themselves Catholics or Muslims or Hindus etc. just because they believe their religion is utterly correct. They would even fight to their deaths defending their beliefs. Well who is right? No one. It reminds me of creationists who can't accept the fact that the earth isn't 6000 years old. It's all ego. God-forbid if their beliefs are somehow wrong.

I think once people grow up, they start to identify with their beliefs. Children want to eat from the tree of knowledge and all they develop is an ego.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
320 Posts
Let me see if I understand what you're getting at. You're claiming that we are unhappy because we are caught up in desiring things that we unthinkingly judge as good. Our values are largely arbitrary and that once we realize that many things we care about -- becoming rich, popularity, etc. -- aren't actually worthwhile goals, we can free ourselves from these empty goals?

If that's what you're claiming then I totally agree. We must question what we've taken for granted as true. We can't just unthinkingly accept our society's values.

As for your claim about the limits of our knowledge -- I think that there are just some brute facts about the world that it doesn't make any sense to ask "why?" about. For example -- your example: why does pleasure feel good? is just a bad question. What sort of answer would satisfy that question aside from "pleasure feels good because that's what the sensation of pleasure was evolved to do" -- it's a circular definition, but that's the best we can do about brute facts (and we really have no need to -- nor is anything solved by -- answering such questions).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
716 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Hey.. I didn't think this thread would come back.

It was why is pleasure good. Not why does it feel good.

We can't answer why feeling good is good. We don't actually know what good is. In fact, everyone has their own opinion of 'good', because that's what it is, an opinion.

I was just about to make a new post that is more up to date on my ideas.

EDIT: Just so it makes more sense.

Why is feeling good a good thing? If something feels good, we think it's good. 50 years later if we look back on it we don't care if it felt good or bad, it's just a memory. And when we die it definitely won't matter.

When you consider that the moment, the present, is actually an infinitely small amount of time, like the edge of a hypothetically perfect blade, then it is more clear how meaningless anything that happens is.

The only thing that I'd consider to have any meaning (because if I didn't think anything mattered at all I wouldn't even be posting this) is that we experience these moments as they pass by. I mean, it doesn't actually matter, but we're here, so we might as well experience life instead of letting it slide by as we trap ourselves in our head.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
320 Posts
Hey.. I didn't think this thread would come back.

It was why is pleasure good. Not why does it feel good.

We can't answer why feeling good is good. We don't actually know what good is. In fact, everyone has their own opinion of 'good', because that's what it is, an opinion.
Well, when we judge that something is good we make a value judgment about it. You seem to be denying that there is any basis for making value judgments. That is, you seem to be advocating some sort of moral relativism.

I was just about to make a new post that is more up to date on my ideas.

EDIT: Just so it makes more sense.

Why is feeling good a good thing? If something feels good, we think it's good. 50 years later if we look back on it we don't care if it felt good or bad, it's just a memory. And when we die it definitely won't matter.
Feeling good just is a good thing. Questioning it is like asking why is the sky blue -- it's a bad question that gets us nowhere even if we get an answer.

When you consider that the moment, the present, is actually an infinitely small amount of time, like the edge of a hypothetically perfect blade, then it is more clear how meaningless anything that happens is.
Two things: just because the "present" is short, it doesn't follow that it's meaningless. The duration of an event doesn't determine its "meaning" (or value). Moreover, "meaningfulness" is a vague concept.

The only thing that I'd consider to have any meaning (because if I didn't think anything mattered at all I wouldn't even be posting this) is that we experience these moments as they pass by. I mean, it doesn't actually matter, but we're here, so we might as well experience life instead of letting it slide by as we trap ourselves in our head.
So, which is it -- the sequence of moments is meaningful but it also "doesn't actually matter"?

Yes, we're all going to die. Nevertheless, while we're living, our lives can be meaningful -- we create various goals for ourselves, we benefit others, etc. I doubt that values are as subjective as you think they are. When we look deeper, we find that most people share a similar definition of what is worth pursuing, and it's pretty simple. Namely, establishing close relationships with others that are mutually fulfilling, helping others, enjoying leisure, having fulfilling work that allows you to earn a living. These are all good.

Why are they good? Someone like JS Mill would say that they're good because they maximize pleasure for everyone involved -- they bring about the greatest happiness for the greatest number. Why is that good? Why is pleasure good? It just is.

Everyone just wants to be happy.

EDIT: I'm frustrated because I don't know what the **** I'm writing about for this stupid essay due in a couple of days. The above rant is just me exercising my critical thinking skills and procrastinating. Though my tone may sound final, I'm only echoing Emerson's sentiment -- say what you think now with confidence... you can always change your mind later... the point is to just speak forcefully... because really... who the hell wants to listen to some dude who is unsure of himself... be a f*cking man and stand for something (even if that something may change in the future). (After the first ellipsis is my opinion, not Emerson's)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
492 Posts
We know a lot!!!
But seriously, the issue is like A was tlkin about, no one wants to be wrong. Just being comfortable with being wrong makes you wiser, and eventually more intelligent, you're more likely to learn new things. And more likely to change for the better, life is all about growth and self improvement, that is impossible if your never wrong.
psh, my post is wrong!
see I'm better already. =)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
716 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
We can't even define good. Good is a nothing; it's an opinion, that's it.

Good and bad, right and wrong, they didn't exist until we made them up. Things just 'were'.

Now I'm attacking good a lot here, but the point I'm trying to make is to help people feel better emotionally.

We think we are smart enough that we know what's good and what's bad. There's not one concrete reason for anything to be any of those things, and so we are wasting our time. I'd say anything that can happen is fine. If something is possible, then why is it bad? If the Universe was created this way, who are we to say that we are smart enough to know what's wrong with it.

I'm not saying it was created by God or anything, but it was created somehow. The fact that there is a physical world is miraculous and to think that it wasn't supposed to be this way isn't giving it enough credit.

Good luck on your essay. I guess you're probably finished now.

EDIT: Physical pain and discomfort isn't bad. Why we think of it so badly is the emotions we go through. If you could control your emotions, you could stand any amount of pain. We naturally associate pain with the deterioration of the physical self and death, and there is a lot of emotion that can arise from that.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top