We live in the era of information, everything you want to know, from making an atomic bomb to LSD or how to give a girl an orgasm in 23 different ways is on the interwebs. Nobody knows what the influence in the long run on the human race will be. New media, like youtube and TED.com started a digital revolution when they put information online which you normally only see in boring text books or class rooms. They put it in short videos that are fun and inspiring to watch. I learned so much from TED that I shared it with all my friends, and now I want to share it with you. TED fits in all prerequisites of the western world, its quick (max 20 min.), fun, easy and usefull. Ofcourse there is one downfall with this, you see, you learn from it but remember just a little bit and most of the time its hard to put the information into your practical daily life.
Thats why I want to start a TED discussion group (Or any other similar webtalks).
We start with the following talk, which I love, if there hasn’t been a new response in the discussion for 24 hours the next person can choose a talk of her/his liking.
The two main points for me are to distinguish the remembering self and the experiencing self and how we see the future as anticipated memories. Memories are based on experience and it seems to me that if you are able to base your memories on true experiences you will make better decisions to make you happy. I think meditation can be a very good tool for this because you actually pay attention to what you are experiencing. "A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts. So he loses touch with reality, and lives in a world of illusion. – Alan Watts "
The other one is the outcome of his, now famous, study of the correlation of yearly income and happiness. This means that its a non sequitur that I should base my future goals on money, because its not money what im after. Its the feeling I can get with spending my money. But this seems really relative and im just as likely to be happy living in a normal house instead of a villa. This also makes you question all the rich activities people do in the world in the name of happiness.
I was at the bookstore today, and there was a Stephen Hawking book, and I forget the details about it, but the one thing that stood out to me was he said that there were an infinite number of universes, all happening at the same time, all correlating to different points in time (past, present, future). And, he said that they dont exist until we perceive them by experiencing them(living, and advancing into the future minute by minute) or remembering them (the past). So this got me thinking, about how things are much different when we remember them as opposed to how they were when they really happened.
An example, is I’ve been working lots with dreams, trying to get lucid dreaming down. So, when I am having a dream, and experiencing it, it is totally different then when I am remembering it in the morning.
So… it kind of boils down to that the experiencing doesnt matter so much as the memory… and that you should be able the alter the memory to make an experience a good one…But thats weird, because I would think that the experience is the important bit.
I’m thinking whether in all those meditation writings, all the ‘be here now’ and Tolle’s power of now, are all just telling me I should live my life through the perspective of this experiencing self, rather than the thinking self. Is this what It’s all about?
But that thought gets me slightly worried. Whenever I try to look back on my life through the perspective of the experiencing self, I get a sort of peace and contentment, but also a dullness. It seems more like contentment, not true happiness. The sort of happiness ones’ ‘simple’ cousin gets by playing in the dirt with a stick. Should I be aspiring to this happiness even thought it doesn’t seem much? Is it like a muscle, you start small but it gets better with time/practice?
@Denisa, I think you might be over-thinking it a bit? Over-thinking always makes me miserable and even more confused haha. What I took from this video is that happiness is about perspective. Patient B was happier about his experience because he focused on the end, the less painful part. Understanding this, we can purposefully choose what to focus on rather than simply sticking with the sensation that ended the experience.
@Martijn, that question almost begets a whole different discussion! To me, happiness is any state of being that feels good. Is that generic enough? It can be so many different things so I think a very general definition is best.
The thinking self can be loosely equated to the ego/personality, the big bad wolf which must be annihilated to achieve lasting happiness. Happiness in my book has many degrees, there’s joy, bliss, nirvana, to name a few. Ultimate happiness would be self-actualization, which I imagine as being grounded and untouchable, consciously choosing every moment based on your highest thought of who you are (Neale Walch, but makes sense to me). Something like ‘La Vita e Bella’, being in the middle of a concentration camp, yet choosing not to be miserable about it. Whether a boulder or a pebble is dropped, it ripples the surface, but calm is soon restored. So on and so forth.
The thinking self is the software and some of the programs are faulty and yes, we’d be doing ourselves a favour if we looked at things from the perspective of the experiencing self. It would be more realistic. Yet realistic also means we’d have to give up on our story, who we think we are and what we’ve been through. People aren’t too happy about giving up on their story, there’s a lot of emotional involvement in it and actual fear, who am I without it?
@Jordan The best book on happiness is the one I read by Matthieu Ricard, its been a while back and I lent it to a friend now, but ill definately will write a happiness article when I have re-read it. Because without a good definition, its kinda useless to even talk about it.
@Denisa You clearly thought alot about this subject and I want to comment on some points you make that seem to contradict eachother. In the movie ‘La vita e bella’ its not that he chooses to not be miserable (how is one to do that?) but rather has total acceptance of the situation. He doesn’t think: Oh god, why me? But rather, how can I be the best I can be right here and now. If you thoroughly understand that you can’t change the situation you’re in the only thing left is total acceptance. And with understanding, here come my second point, I don’t mean just intellectual understanding. You argue that you have to give up the story, I’d say you have to accept the story (we do live in symbiosis with language and abstract thinking in general) but don’t confuse the story for who you really are. Because you’re not only the story, not only the ego, you are much more than that (Even up so far as to say you’re god, atman/brahman, the void, ultimate consciousness). But you’re also your feelings, your intuition, your body (When you eat, when does the food become ‘you’?) You can’t defne yourself with abstract concepts, the word red is not red and thinking about life is not life itself. (The thinking is, but the abstract concepts that you think about aren’t). And as long as you define yourself as ‘this’, then by definition you aren’t ‘that’, and thus you can’t accept life as a whole. And so, the solution of the problem of life is seen in the vanishing of the problem. You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean. And thus, you are a product of evolution, your environment, social background (language etc) and much more. In this light the analogy with the water seems correct.
Maybe look into ACT psychology.
And definately look into Meditation! (And also must watch: http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/filmedia/play/2820/Lunch-with-Bokara—Transformation-and-Mindfulness-with-Dr–Jon-Kabat-Zinn-and-Michael-Murphy )
Next one: Our favorite topic, mushrooms!
The best 18 minutes you’ll spend all day:
“…It is the voice of life which calls us to come and learn.”
What do you think about this clip?
I think it’s all true what Dan speaks. Creativity just needs to be let loose.. :)
That’s why it’s stupid to have one thread to talk about more then one topic.
How to make stress your friend: http://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend.html