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A maybe well-known secret to happiness

Discussion in 'H.I. Cantina' started by Gorog, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. Gorog


    Mar 4, 2011
    Did you know that being an altruist is not just morally right, but also healthy for your mentality? That is right, just like endorphins are released when you exercise, altruism releases chemicals in your brain that stimulate whatever part of your brain that makes you happy. The end result is a pervasive good feeling. Even if you claim to be perpetually depressed, like me, I bet you anything that at least a flicker of a smile will cross your face if you give a starving person food, or a thirsty person water, or a person in need of a pen a writing utensil, and they all say thanks. Unless you are the Terminator, that will make you feel good. I am not saying this feeling will last forever, that is a common misconception about happiness. It does NOT last. But it is memorable, and really, what is life other than perceived memory? So, by all means, if you want to be :grumpy:, if you are a suffering soul inside, and take all life's challenges with a grimaced 'okay', then resist all temptation, do not give a homeless girl a doll when you pass her by, do not even look at her, and mope when you feel even worse for not doing so. But if you are like most people, and most intelligent primates, for that matter, and you see that same little forlorn looking girl, give her a dollar or two, and her resounding smile might just make your day.
    For clarification, I am not a therapist, though I realize I sort of sound like one, and that they have that irritating quality of being right when you are wrong almost ALL THE TIME. Nor am I saying that my statement is foolproof. If you have an idea you think is right and mine is wrong by your reckoning, by all means, let the debate begin.
    Anyway, I just thought I would share this little tidbit with the good people of the Cantina. Rock on everyone, and peace out.
  2. Kenniets


    Mar 17, 2011
    I knew there was a reason I felt all warm and fuzzy inside when the local biker gang would get together every year and hand out stuffed animals to kids.

    This is good news for me. It means I'm not a terminator. :cool:
  3. Gorog


    Mar 4, 2011
    I am glad you are not a terminator, too. That would be slightly scary.
  4. BFH44


    Nov 3, 2010
    an altruist is by definition - unselfish - if a person does something "for someone else" so that they can "feel good " - then they are doing it for their own sake not for the other person - it is not Altruism - if it has a selfish motive.

    remove ones self from the picture and do for others simply because you care - not so you can pat yourself on the back and say "what a great guy i am i did something unselfish" -- catch 22

    Altruism - Unselfish concern for the welfare of others; selflessness.

    do good for others and try not to get caught - bragging about how much i help others is narcissistic.

    I have been following a path of spiritual principles that involve being of service a long time now - when i am helping others it does not make me feel good. It is simply how i =live - chronic sever pain along with depression. All the work i do with rescue dogs is often horrifying and depressing very few times does it make me feel good but at least i know that particular animal is no longer suffering and on its way to a better life.

    the same with people i help and my phone rings many times a day and often at 2 or 3 am with people that are dealing with terrible problems - it doesn't make me feel good often it is disturbing because i an feel a lot of what they are going thru.

    Sincerely - Eric
  5. Esav Benyamin

    Esav Benyamin MidniteSuperMod Staff Member Super Mod

    Apr 6, 2000
    Altruism can be studied scientifically. It began when animals helped close relatives, thereby preserving their common genes. This developed into genetic lines that shared support beyond simply preserving each specimen.

    The same principle spread to groups of different animals sharing an environment. Those with better senses of smell or sight or hearing would warn others at the approach of danger. Each capability supported and was supported by the others.

    Humans being able to draw logical conclusions from behavior patterns otherwise encoded in our genes have developed philosophical/religious or social systems that encourage altruism even beyond the common herd. This kind of help for those who could never help us (or our offspring) in return has been described as "Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame" (Alexander Pope).

    Whether you personally feel good about yourself or not, the recipient of any kindness will be better off for it. Go right ahead and encourage your own generosity by enjoying it.
  6. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
    "When you help others, you help yourself" rings true on several levels, be it altruism, reciprocal altruism, or recognition of the blurred distinction between "self" and "other".

  7. mohd


    Jun 3, 1999
    Altruism is just a mere word :p
    Adopt it in your actual life and many will benefit from it :thumbup:

    Lots of thanks for sharing it :)

  8. Gorog


    Mar 4, 2011
    Forgive me, I might have given off the impression that what I stated is infallibly right, and that I am an expert in this field. I freely admit I am neither infallibly right, nor an expert in any field. Thanks for the exception and correction Eric, I am sorry that it does not make you feel better. You are almost certainly not a terminator, though you certainly have enough muscle to rival Arnold, if your avatar is indeed a picture of you. So, yeah, there really is not much more that can be said on this thread, (by me at least), though people are more than welcome to debate the finer points of altruism here. Peace out, everyone.
  9. BFH44


    Nov 3, 2010
    When I posted earlier I was hurting physically and had been running hectic - did an early - mid morning dog transport then came home and was trying to get stuff done around the house.

    All the while fielding phone calls from a couple people that were have hard times. - i had been on the phone for an hour or so with a lady whose son is probably going to prison and she is worried sick and another lady whose son stole her credit card and went out on a crack smoking spree.

    So when i was typing the earlier post my focus was off

    i didn't mean to deride or criticize what you were saying in the unoriginal post

    - i meant to say -

    - While dealing with my own problems, such as chronic sever pain, arthritis, nerve damage etc etc. I still do whatever i can, whenever I can, for those around me at the cost of my own time and often peace of mind. That is not to say that I am some noble bla bla bla just fact – I originally started trying to live an altruistic life out of shame and guilt – in the previous years I had hurt a quite a few people and had spent more than a few different times in jail.

    I was raised in a physically and mentally violent environment and was in the streets at 13 – and was not a good person.

    At 26 years of age - Seeking to become a better person I met some older men who taught me that I had to change from being a taker and become a giver. Not an easy task. After a while it just became a part of who I am.
    They used to say "do something nice and dont get caught"

    But I feel compelled to say that in that process. Through reading about and practicing different ways of living; my attitude changed and instead of feeling shame remorse and viewing myself as worthless and mean. I began to have some self respect.

    If I had done these things out of a desire to feel good I probably would have been let down. But if it comes as a byproduct that is fine.

    I have been with a mother and another time a sister taking them downtown to identify the body of their son and brother -- was i there for them; yes - did it feel good no.

    My life there were times I did not always leave situations feeling “good” even though I had done my best to help.

    I will give you an example;

    A good friend of mine as close as any sister would be – kind of like the sister I never had, she had been through a lot in life (like some of us do )

    She had been off drugs a couple years but was dealing with some very unpleasant aspects of life. I spent many hour of many days talking with her and trying to help her overcome these challenges and fears.

    One day I left her apartment (on the other side of town) and realized I had meant to tell her something so I called and no answer, I left several messages in the next two days – I called her ex-husband who is also a friend.

    When we got there on the third day I could see blood on the floor through the cracks in the blinds and so I smashed the window unlocked the door and she was sitting there face down on the counter dead. She had been dead for three day in a hot upstairs apartment in July with no AC – it was not like on TV.

    She had overdosed on heroin - she was a good person that cared about others but she had demons of her own, as many do.

    I had known her a long time and she would tell you that I am a great man and have helped many people

    Believe me it does not feel good.

    My experience; not my opinion is, help other YES – but if my motive is selfish then I am wrong.

    Sincerely; Eric

    Yes David the picture is me and my dog princess that i drove from Virginia to Mississippi to save when she was just skin stretched over bone and half dead after being rescued from a dog fighting ring. I drove over 800 miles each way to get her and bring her back. Spent a lot of vet bills and love to get her healthy and happy.

    Some people say i am crazy - i tell them "I used to be bad crazy; now i am good crazy”.
  10. Cpl Punishment

    Cpl Punishment

    Jan 28, 2006
    Some people suffer from insanity, the rest of us try to enjoy it. :cool:
  11. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
    More power to you, Eric!
  12. Howard Wallace

    Howard Wallace . Moderator

    Feb 23, 1999
    They sound like wise men.
  13. Gorog


    Mar 4, 2011
    Oh, goodness, you people are funny in an awesome way. More power to you Eric, that is an inspirational story. And what a fine play on words that was, Punishment. Oops, I said I wouldn't post again. Sorry, but I had to break my word just this once. Anyway, you make me feel like less than a man whenever you tell me what you've gone through, Eric. I am sorry about her death, it must have been devastating. Good people have an unfair mortality rate sometimes. Oh man... Well, I'll see you guys around! Bye.
  14. Cpl Punishment

    Cpl Punishment

    Jan 28, 2006
    Post away, dude.

    Don't say that. You've got plenty of your own trials ahead of you. Just listen to how we got through them, and learn where we screwed up, and try not to do the same.

    Well, if you believe in an afterlife, like Heaven, then most people consider that a much nicer place than here. If that's true, the "unfair" mortality rate can be seen as a reward -- they get to go to the nicer place sooner.
  15. Gorog


    Mar 4, 2011
    That is true, Cpl. Punishment. Unfortunately, I have become jaded by religion and theism and do not believe in it. It would make life so much easier if I could just BELIEVE, and think, "oh that silly deity made that guy punch me in the face", or "I believe an evil being made him projectile vomit on my new pair of pants, may he burn in the afterlife." But I cannot do that! I cannot dismiss daily phenomena as God's whim. There is always an explanation, and that is a sad truth to me. To me, there is no life after, there is no heaven, there is no better place than here, because there is virtually nowhere in the universe that has the right conditions for life. This is all there is, to me. And I WISH there was more, but science, logic, and an OD of common sense say 'no way' to the afterlife. But, what I think is actually irrelevant. What you were proposing was whether or not the people who die think of the life after as a reality or a falsehood. Hopefully they do. If theism is a delusion, and I am not saying it is or is not, I have no proof for either, then they either wasted their lives being fearful of a non existent deities wrath, or were protected from the harsh reality of being given a short taste of life before it being taken away from them, by the metaphorical shield religion imposes on the mind. Either way, they are better off, when compared to say, a person like me, shielded from physical suffering only to suffer agonizing pain in the mind. I fear death obsessively, and that is not healthy, to say the least. It would put many people's minds at ease if they could accept, whether it is a figment of someones imagination or not, that a better place is waiting for them in, say, another dimension? I don't know what they think, I can only hope I am wrong, and that there is a wonderful place waiting for us all. Peace. EDIT: I like your picture of a dog, Punishment. I love dogs, they are cool as dry ice.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
  16. Howard Wallace

    Howard Wallace . Moderator

    Feb 23, 1999
    There may be a connection between dogs and altruism. Altruism is often explained by focusing on the survival advantage to particular genes that two individuals might share. There are other possible explanations though.

    There are survival advantages to mutual altruism. Scientific American had an article about bats a few years ago. The bats paired up with buddies and if one die not find food the other would regurgitate food for the hungry partner. I forget the exact calculation and numbers but it went something like this.

    Days a bat can live without food = 2
    Probability a bat will not find food in a day = 1/10

    Probability a single bat will go 2 days without finding food (and die) = 1/10 * 1/10 = 1/100

    Probability 2 buddy-bats will go for 2 days without finding food (and die) = 1/100 * 1/100 = 1/10000

    The calculation above is cartoon-like and assumes some probabilities are independent when probably they are not. It does illustrate the possibility that buddys in general would survive much longer than single bats. There are no "comon genetics" components to this argument. It holds as well across species, as for instance the mutually beneficial partnership between men and dogs.

    Note that people are much less likely to have the same feelings for fish, insects, or other creatures with whom we do not form such relationships. However, as the ability to perceive less obvious mutually beneficial relationships increases, empathy for the included organisims also increases.
  17. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
    Like, how we are all interconnected.
    "Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves." --attributed to Chief Seattle
  18. BFH44


    Nov 3, 2010
    David – be the man you want to be; live by the principles you chose to live by; For me being a man is in the simplest form having integrity – my words match my deeds/actions - being honest, truthful, responsible, caring and kind.

    But every man has to walk his own path and find his own way. Every person is goes through situations that are hard – it is how I handle whatever happens that determines who I am. I can only be penalized for refusing to try to learn and do better

    Everyday every minute I have a choice as to how to live my life. In every situation I have the choice to learn and grow or run and hide. Most men you meet that have been through adversity in life and seem to take it in stride – or handle hard situation with ease will tell you they made plenty of mistakes to get where they are today.

    Every problem brings with it a gift (not always easy to see it) and hindsight is always 20/20 – like Cpl said

  19. Gorog


    Mar 4, 2011
    Very wise, my friends, very wise indeed. I particularly liked that 'hindsight is 20/20' bit, it really hit home with me, as did the beginning of your latest post Eric. We are most likely defined by the choices we make in life, not by what our first impulsive thought is. Because, if we were, I would be a horrible person even my mom would not like. But we are not. And that helps many of us get through the day at its worst, I believe, the fact that no one knows us better than ourselves, and that if someone chose to do nothing rather than choosing to be a killer, I would consider them a good person. I would, however, consider them a great person, or even an extraordinary person, if they chose to help others continuously, without a thought to themselves or their impulsive thoughts. Going through a struggle and prevailing every time is more noble, I believe, than being immune to the struggle altogether. For example, I would think it would be harder to be courageous before your demons, than fearless before them. You know what I mean? I don't think many people are born without fear, but I know many people who have it, and overcome it to metaphorically slay the beast inside. Okay, guys, I've run out of words to say, but rock on, and peace through superior blade collecting. See you all later.
  20. Cpl Punishment

    Cpl Punishment

    Jan 28, 2006
    There are three levels of fear: apprehension, fear, and panic.

    Apprehension is good, it makes you respect the task/battle before you and keeps you on your toes and concentrating on the task at hand.

    Fear creeps in when you add "what ifs" to your apprehension. I don't mean the thinking ahead kind of what ifs, I mean the kind that there's either no way out of, or more commonly some unnamed thing they are afraid of that can't be anticipated or dealt with. Fear is bad because you start concentrating on the what ifs, instead of the task at hand.

    Panic is when your fear grows to the point you can't thing rationally anymore. Panic gets people killed (one reason people are told that when they get lost in the wilderness or such, to sit down, assess the situation, go over what they have with them, and what they know -- to keep them thinking and to keep them from panicking).

    All that to say: The man who goes to battle (literally or metaphorically) with no apprehension is a fool. The man who goes to battle despite his apprehension is courageous.

    There is no courage without apprehension, or even fear being present.

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