Re: Antidepressants: Happiness is only a drug?

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Wed Mar 28 2001 - 00:19:16 MST

"Emlyn" <> writes:

> I guess the >H position would be that
> - we want to be able to control emotions (we are control freaks)

I disagree a bit with the (joking) wording. We are *influence* freaks
rather than control freaks. We don't need to control every single
little subsystem and make it behave as we want in every moment in
time, but if we want to affect it, we should be able to do so. As we
put it at TransVision 98: we don't need total weather control, just
enough influence to make sure it doesn't rain on the picnic.

> - Killing oneself is not a Transhuman ideal, except perhaps if you've lived
> 10K+ years and are getting bored. Keeping people alive through what is
> likely a transitory phase is a Good Thing (tm).

In transhumanism human life is assumed to be worth living.

Although there are some tricky complications here with human autonomy
and integrity when we might want to help someone who for the moment
doesn't want to be helped.

> - Humans are mere chemicals. I'm made of mere chemicals, which in turn are
> just boring old atoms, and those in turn quarks (oh the banality).

        I am nothing and nobody; atoms that have learned to look at
        themselves; dirt that has learned to see the awe and the
        majesty of the universe.
        - Geoffrey A. Landis, Winter Fire

> - Happiness is not the supreme state for extropians, in particular.
> I would expect that (unattainable) fulfillment is. None of the
> extropian principles would require happiness; in many cases, the
> drive required to reach them comes from massive discontent coupled
> with optimism; not happiness. Realising one's dreams could involve
> the full range of "negative" emotions, and potentially end in great
> sadness. Happiness is cows in green pastures, and we like to think
> that we are not they.

I take more of an aristotelian view of happiness. Fulfillment, the
reward after finishing something, is nice, but it is the road there
that produces the real benefits. I think Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi put
it well in _Flow_, suggesting that we feel truly happy and grow as
persons just when we exert ourselves in the right way while reaching
towards our goals. Our drives may differ, but it is easier to achieve
happiness when striving for something positive rather than being
driven by negative drives.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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