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Researchers Crown Buddhist Monk the World's Happiest Man

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the mr.-bluebird-on-my-shoulder dept.

Idle 348

concealment writes in with a story about a man who has been crowned the world's happiest. "Tibetan monk and molecular geneticist Matthieu Ricard is the happiest man in the world according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin. The 66-year-old's brain produces a level of gamma waves — those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory — never before reported in neuroscience. The scans showed that when meditating on compassion, Ricard's brain produces a level of gamma waves — those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory — 'never reported before in the neuroscience literature,' Davidson said. The scans also showed excessive activity in his brain's left pre-frontal cortex compared to its right counterpart, giving him an abnormally large capacity for happiness and a reduced propensity towards negativity, researchers believe."

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Humor (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41839497)

when reading this, my brain produces a level of gamma waves — those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory — never before reported in neuroscience!

Re:Humor (5, Funny)

Genda (560240) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839527)

You need to repeat this twice... its a mantra!

Re:Humor (5, Funny)

Spad (470073) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839619)

That's nothing, when reading this, my brain produces a level of gamma waves — those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory — never before reported in neuroscience!

Re:Humor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41839849)

Somebody mod parent up! When reading this, my brain produces a level of gamma waves — those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory — never before reported in neuroscience!

Re:Humor (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840093)

Can't bring myself to combo break! When reading this, my brain produces a level of gamma waves — those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory — never before reported in neuroscience!

Re:Humor (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41840145)

I am affraid it's gonna be really hard to learn meme...

Re:Humor (5, Funny)

unholy1 (764019) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840237)

Probably because when reading this, your brain isn't producing a level of gamma waves — those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory — never before reported in neuroscience!

Re:Humor (4, Funny)

Geeky (90998) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840285)

The meme should be the "never before reported in neuroscience" bit - added to anything.

Re:Humor (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41839753)

I believe that when people around you start getting cancer.

Re:Humor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41840357)

Conflating gamma radiation with gamma-band neural oscillations is never clever.

Re:Humor (2)

alasdairgf (1602433) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840379)

Conflating gamma radiation and gamma-band neural oscillations is never clever.

CHICAGO 7 !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41839503)

Happy Man !!

Just like Hulk... (4, Interesting)

gagol (583737) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839563)

...but the complete opposite. On a more serious note, this is the kind of story that will make me take a second look into meditation. Cant wait to enjoy massive gamma waves myself!

Re:Just like Hulk... (5, Funny)

a_hanso (1891616) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839981)

Make me happy. You would like me when I'm happy.

Re:Just like Hulk... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41840107)

Cant wait to enjoy massive gamma waves myself!

you forgot to mention that gamma waves are linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory.

Why be happy? (-1, Troll)

backslashdot (95548) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839567)

Nobody should be overly happy, not when there are so many sad things happening in the world. Instead of being happy, why not help those who aren't. Instead of feeling compassion why not make the sacrifice to act on it? If you are happy, you are probably at least a little selfish. Of course what I have said will anger many people, but it's truth. There are many things you can do to help others in your neighborhood, in your state, country, or planet that you aren't doing.

Re:Why be happy? (4, Insightful)

korean.ian (1264578) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839583)

Can one not be happy during the process of helping others?

Re:Why be happy? (0, Offtopic)

backslashdot (95548) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839663)

Well yes but my point is that nobody is at that point. Happiness comes about from satisfaction and being content, why get satisfaction and feel content if you have failed in helping others?

16 Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" 17 "Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments." 18 "Which ones?" the man inquired. Jesus replied, " 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.' " 20 "All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?" 21 Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." 22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

Re:Why be happy? (1)

Whiteox (919863) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839823)

Either you misunderstand the message or you are confusing Asceticism with Happiness.

Re:Why be happy? (1)

Fjandr (66656) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839835)

Nobody? It sounds like the subject of the article is. He is happy, and devotes the product of his work to helping those less fortunate.

Re:Why be happy? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41840121)

> Happiness comes about from satisfaction and being content, why get satisfaction and feel content if you have failed in helping others?

You're starting off on the wrong foot, there. If you accept your first statement, you won't find happiness.

Happiness is its own reward, it's its own before-and-after. There's no prerequisite for it other than consciousness.

Knowledge that shit happens in the world and you can have very little effect on that is part of it - acceptance of your part as a small piece of all reality. Attempting to rationalise what doesn't have prerequisites or conditions will always lead you down a path away from it.

So - be happy. trust. let go of a set of rules someone taught you (through words or actions or whatever) and you'll find that discovering your own happiness without putting caveats on your experience of it ("I must help people a certain amount" to "I must earn so much" or whatever) will make you all the more useful as a help to others.

It comes naturally, effortlessly, and is kinda surprising when it does - and it's oddly inexplicable too. But there it is

(fwiw I used to be like you - unconsciously I thought the same way. Then I noticed how I thought, then I made some changes, and then they accelerated to the point I found happiness and contentment and it never left me. 38 years of hell, followed by four years and counting of bliss - and being just plain happy has a profoundly positive effect on people I come in contact with, and makes me all the more responsive to their needs.)

Re:Why be happy? (1)

azcoyote (1101073) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840363)

You're absolutely right. These days people have come to make happiness its own absolute value (see a post above, which makes this very claim). People think, what good does it do me? And they judge religion and lifestyles entirely upon the chemical, emotional sense of contentment that they get. But blissful ignorance is not really as valuable as real engagement with the world that finds happiness despite suffering, precisely by serving others. This is why Christianity has often taught that there is a "dark night of the soul" where God seems most distant, where we cannot feel that immediate happiness, and we question our relationship altogether--but in these times of suffering God is really closest to our hearts. The true search for happiness needs to face the world's suffering and evil in all of its horror, to look into the eye of the beast, and to make the radical decision to love others. Maybe I can feel happy in my brain if I sit and meditate, but it is worth nothing to me if I don't even try to make a difference in the world.

This is not to criticize the Buddhist monk at all, because I have no idea what he does or does not do in the world. But it is a criticism of the idea that happiness can be scientifically quantified merely on the basis of brain activity. Can we really assume that emotional, chemical happiness is what is sought for when human beings desire true fulfillment? If so, then if we can invent a drug that merely makes us feel happy and waste away, then by all means we should take it. But if we don't want to simply feel happy as the result of a drug, then might not there be some deeper kind of happiness that can be found even in the face of immense suffering and service for others?

Re:Why be happy? (5, Insightful)

a_hanso (1891616) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839997)

Happiness = Perceived Life / Expected Life

Perceived Life = Actual Life x Perception

Therefore, to be happy, either a) improve your life, b) reduce your expectations or c) change your perception. Looks like this guy went for a mix of (b) and (c). At least that's my take on it.

Re:Why be happy? (2)

YttriumOxide (837412) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840239)

Happiness = Perceived Life / Expected Life

Perceived Life = Actual Life x Perception

Therefore, to be happy, either a) improve your life, b) reduce your expectations or c) change your perception. Looks like this guy went for a mix of (b) and (c). At least that's my take on it.

I think you're probably right. It'd be interesting to see if it's possible to get the same results with (a) and (c); which is what I generally strive to do. I think perhaps (b) is significantly easier than (a); but since I enjoy a challenge, I may as well get the most out of that little boost of happiness there than taking the easier path.

Re:Why be happy? (0)

gagol (583737) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839587)

Maybe we can try to cut into much less useful things first, like "PETA Condemns Pokemon For Promoting Animal Abuse". If meditation can help someone have a positive attitude, this alone can help shape the life of less fortunate. Cause happiness have nothing to do with material possessions.

Re:Why be happy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41840207)

Cause happiness have nothing to do with material possessions.

Bullshit.

Try living without clothes, food, and a place to sleep - all of which are material possessions. See just how happy you are.

Re:Why be happy? (3, Informative)

alasdairgf (1602433) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840399)

The psychological research on this is pretty clear (sorry no refs to hand). Below a threshold of income, happiness & material wealth are pretty tightly correlated. Above that threshold, however, the correlation drops rapidly to zero. What that threshold is is open to question - I believe some posit that the threshold is at subsistence level, others maintain its higher, perhaps higher even than median income levels. And of course, Matthieu Ricard, while he is provided with clothing & food, as a monk probably has no income or possessions (other than, traditionally, robes, begging bowls & a few ritual items).

Re:Why be happy? (4, Insightful)

YttriumOxide (837412) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839589)

Nobody should be overly happy, not when there are so many sad things happening in the world. Instead of being happy, why not help those who aren't. Instead of feeling compassion why not make the sacrifice to act on it? If you are happy, you are probably at least a little selfish. Of course what I have said will anger many people, but it's truth. There are many things you can do to help others in your neighborhood, in your state, country, or planet that you aren't doing.

But the (horribly selfish, but nevertheless realistic) question is "why should I?"

I'm a nice guy in general. People seem to like me. But, I don't do it for the sake of it - I do it because being a nice guy is the best way to get those around me to be nice back, which makes me happy.

I contest that every human being is either inherently ENTIRELY selfish, or have something wrong with them (i.e. insanity). Even those ultra-religious types that beat themselves violently in repentance for sins are doing it on the promise of eternal happiness in heaven. If they truly believed that there was no afterlife, or that they'd suffer for all eternity; they wouldn't do it.

I've yet to see a convincing argument otherwise, including from the "I help others selflessly" crowd - they do it because the act of helping others makes them happy. If helping others made them miserable, they'd stop.

Re:Why be happy? (1)

neyla (2455118) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839621)

Most people prefer being surrounded by happy people instead of being surrounded by suffering unhappy people. Thus working to create more happiness in your surroundings is entirely rational even for a perfectly selfish person.

Re:Why be happy? (2)

YttriumOxide (837412) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839669)

Most people prefer being surrounded by happy people instead of being surrounded by suffering unhappy people. Thus working to create more happiness in your surroundings is entirely rational even for a perfectly selfish person.

Absolutely, and that's essentially my reasoning for "being a nice guy" as stated. It's also one of the reasons I'm more "left" leaning politically - I want society to take care of the lesser fortunate people so I don't have to deal with as much poverty (and associated crime) in my surroundings.

However, I was arguing against the "don't be happy, because you're not helping people" angle that the OP seemed to be going for. To me, that's senseless.

Re:Why be happy? (4, Insightful)

backslashdot (95548) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839729)

Helping others can in fact make you feel miserable and often does. For example try helping refugees who have been raped and been through hell. Trust me you will feel miserable. Or go to a camp where there are thousands of people and you can hardly make a difference. You will feel like shit. Yet people do it. Even atheists do it.

You are assuming that people are motivated by the same things as you. There are many serial killers by the way, who believe in God and "know" they are going to suffer in hell, but they still keep their behavior .. maybe it's a selfishness against their future self. But anyway I know for a fact there are people who believe they are going to hell but don't care.

Re:Why be happy? (1)

YttriumOxide (837412) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839821)

Helping others can in fact make you feel miserable and often does. For example try helping refugees who have been raped and been through hell. Trust me you will feel miserable. Or go to a camp where there are thousands of people and you can hardly make a difference. You will feel like shit. Yet people do it. Even atheists do it.

I disagree that the (majority of) people doing such things feel "completely" bad about it if they continue doing it. They may feel bad for the people and even cry themselves to sleep every night; become depressed; or otherwise be miserable - but then they either stop doing it (i.e. they realised it doesn't make them happy) or continue doing it (because they also get positive feelings from helping; OR are batshit insane (as I already mentioned as an option))

For the "insane" ones, I really simply mean to say that I don't see how their behaviour can be reconciled as rational in any way whatsoever. I'm just not dressing it up in nice words.

You are assuming that people are motivated by the same things as you.

In a way, yes. I'm assuming that people are motivated to "feel good" - a very large part of which is "being happy". I'd argue that "feeling good" exists purely because without it, we wouldn't have motivation to do stuff. It's the trait that has allowed us, as a species, to not have died out before we really even began. In simpler creatures (insects, simple fish, coral, etc) I doubt there's enough consciousness to have a concept of happiness, so they're "motivated to do stuff" purely by instinct. We, along with most other larger creatures, have emotion and feelings as a layer on top of that and use them to justify our actions (humans probably more so than most other animals due to our reliance on our brains as our differentiator). Therefore "feeling good" / "being happy" is the only logical motivator of any kind. We can justify doing things that make us temporarily unhappy only by looking forward to more happiness in the future.

I could of course be wrong - but this is how I reason it and see it. I'm open to people trying to convince me otherwise, but it'll take a pretty strong argument I think.

There are many serial killers by the way, who believe in God and "know" they are going to suffer in hell, but they still keep their behavior .. maybe it's a selfishness against their future self. But anyway I know for a fact there are people who believe they are going to hell but don't care.

In most cases, I'm pretty certain these fall in to the "insane" grouping if they really do believe what they're doing is 100% wrong in every way shape and form. In my understanding, most serial killers believe they're doing the "right" thing in some way (even those who realise they're doing wrong justify it with some kind of belief that it has a long-term or more overreaching "right").

Re:Why be happy? (1)

backslashdot (95548) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840183)

I will address the serial killer angle since that is easier to expand .. no they are not insane. They know what they are doing is wrong, they even believe there will be consequences .. they just don't care. Its not just serial killers/child molesters etc. by the way, plenty of common criminals think that way too. I'd venture to guess up to 10% of violent criminals or even drug addicts think this way.

Like a lot of people who smoke cigarettes knowing they might get cancer ... or the people who like the thrill of exposing themselves to HIV (google bug chasers) they don't care about the consequence they only care about the immediate benefit. Let me stress that, it's not that they think they will escape the consequence .. they know the consequence is coming but simply don't care. Like I said, maybe they are selfish even towards their "future self" as opposed to someone who is unconcerned/selfless about their current self and cares about their future self (a religious nut who beats himself for example).

So, if we can be clearly intrinsically selfish or selfless towards our own selves, it is surely possible to be intrinsically selfless towards others.

Re:Why be happy? (1)

YttriumOxide (837412) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840227)

First let me say I really don't want to argue - I actually am very interested in what you're trying to say, but I don't quite get it yet.

Like a lot of people who smoke cigarettes knowing they might get cancer ... or the people who like the thrill of exposing themselves to HIV (google bug chasers) they don't care about the consequence they only care about the immediate benefit. Let me stress that, it's not that they think they will escape the consequence .. they know the consequence is coming but simply don't care.

I'm a smoker, who quit and re-started several times - including restarting just yesterday after 5 weeks without.

I also know I won't escape the consequences. These things will probably kill me. But that doesn't go against the idea that I'm striving for happiness above all else; and doing it in an entirely selfish way. I enjoy smoking. I love the way it feels; I love the taste; I love the social aspects it brings with my friends. I also hate that it's going to take me away from my family; and I hate that it's got such a hold over me that when I quit I fall in to a deep depression (I started again yesterday because my wife couldn't handle me being that way - not me).

I chose to smoke again, knowing that the consequences are coming, and I DO care, but right now, the pleasure I get from it (and lack of "negative" feelings I had while not smoking) are something I calculated to be worth it. I'll re-evaluate that sometime and hopefully quit again (permanently); but not right now.

Re:Why be happy? (2)

silentcoder (1241496) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840329)

>I disagree that the (majority of) people doing such things feel "completely" bad about it if they continue doing it. They may feel bad for the people and even cry themselves to sleep every night; become depressed; or otherwise be miserable - but then they either stop doing it (i.e. they realised it doesn't make them happy) or continue doing it (because they also get positive feelings from helping; OR are batshit insane (as I already mentioned as an option))

False dichotomy - which excludes the obvious third possibility (the one most of us who do such thing will give): they have a sense of responsibility toward other people.
That is a perfectly reasonable explanation - which lacks any major flaws and is well supported by "lower down" harder science (there is a strong theory that human acts of heroism - including sacrificing of lives to save non-related lives - is a result of what biologists call "overcommitment" - which itself is simply an extension "descendent privileging").

The hard sciences actively SUPPORT the conclusion that many (perhaps most) people have an innate sense of responsibility toward other people (though the degree of that sense varies and it's probably not universal to ALL people) and at least sometimes act in certain ways because they believe they are SUPPOSED to act this way - they feel COMPELLED to do do so. They may explain this compunction through the eyes of religion or morality but it's quite possibly much more base than that- those may well be rationalizations of what is effectively an instinctive drive to TAKE responsibility.

This is common across all social species. Rats adopt the babies of other rat mothers that die - just like we do - but not just childless ones, they add them to their existing litters - thus possibly reducing their own gene's chances of survival to increase those of the species.

Many humans extend this instinct even across the boundaries of species (animal and pet lovers - in their most extreme form you get PETA level thinking which takes this to an insane degree).

So why do people go and help at refugee camps even though it makes them feel absolutely horrible and has ZERO satisfaction to offer in most cases (and no recognition either usually).
Because we are compelled by our very nature as a social being, to take responsibility for the welfare of those in need. It's a defining attribute of all social species and we are decidedly social.

While there are solid and rational reasons for it, it's the the rational of evolution "the species survives better if it's members act this way" - not the rational of "I have personally made a logical choice about this".
You're looking for the rationality in the wrong PLACE. It exists, but you are checking the wrong source. If you look in the right place, it's perfectly obvious - many of those who do this see that rationality, see WHY the evolutionary path works, and sees that as a reinforcement that what their "gutt" tells them is the right thing to do really IS right.

Re:Why be happy? (2)

eulernet (1132389) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840447)

For example try helping refugees who have been raped and been through hell. Trust me you will feel miserable. Or go to a camp where there are thousands of people and you can hardly make a difference. You will feel like shit.

If you feel miserable, it's probably because you expect something, like saving their souls or some other magic thinking.

Helping others is not about helping them materially, but helping them to change their point of view.
When somebody has been raped, the task is not to deny the rape, but stop their feeling of being a victim, or more exactly accept the past and continue their life.
It's a difficult task, because everybody identifies himself with his body, so a physical rape is considered as a rape of the whole being.
When you start to realize that your body is only a small part of you (no, I don't believe in God), rape becomes just an event in your life.

Some recent techniques, like EMDR, work well on PTSD.

Re:Why be happy? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41840013)

Nobody should be overly happy, not when there are so many sad things happening in the world. Instead of being happy, why not help those who aren't. Instead of feeling compassion why not make the sacrifice to act on it? If you are happy, you are probably at least a little selfish. Of course what I have said will anger many people, but it's truth. There are many things you can do to help others in your neighborhood, in your state, country, or planet that you aren't doing.

But the (horribly selfish, but nevertheless realistic) question is "why should I?"

I'm a nice guy in general. People seem to like me. But, I don't do it for the sake of it - I do it because being a nice guy is the best way to get those around me to be nice back, which makes me happy.

I contest that every human being is either inherently ENTIRELY selfish, or have something wrong with them (i.e. insanity). Even those ultra-religious types that beat themselves violently in repentance for sins are doing it on the promise of eternal happiness in heaven. If they truly believed that there was no afterlife, or that they'd suffer for all eternity; they wouldn't do it.

I've yet to see a convincing argument otherwise, including from the "I help others selflessly" crowd - they do it because the act of helping others makes them happy. If helping others made them miserable, they'd stop.

Bacterial colonies, when exposed to antibiotics, will occasionally develop an outer layer of dead cells that sacrifice themselves for the good of the colony. When they die, they share dna with inner cells which develop a tolerance. Essentially, they give up their genetic lineage for the benefit of the group. If they didn't, the whole would be eradicated.

Some humans are inherently selfish. It could be argued that most are, but there isn't too much evidence one way or another that I'm familiar with. But some humans are self-sacrificing, because they recognize that it is better that some people do well and they don't, rather than everyone suffering. It doesn't make a lot of sense at an individual level, but when you look at the big picture, sometimes such sacrifices are necessary. We celebrate the idea in our culture. It is one of the things that defines heroes and saints.

The fact that you think that a person who would give up their life to protect yours is being selfish or insane makes you an asshole. But at least your genes would have a chance to continue.

Re:Why be happy? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41840083)

I contest that every human being is either inherently ENTIRELY selfish, or have something wrong with them (i.e. insanity).

It's actually the people who are really ENTIRELY selfish that are insane. Humans have evolved as social animals and many behaviors that benefit the groups you live in / identify with will be rewarded by the brain in exactly the same manner as selfish behavior is.

Re:Why be happy? (1)

YttriumOxide (837412) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840163)

It's actually the people who are really ENTIRELY selfish that are insane. Humans have evolved as social animals and many behaviors that benefit the groups you live in / identify with will be rewarded by the brain in exactly the same manner as selfish behavior is.

Do you have any evidence for this? Searching around, I found a few hits that tend to point in this direction, but nothing definitive.

I think it's entirely possible to explain altruism and other positive social behaviour through selfishness. As I said in my post above; I'm a nice guy - I'm just not under the illusion that I'm not getting anything out of it. And the moment society stops rewarding me for being nice is the moment I stop being nice (I don't expect that moment to ever come to pass, simply because it'd require that every other human being all of a sudden stops acting human - it's natural to reward niceness (for the exact same reason - reciprocation)).

So, I don't doubt that the reward pathways in the brain get lit up like christmas trees through altruism, but I do doubt that the act itself is the underlying cause, but rather the (learned, and perhaps subconscious) realisation that helping the group also helps yourself. If a person were raised where EVERY altruistic act they performed or saw had ONLY negative effects, I would expect the reward pathways to remain dim on future acts (although getting such a person to actually do so might be tricky)

Re:Why be happy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41840409)

Do you have any evidence for this? Searching around, I found a few hits that tend to point in this direction, but nothing definitive.

There are some game experiments where people will punish other players even if they thereby harm their own self interest (e.g. player one is first to take as much as he wants from a pool of money, player two can take the rest (which is always better than nothing) or say that neither player gets anything). I've also heard an interview with a researcher who said he can see the brains joy centers getting active when people take choices that conform with their group.

but I do doubt that the act itself is the underlying cause, but rather the (learned, and perhaps subconscious) realisation that helping the group also helps yourself.

I highly doubt this. There would be a lot of learning, arguing and planning involved before you can even start to form groups. You can't expect such sophisticated high-level thinking to emerge in various individuals at the same time, all that in a rough environment where people struggle to survive. Other groups to whom this comes natural would be at an advantage.

Also, you see similar kinds of altruism in apes and other animals. I don't believe they form groups because of their higher level thinking skills telling them it is in their best interest.

Re:Why be happy? (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840127)

Well, actually, every human being that is inherently entirely selfish is utterly insane because people, as social creatures, are normally hardwired for being selfless at least to a point.

What you write is basically reiterating an old joke about a driver who listens to the radio announce: "attention, there is a wrong way driver on the highway" and mutters: "a wrong way driver? more like hundreds of them".

Re:Why be happy? (5, Interesting)

sg_oneill (159032) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840263)

I contest that every human being is either inherently ENTIRELY selfish, or have something wrong with them (i.e. insanity). Even those ultra-religious types that beat themselves violently in repentance for sins are doing it on the promise of eternal happiness in heaven. If they truly believed that there was no afterlife, or that they'd suffer for all eternity; they wouldn't do it.

This is the sort of libertarian nonsense that leads philosophers and psychologists to utterly detest randoids.

The problem with egotism, is it rests almost entirely on tautology. When almost any action can be "explained" by a circular reference to "because its in my self interest" (Why? Because I want to? Why do I want to? Because its in my self interest, ad nauseum) its a theory with no predictive powers, and frankly it runs completely at odds with everything we know about psychology and neuro-biology.

We know we have other drives other than self interest, and they are not underwritten by "self interest" either, just biology and if you explain biology by motive, you end up with mystical reification of processes. Just because we have evolved in our reproductive interests that is not the same as the claim of *intentions*. A mother throwing herself in front of a car to save her child might be acting in her species self interest, but she's not under any circumstances acting INTENTIONALLY in her OWN percieved self interest .

We have extensive networks of mirror neurons that give us the ability to empathise with others.

We have deeply wired structures in our brain that cause us to give up comfort for our children.

We are succeptable to ideological configurations that lead us to place the national interest over our own, and no dying in a kamikase attack in no way advances our personal wellbeing, because our brain design (for want of a better word) allows us to decide that the interest of the nation is more important to our personal interest.

And no, claiming that this is "irrational" doesn't help us here, because if rationality can only be defined (by the egotist creed) as self interested behavior, and self interested behavior is that, according to the randian, which is rational (by the same creed) then we are back into tautology territory again.

I could go on.

So we are stuck with a situation of a thesis about human behavior that can't be justified philosophically without committing fundamental logical errors. We can't justify it psychologically without engaging in fundamental ignorance of over a century of psychological research. We can't justify it scientifically because the evidence directly contradicts the thesis.

And to be honest, the hardest task, is to justify it politically because it seems to demand behaviors that go against everything we know about the proper running of a civil society.

Why do people persist in believing such hogwash? Its mystical solipsist randian nonsense.

Re:Why be happy? (1)

YttriumOxide (837412) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840465)

This is the sort of libertarian nonsense that leads philosophers and psychologists to utterly detest randoids.

I find it interesting how often you use the words "randian" and "randroid" in your reply. I, for reference, think that most Libertarians are far too anarchistic for my tastes. I'm more or less liberal leaning, although against government interference in my personal affairs (tightly defined: the moment it starts impacting others, it's no longer my personal affairs and I do think the society should have a say)

A mother throwing herself in front of a car to save her child might be acting in her species self interest, but she's not under any circumstances acting INTENTIONALLY in her OWN percieved self interest .

But here you're twisting what I was saying.

I believe the mother IS acting in her own interest - completely selfishly. She derives happiness from the safety and wellbeing of her child. She knows she'd be devastated if the child were killed. If SHE dies, she dies with the knowledge she's saved the kid; and since there'll be no more "happiness" or "sadness" (assuming no belief in an afterlife); it was a net positive for her in the end. Even if we assume an afterlife, she's probably going to heaven for doing that (depending on one's exact beliefs) and so it's still all good anyway.

We have extensive networks of mirror neurons that give us the ability to empathise with others.

We have deeply wired structures in our brain that cause us to give up comfort for our children.

I don't dispute any of that. However I don't see how it negates what I'm saying...

We can't justify it psychologically without engaging in fundamental ignorance of over a century of psychological research. We can't justify it scientifically because the evidence directly contradicts the thesis.

While it may not be a deliberate strawman, that's a strawman argument nevertheless. You're arguing against something I never said.

Ayn Rand's floppy Logic (2)

neoshroom (324937) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840311)

This is a sort of Ayn Rand-ish argument. The problem with this sort of argument is it sort of dissolves the whole concept of selfishness and altruism. Just because being altruistic can have selfish rewards, does not mean altruism does not exist and everything is selfishness.

Yes, the world is a rather selfish place and most people are rather selfish. That doesn't mean they are ENTIRELY selfish. Non-selfish acts do occur. People help others expecting nothing in return and sometimes getting nothing in return as well.

So, because this occurs, people are not entirely selfish.

Secondly, just because you get something in return for being non-selfish at points does not mean you were being secretly selfish. For example, you can give someone a present and get in return a good feeling. The good feeling is selfish, but the giving of the present was altruistic. They don't cancel each other out and leave only selfishness. Both exist.

__

Re:Why be happy? (1)

eulernet (1132389) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840403)

I contest that every human being is either inherently ENTIRELY selfish

You are wrong, every human is inherently entirely selfish. For example, if you have children, you probably think that you are not selfish, but WHY did you want to have children ?

I've yet to see a convincing argument otherwise, including from the "I help others selflessly" crowd - they do it because the act of helping others makes them happy. If helping others made them miserable, they'd stop.

If you help other to make yourself happy, you are selfish.
In fact, as long as you expect something from your actions, you are selfish.
The correct way is to practice disinterested action, and of course, you don't have to force yourself to help everybody, just people that need your help (and money is not the solution !).

The best text I read about selfless action is the description about Karma Yoga: http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/hby/hby07.htm [sacred-texts.com]

Re:Why be happy? (1)

iamwahoo2 (594922) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840455)

People are not motivated entirely by self interest. People do not reason through every decision and categorize things as things that will make them happy or not happy. A lot is going on in the subconscious mind that we are not even aware of and the primary function is not to increase happiness but to increase the likelihood of survival and procreation.

Re:Why be happy? (1)

Kyusaku Natsume (1098) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839713)

If you had read TFA:

He addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos at the height of the financial crisis in 2009 to tell gathered heads of state and business leaders it was time to give up greed in favor of "enlightened altruism."
His other works include "Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill" and several collections of photographs of the landscape, people and spiritual masters of the Himalayas.
Ricard donates all proceeds of his books to 110 humanitarian projects which have built schools for 21,000 children and provide healthcare for 100,000 patients a year.

I think this guy has done far, far more than his fair share to bring happiness to others, much more than what 99.99 % of the rest of humankind will ever do.
  The nice thing about Buddhism is that the most philosophical branches are almost devoid of religious thought but full useful guidelines for life. Amazingly, for example, for applying Zen concepts to popular electronics is that at the Zen Rinzai school Steve Jobs is considered a Zen master.

Re:Why be happy? (3, Interesting)

human_err (934003) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839811)

Happiness is the natural result of not identifying with a self that is separate from others. Selfishness is the antithesis of happiness.

In Buddhist terminology, true compassion is the sense of you-are-the-same-as-me that automatically moves one to act alleviate the suffering of another (because it hurts the helper almost the same). It's not the same as pity, which may not be sufficient to motivate helping. Paradoxically (to people unaccustomed to practicing compassion), feeling the suffering of others who are sick, dying, aging, in war, etc. actually increases one's happiness as it diminishes one's feelings of alienation.

Re:Why be happy? (2)

gaiageek (1070870) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840027)

Feeling bad about the sad things happening in the world solves nothing.

"Ricard donates all proceeds of his books to 110 humanitarian projects which have built schools for 21,000 children and provide healthcare for 100,000 patients a year."

Given this (taken from the article), it sounds to me like he certainly sympathizes with those in unfortunate situations and does what he can to help make their lives better.

Re:Why be happy? (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840085)

Actually some time ago I read about a study that said basically that a person feels happier if he was performing (in some respect) better than another person. This form of happiness comes with the UNhappiness of other people. The happiest man alive is doing way better than his peers, while his peers must be feeling very unhappy.

This actually contradicts with the idea of feeling compassion leading to happiness, thus I can only conclude that happiness is something which is totally not understood yet.

Re:Why be happy? (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840151)

The article says that this monk was eschewing intimate relationships and a career. This means that he basically (for a long time) had no peers, which could solve this apparent contradiction.

Re:Why be happy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41840133)

> Nobody should be overly happy, not when there are so many sad things happening in the world.

So the solution to sad things happening is... to not be happy?

How about treat the sadness with happiness. Drag it up. Fix it. Hell yeah be a positive change, for any amount of change you can do.

Re:Why be happy? (5, Insightful)

Tom (822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840197)

Nobody should be overly happy, not when there are so many sad things happening in the world. [...] Of course what I have said will anger many people, but it's truth.

"Angry" doesn't even begin to describe it. I've seen people I loved so down that they tried to kill themselves. Do you want to know what I think about people who deny others happiness? They should be taken out back and shot. Twice. Right now.

You are making a dramatic, serious and inexcusible mistake there. You confuse happiness with apathy. You think that people who are happy have no desire of helping others. You think that compassion means feeling horrible because someone else does. You think that people who are happy don't care about others.

And nothing could be further from the truth. People who are unhappy are the ones who stop caring about others. People who are depressed are more likely to fall into apathy than people who are in joy. People who share the feelings of others too much are less likely to be able to help them and more likely to drag them down even further.

Now you will probably argue that you said "overly", but that's a strawman. Who is going to decide on what level of happiness is fine and which is too much? You?

If everyone would be as happy as this dude, the world would be a much better place. Sure, we'd still have hurricanes, but we'd have a lot less war, poverty and inequality.

Now, please take yourself out back and put you out of your misery. We have way too many people like you on this planet, who begrudge other people's happiness.

Re:Why be happy? (1)

iamwahoo2 (594922) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840393)

He does help others. That is what makes him happy and it is actually what makes a lot of people happy. Humans are wired to release happy brain chemicals and energy release when we help others. That is why they have him meditate on compassion during the measurements. They already know that compassion to other human beings will increase the happiness that he feels.

Re:Why be happy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41840441)

Yeah, blah blah, we all know that pure happiness is never good without the opposite.

They never said the guy was turbo-happy, he can just attain levels higher than most people in terms of happiness.
Things like anger and sadness can drive people towards goals that attain said happiness.
Substituting happiness in doing a goal compared to outright anger in a goal is a much more productive venture, and leads to far better results most times.
And people can feel mixed emotions quite easily, we aren't a one-state emotion machine despite external views.

Rock crowned the most happiest object! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41839575)

I rather be an unhappy Socrates rather then a happy pig.

Ignorance is bliss (0, Troll)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839603)

Yeah, I know some bad programmers like that. They are always happy and positive . . . but never think about error cases . . . so they never code for them. After all, the world is a bright and happy place, isn't it? Why would a user hit the delete key, when the program asked him to press 'y' or 'n' ?

They are also the folks who say that they "tested" their program, when they really mean it ran once, in a simple scenario.

So that's grand that some folks can be happy while surfing their gamma waves. Some other folks can worry and deal with the problems of the real world.

Re:Ignorance is bliss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41839735)

What a bunch of bull shit. You can't even spell.

Re:Ignorance is bliss (1)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839883)

No sure if serious or just trolling ...

So you're suggesting a happy programmer is a bad programmer? That's ...eh... weird.

Re:Ignorance is bliss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41840147)

Actually I thought this was well established.

Re:Ignorance is bliss (5, Insightful)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839895)

It isn't about ignoring the negative in life. It is changing your mind so that you react to life (whether its good or bad) in a healthy, positive way. Does a negative experience send you into a crushing depression, or do you find a way to move on (or even find within that negative experience seeds of motivation to improve your life)?

The article itself hints at the applications - the research focused on emotional balance. We have a growing problem with depression in the US. If we can find a reliable way to alter brain chemistry through meditation - that provides a very compelling alternative to medication. Even if the impact isn't strong enough or reliable enough to use instead of medication - it might improve one's prognosis when used in tandem with medication or traditional therapy. Exciting research with practical use.

Bliss is Bliss (1)

neoshroom (324937) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840219)

Buddhism is not about ignorance. To make a computing analogy, Buddhism is about a method of programing to allow supercomputing while never using more than 0% of the CPU.

RE: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41839615)

They do say, "ignorance is bliss."

Idle? (4, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839635)

This research has practical uses. It's a shame it was filed under "idle".

Understanding how happiness in the human brain works could lead to new ways to treat depression and other mental illnesses. It could also lead to the development of a tasp like device.

Re:Idle? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840075)

They didn't measure happiness, they measured brainwaves.

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Buddhism - the less abhorrent religion. (4, Insightful)

YttriumOxide (837412) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839647)

I find pretty much all religion abhorrent. Buddhism however, while still abhorrent for believing in mystical ideas that go against the simplest (and therefore best) definitions of reality, is definitely less abhorrent than the others. I've seen a lot of quotes from the Dalai Lama that I really appreciate and can agree wholeheartedly with. This is something I can't often say for religious leaders of any other faiths.

What I'd really like to see is some good scientific research put in to this sort of thing, stripping away the associated mysticism and getting right to the core of it. Based on the rather limited article, it appears this might not be too difficult as he may already be keeping the mysticism to a minimum.

Re:Buddhism - the less abhorrent religion. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41839739)

lol. you don't seem to know jack shit about buddhism. fix that.

lol.... mysticism...

Re:Buddhism - the less abhorrent religion. (0)

YttriumOxide (837412) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839845)

lol. you don't seem to know jack shit about buddhism. fix that.

lol.... mysticism...

I fully admit to not knowing as much about it as I'd like; but I am familiar with the basic concepts; including that of "rebirth" and "planes of existence", which I would put in to the concept of mysticism. It tends to be a LOT more grounded than the mysticism in other religions ("heaven" and analogues in the Abrahamic religions for example), but it's mysticism nevertheless.

Re:Buddhism - the less abhorrent religion. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41840015)

Rebirth of what? There is no concept of soul in buddhism. You really know nothing, and try to use weak common sense to explain the unexplainable.

Re:Buddhism - the less abhorrent religion. (0)

YttriumOxide (837412) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840051)

Rebirth of what? There is no concept of soul in buddhism.

While I'm quite aware of that, you apparently are not. The word "Rebirth" has quite a specific (and complex) meaning in Buddhism. You can at least START here [wikipedia.org] .

You really know nothing, and try to use weak common sense to explain the unexplainable.

At no point did I try to "explain the unexplainable" and there's nothing weak about common sense. Given the fact you're an AC and not making much sense, I'll assume you're a troll. Reply with something useful and I'll answer, but reply with more of this and I'll ignore you.

Re:Buddhism - the less abhorrent religion. (2)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840021)

Unlike other religion, Buddhism itself doesn't even have "rebirth" or "planes of existence" as necessary doctrine. The only central beliefs are the four noble truths and the middle eightfold path. The other stuff are cultural things that local versions of Buddhism adopted.

Re:Buddhism - the less abhorrent religion. (2)

YttriumOxide (837412) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840067)

Unlike other religion, Buddhism itself doesn't even have "rebirth" or "planes of existence" as necessary doctrine.

Quite true; if you remove all of the "optional" stuff, what you've got left is a rather nice bit of philosophy, but it's straining it a bit to call it "Buddhism" at that point. While I don't disagree that there are therefore many "flavours" of Buddhism, each with their own unique beliefs, this is true of pretty much any religion. Buddhism just lends itself significantly better to them all getting along (and accepting the others' beliefs/opinions) instead of fighting each other.

So, while it may technically be possible to have "non-mystical Buddhism", it's probably a fair statement to say that the majority of Buddhists subscribe to mystical beliefs as a part of their Buddhism.

Re:Buddhism - the less abhorrent religion. (3, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840181)

The only central beliefs are the four noble truths and the middle eightfold path. The other stuff are cultural things that local versions of Buddhism adopted.

Looks like someone has been reading too much Stephen Batchelor. In over two millennia of Buddhist philosophy, no thinker questioned the doctrine of rebirth and considered it just a "cultural thing". Ditto for the existence of supernatural beings. This changed only when some people in the West essentially made up their own religion by junking everything of Buddhism except what would appear to a modern secular humanist. Good for you, but don't pretend that it's Buddhism, let alone "pure Buddhism" or "central Buddhist belief".

Re:Buddhism - the less abhorrent religion. (3, Insightful)

human_err (934003) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840059)

Your consciousness is reborn every moment. Western science hasn't been able to touch this topic since Descartes left questions of the interaction between mind and body to the church (to avoid Galileo's fate). Many of our most revered mathematicians and natural scientists, e.g. Pythagoras and Newton, were mystics who pondered much more than just planes of existence. Unfortunately, their mystical works have been downplayed to fit the new worldview heralded by the so-called Enlightenment, which in addition to the flourishing of reason and empiricism, was also a strong reaction to the hypocrisies of the church at the time. IMHO, the pendulum swung too far toward materialism to the detriment of the philosophies of consciousness.

Today, we're finally seeing research that attempts to answer the questions Descartes left in his closet. The discoveries of entanglement, fields of potential, the now measurable 10 dimensions, and the event horizons in our microtubules put us face to face with these age old mysteries. Maybe the experiential science of introspective contemplation has something to add to the dialogue. After all, great minds have been at it for thousands of years.

Re:Buddhism - the less abhorrent religion. (2)

YttriumOxide (837412) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840103)

The discoveries of entanglement, fields of potential, the now measurable 10 dimensions, and the event horizons in our microtubules put us face to face with these age old mysteries.

I'm sorry, but no - they don't.

Cutting edge science and mysticism may SEEM very similar to the uneducated mind, but they really have little in common with each other.

Don't get me wrong - as you can probably see from my sig (and post history), I'm an advocate of the use of psychedelic substances for getting to know one's own mind better. I have had experiences that I *could* describe as "feeling the presence of the divine"; "touching God"; "embracing the universe"; or any other number of mystical sounding terms. These experiences have helped shape me as a person and given me insights that I never would have come to with several lifetimes of study. But they are NOT an excuse to start believing in fairy-tales, or attributing mystical causes to events in a universe that by all accounts and measures, appears to behave rationally and according to laws (even if we're still far off from understanding some of those laws).

Oh and on a side note, I'm not sure some of the things you mention as are "discovered" as you think... I'd like some kind of reference for the "now measurable 10 dimensions" if you don't mind...

Re:Buddhism - the less abhorrent religion. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41839847)

My chakra shits all over yours.

Re:Buddhism - the less abhorrent religion. (2, Informative)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840053)

lol. you don't seem to know jack shit about buddhism. fix that.

lol.... mysticism...

There seems to be a lot of that going around ...

A widely accepted definition of Mysticism is:

Mysticism [wikipedia.org] ; from the Greek , mystikos, meaning 'an initiate') is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, or levels of being, or aspects of reality, beyond normal human perception, sometimes including experience of and communion with a supreme being.

Buddhism fits the definition of Mysticism in that it:

  • - deals with aspects of reality "beyond normal human perception"
  • - is based on ancient scripture
  • - is acknowledged as a Relegion [wikipedia.org]
  • - implements much of its teachings and/or achievements through rituals [wikipedia.org]
  • - does not offer scientific proof for any claims presented
  • - expects its practitioners to rely on faith whenever a conflict or unexplained issue arises [wikipedia.org]

While you may personally believe that Buddhism is not in the category of "Mysticism" facts at hand (and the language involved) seem to suggest otherwise

- Jesper

Re:Buddhism - the less abhorrent religion. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41839947)

First, Buddhins is faiths not religion.

Second, there IS solid scientific research on: "Where belive in God(s) comes from?"

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16725-theory-of-mind-could-help-explain-belief-in-god.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=life
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126941.700-born-believers-how-your-brain-creates-god.html?full=true&print=true
http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/culturelab/2009/11/on-the-origin-of-gods.html

on meditation:
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn8317-meditation-builds-up-the-brain.html
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19626255.800-meditation-really-does-reduce-stress.html
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21428682.800-zen-meditators-tap-in-to-subliminal-messages.html

on free will:
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17835-free-will-is-not-an-illusion-after-all.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=life

etc.

Re:Buddhism - the less abhorrent religion. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41840055)

Real wide array of sources you have there.

Re:Buddhism - the less abhorrent religion. (2)

Tom (822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840139)

There's quite a bit of "real" at the core of most religions. The problem is that the part that's real is not what they say it is.

For example, group prayer certainly strengthens a community, communicates shared values etc. And quite a few religious rituals do have psychological effects (not all positive - an exorcism is a pretty good way to give someone mental damage).

That is true for most "old knowledges". Strip away the mysticism from things like Meditation, Tantra or some of the esoteric stuff and you find there is still something there. Tantric sex is pretty cool because it teaches you awareness and presence, for example. Meditation has been scientifically proven to work, even though the golden glowing Buddha you visualise (or whatever) has no existence outside your mind.

There are various forms of Buddhism. What we have in the west is fairly barebone and practical, and thus you are right that the mysticism layer is thin. But back in Tibet, it's a whole different story, there it's not all that different from the christian churches in Europe.

Re:Buddhism - the less abhorrent religion. (2)

Fantom42 (174630) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840331)

What I'd really like to see is some good scientific research put in to this sort of thing, stripping away the associated mysticism and getting right to the core of it. Based on the rather limited article, it appears this might not be too difficult as he may already be keeping the mysticism to a minimum.

That's probably what these neuroscientists were likely doing. There has been a bunch of psychology research into the benefits of mindfulness meditation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindfulness_(psychology) [wikipedia.org]
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110121144007.htm [sciencedaily.com]
http://nccam.nih.gov/research/results/spotlight/012311.htm [nih.gov]

Re:Buddhism - the less abhorrent religion. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41840361)

Simplest definition?

Considering the amount of things we know we don't know about how we got to where/when ever we are I wouldn't say science has the simplest explanation. Ok, it's simper Genesis but then you're looking at the the worst of mystisism.

Note that what I've said is different from saying science looks for and presents the simplest explanation it can find, which I would agree with.

Go and meditate then think about what's simplist ;)

Maybe he just installed E17 (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41839673)

I know when I can get Enlightenment to compile I am very happy, too.

I wish for (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41839681)

1. US Constitution restored
2. Monetary system regulated
3. Obamacare redacted
4. TSA to protect only the 10 x 10 sq mile DC, not the States
5. All the bullshit gun restrictions crap redacted, all records destroyed, open carry, concealed carry is granted by god not man
6. Cannabis Legalized - Fuck pain
7. CAFR's audit
8. a new grass roots health care system--no trix, Grandfathered people stay in the old.
9. Chambers of Commerce and all this TAX crap and ordinances and other bullshit which stops people from creating and doing business redacted.
10. DHS De-activated.
11. The Banksters arrested, and brought to justice
12. Oath Breakers systematically arrested and brought to justice
13. No Nirvana, but no police state, fear based life either, YOU KNOW what you get when you prep.

Re:I wish for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41839949)

5. All the bullshit gun restrictions crap redacted, all records destroyed, open carry, concealed carry is granted by god not man

Move to Somalia, it's just the gun owner's paradise of freedom and liberty you're dreaming of.

Obligatory SMBC (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41839711)

http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=2569 ... :-)

I call BS (-1)

reboot246 (623534) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839909)

Meditation is a poor substitute for sex.

Seriously, though, having children and seeing them grow up and have children of their own is one of life's greatest pleasures. Until you have grandchildren you don't really know what true happiness is. You can fool yourself with money or meditation or work, but you're so clueless it's pathetic.

Life is full of ups and downs, and the hard times make the happy times even better. If it never rains, can you truly appreciate a sunny day?

Re:I call BS (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41840007)

Not everyone enjoys sex the same way, and not everyone wants a family life. Not even if they live to see 100, or have dozens of grandchildren. Happiness is a personal thing.

What they're saying in the article, is that the guy is happier meditating, than someone having sex.

Happiness, is just a bunch of chemicals running at different levels, activated by some software(psychological triggers), society, family they all help program you. That's it.

Life is full of ups and downs, and the hard times make the happy times even better. If it never rains, can you truly appreciate a sunny day?

No thanks, when I see a friend lose a someone in a carcrash, I don't need to experience the same to appreciate what I have.

Wrong person (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41839913)

The monk didn't need this extra crowning, he was happy enough without. The scientists should have shown some moral responsibility, and bestow that crown to someone less happy, for whom it would have made much more difference.

Re:Wrong person (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41839941)

The monk didn't need this extra crowning, he was happy enough without. The scientists should have shown some moral responsibility, and bestow that crown to someone less happy, for whom it would have made much more difference.

Conspiracy theory: Maybe they already did. So who is the truly happiest person? We'll never know.

Cobalt-60 (1)

findoutmoretoday (1475299) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839953)

I already had my Cobalt-60 gamma ray source, now I have to put it close to my left pre-frontal cortex and I will be a happy man.

Redundancy (1)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | about a year and a half ago | (#41839979)

This article was brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department.

Enjoy.

Idiot monks cannot have sex - Darwin Award (-1, Flamebait)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840039)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism_and_sexuality#Celibacy_and_monasticism [wikipedia.org]

"Those who choose to practice Buddhism as ordained monks and nuns, also choose to live in celibacy. Sex is seen as a serious monastic transgression. Within Theravada Buddhism there are four principal transgressions which entail expulsion from the monastic Sangha: sex, theft, murder, and falsely boasting of superhuman perfections, where sex is listed first. Sexual misconduct for monks and nuns includes masturbation. In the case of monasticism, abstaining completely from sex is seen as a necessity in order to reach enlightenment."

So much for dead end 'happiness'. How pathetically ignorant to even consider a monk of all abominations on Earth.

Re:Idiot monks cannot have sex - Darwin Award (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41840287)

Absolutely. God (Song of Solomon) wants intimacy between the sexes; abstinence is an abomination.

Re:Idiot monks cannot have sex - Darwin Award (1)

eulernet (1132389) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840327)

In Christianism too, monks choose to live in celibacy.

And to practice buddhism, you don't need to live as a monk, there are a lot of other ways.

Did you ever hear about Tantra (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tantra) or more exactly Vajrayana (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vajrayana) ?

this is a joke (1)

heracross (2706015) | about a year and a half ago | (#41840247)

like they talked to every man to know who is the happiest

Happier. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41840251)

I am happier.

Seriously.... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41840257)

It's because he's not married :).

He is only happy because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41840335)

Windows 8 was just released.

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