Springingtiger's Blog


Anticipating Unhappiness

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I am happy, I am happy now, now is the only time anyone can be happy. Unfortunately we too often allow the past and future to rob our present of all its joy. The way humans work is that they collect data and use it to create generalisations, but also to make predictions. People evaluate the people, things and events of their lives by their similarity to something they know, they overlook the lack of causal connection. Even social scientists,  meteorologists, and economists make their positions for the future based on the resemblance the present has to similar occasions in the past. That similar events in the past have been followed by certain other events does not mean this time will bee the same. Although certain mechanisms are known we can never be sure we know we have all the data.  We think we live in a present determined by the past, in reality each moment has its own unique set of circumstances, no two moments are alike.

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We frequently find ourselves unable to enjoy happy occasions because we cannot believe our happiness can last, we actively look for something to spoil our joy. That our mood changes naturally from one moment to the next does not mean sorrow must inevitably follow joy. However if we were to accept that sorrow inevitably follows joy, which it doesn’t!, we could enjoy this moment confident that sorrow would come without our needing too look for it. In fact our feelings do not arise from our circumstances, but from how we think about them; there are happy slum dwellers and miserable millionaires. The best thing to do with a happy moment is to enjoy it thoroughly, the surest way of ending it is to start thinking about its transience. There is a lot of wisdom in the old saying, “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die”. The only time we can live is now, in this present moment. We none of us know what will happen, but when we allow regret for the past or worry about the future to intrude into our present we rob ourselves of the one moment in which we can be truly alive, now.

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