advertisement

On the human quest for happiness

50 %
50 %
advertisement
Information about On the human quest for happiness
Education

Published on September 4, 2008

Author: YoungJin

Source: authorstream.com

advertisement

The Social Psychology of Post-Modernity : The Social Psychology of Post-Modernity On the human quest for happiness Attac ESU Saarbrücken, August 2008 YJ Choi Fritz Lang, Metropolis (1927) Agenda : Agenda What is happiness? What is alienation? What is human nature? Between Having and Being What is happiness? : What is happiness? Slide 4: Angelo Bronzino, „Allegory of happiness“ (1564) Slide 5: Theodor van Thulden, Allegory on the instability of happiness (1630/40) Summary: What did the paintings show? : Summary: What did the paintings show? Happiness requires a social order, in which… …peace and affluence prevail …the rule of prudence and justice ensures stability …man is no longer at the mercy of chance or fortune …Amor holds a priviliged position Happiness is vain if only considered a matter of riches, status, youth, beauty, play, pleasure,… “Everything is ridiculous, when one thinks of Death” (Thomas Bernhard) What is happiness?Overview : What is happiness?Overview Individual happiness requires Sustainable mental and physical health (wellbeing) Emancipation from alienation Individual happiness means The realization of human nature Existing in a mode of being rather than having => Equanimity, sensibility, awareness, activity, … What is alienation? : What is alienation? Karl Marx about alienationAlienation : Karl Marx about alienationAlienation "[As work ceases to be a part of the worker's nature], he does not fulfill himself in his work but denies himself, has a feeling of misery rather than well-being, does not develop freely his mental and physical energies but is physically exhausted and mentally debased. The worker therefore feels himself at home only during his leisure time, whereas at work he feels homeless.“ (Karl Marx) "A direct consequence of the alienation of man from the product of his labor, from his life activity and from his species life is that man is alienated from other men. […] In general, the statement that man is alienated from his species life means that each man is alienated from others, and that each of the others is likewise alienated from human life.“ (Karl Marx) Erich Fromm: Marx‘s concept of man (1961) Today, alienation is a common way of experiencing lifeAlienation : Today, alienation is a common way of experiencing lifeAlienation Symptoms Conscious alienation Depression (Unhappiness) Latentalienation Repression (Illusion) Crisis Diversion Experience of life in alienation Boredom, passivity, frustration Confusion, disorientation Isolation, loneliness Emptiness, meaninglessness <Work in progress> Determinants of individual personality can be rather specific (unique) or rather general (common)Alienation : Determinants of individual personality can be rather specific (unique) or rather general (common)Alienation Motives, intentions Behavior Individual personality Individ. biological, social, biographical context Social-economic base, superstructure Ideals, values Desires, Tastes Based on Erich Fromm: Beyond the Chains of Illusion (1962) Erich Fromm‘s social character refers to common determinants of individual personalityAlienation : Social Character Erich Fromm‘s social character refers to common determinants of individual personalityAlienation Motives, intentions Behavior Individual personality Unique individual Character Social Character Core character structure shared by a majority of individuals who live in a given cultural environment at a given era Channels the free will of individuals in such a way that they desire to behave as they need to behave for society to keep functioning Parents, teachers, media, friends act as the agents of the social character Individ. biological, social, biographical context Social-economic base, superstructure Ideals, values Desires, Tastes legislation, education, communication, … Individual action Based on Erich Fromm: Beyond the Chains of Illusion (1962) Alienation implies a disalignment or a disconnect of the character with human natureAlienation : Motives, intentions Individual personality Ideals, values Desires, preferences Alienation implies a disalignment or a disconnect of the character with human natureAlienation Social Character Biological, familial, biographical context Social-economic base, superstructure Central to the understanding and overcoming of alienation is the understanding of human nature Based on Erich Fromm: Beyond the Chains of Illusion (1962) Unique individual Character Individual alienation Social alienation Human Nature What is human nature? : What is human nature? Slide 15: Unknown tribe discovered May 2008 in Brazil Slide 16: Unknown tribe discovered May 2008 in Brazil Could there be a greater Otherness? Still, if we adopted a baby from this tribe, we probably wouldn‘t notice any significant differences between the socialized grown-up and other adults. Given that these people are from the same species as we are: What is it that they do have in common with us – despite completely different worldviews and cultures? The self-conscious, rational and sentient beingHuman nature : The self-conscious, rational and sentient beingHuman nature A general faculty to Remember past experiences Be aware of the present Anticipate the future Being born as a member of a species that is biological (sexuality) social (affection) vulnerable and dependent at birth (trust) The potential to develop The capacity to speak and think Reason, reflexivity Sentience, emotionality Conscience, morality A unique personality Subject to the same conditio humana Based on Erich Fromm: The Art of Loving (1956) <Work in progress> The challenge of every human being‘s existenceHuman nature : The challenge of every human being‘s existenceHuman nature What is the conditio humana? A random thrownness into a biologically, historically and socially pre-determined context, amidst a strange nature Chronic limitations to ones’ powers and knowledge The acute possibility of a meaningless (i.e. mortal) existence The feeling of absolute separateness from other human beings Alienation is a manifestation of one’s inability to adequately understand and address the challenge of human existence Overcoming alienation means addressing this challenge adequately Based on Erich Fromm: The Art of Loving (1956); Psychoanalysis and Religion (1946) Existential desires and fears Essential determinants of human happiness <Work in progress> Alienation means becoming aware of certain lacksAlienation : Alienation means becoming aware of certain lacksAlienation Lack of identity / ethical principles Inability to accept the certainty of a humanist identity / conscience e.g. the scientific technocrat Lack of self-determination Inability to experience oneself as an acting agent in the world e.g. the soldier fighting in war Lack of meaning Inability to a meaningful experiencing “in tune” with life and nature e.g. the overly ambitious investment banker Lack of relatedness Inability to relate to the Other / experience empathy e.g. the lonely popstar Boredom, passivity, frustration Symptoms Confusion, disorientation Isolation, loneliness Emptiness, meaninglessness <Work in progress> Approaches to the challenge of human existence Human nature : Approaches to the challenge of human existence Human nature Orgiastic states Conformity Social character Large group Creativity Love (humanism) for oneself (= selfishness) for the Other (= selflessness) Based on Erich Fromm: The Art of Loving (1956) Faith Alienation Equanimity Consequences Approach Being Having Social Character Orientation Between Having and Being : Between Having and Being A way of existing in and viewing the worldBetween Having and Being : A way of existing in and viewing the worldBetween Having and Being Having Being Based on Erich Fromm: To have or to be? (1976), Zwischen Haben und Sein (1993), Beyond the chains of illusion (1962), Den Menschen verstehen (1947) Flower in a crannied wall I pluck you out of the crannies I hold you here, root and all, in my hand, Little flower – but if I could understand What you are, root and all, and all in all, I should know what God and man is. Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) When I look carefully I see the nazuna blooming By the hedge! Basho(1644-1694) Between Having and Being : Having Being Based on Erich Fromm: To have or to be? (1976), Zwischen Haben und Sein (1993), Beyond the chains of illusion (1962), Den Menschen verstehen (1947) Between Having and Being SummaryBetween Having and Being : SummaryBetween Having and Being Rationalism, Naturalism, Positivism, Intersubjectivism Alienation from oneself and the Other Boredom, passivity, frustration Emptiness, meaninglessness Loneliness, isolation Confusion, disorientation “Education” (skills-training aimed at high-performance and material success) Consumerism (wellness, individualization) Empiric research (natural sciences, technology, the disenchantment of nature) Having-related conceptions of time, space, truth, nature, oneself and the Other are propagated by the mainstream media Having Being Early Judeo-Christian Humanism, Buddhism, Existentialism, Marxism “Actual” realization of the human self Interest, initiative, experiencing Fulfillment, meaningfulness Connectedness with nature, humanity Understanding, “wisdom” Cultivation (learning aimed at mental and personal growth) Live experiences (love, nature, the Other) Artistic practice (creativity, agency, self-realization) In order to ensure the satisfaction of existential needs, it may be necessary to integrate in a having-oriented society Dilemma in today’s society Promoted by Historical origin Orientation over-weight leads to <Work in progress> OverviewBetween Having and Being : OverviewBetween Having and Being Having Being We are all somewhere in-between Both orientations are possible and plausible Contemporary society promotes having-oriented social characters Overweight on Having leads to alienation – despite material success or wealth Overweight on Being leads to sustainable equanimity – requires satisfaction of existential needs Both orientations differ through opposite worldviews: Perception of time and the physical world Conception of truth and nature Understanding of oneself Recognition of the Other Buddhist monk Materialistic technocrat You? Based on Erich Fromm: To have or to be? (1976), Zwischen Haben und Sein (1993), Beyond the chains of illusion (1962), Den Menschen verstehen (1947) <Work in progress> i) Perception of time and the physical worldBetween Having and Being : Continuous flow, ever-unfolding change Expanded present which carries past and future Primacy of chaos and complexity All events are an interconnected whole Irrational and spontaneous events Some events may have no reason Belief in arbitrariness of reality Inseparability of mind and matter Subject amidst the objective world (itself an interdependent object - Whitehead) Conception of reality via concrete verbs Recognition of concrete entities’ temporal character Self: flexible process Future self: what I will become / create Love: real-time process or activity Voluntary responsibility inherent in the activity of loving i) Perception of time and the physical worldBetween Having and Being Series of instants/snapshots Illusion of continuity between past to future Primacy of purpose and necessity Causal relationship between specific events Rational and stable order Every event has a reason Belief in “rightfulness” of reality Separateness of mind and matter Subject isolated from the objective world (a lonely observer - Descartes) Conception of reality via abstract nouns Confusion of concrete entities with eternal concepts Self: substance, eternal object Future self: what I continue to “be” Love: timeless object or state Mutual ownership inherent in the ideal of love Physical world Having Time Language Based on Erich Fromm: To have or to be? (1976), Zwischen Haben und Sein (1993), Beyond the chains of illusion (1962), Den Menschen verstehen (1947) Being <Work in progress> ii) Conception of truth and natureBetween Having and Being : Both A and not A Contradictory statements may complement another Tolerance for ambivalence and ambiguity (Lao Tse) Fuzzy - more or less true Aware of ambiguous meanings (subjective truth) Subjective authenticity of self-experience Fundamental difference between subjective and intersubjective description Life & consciousness: astonishing and incomprehensible phenomena Reverence for the inscrutability of nature Man as a rational and irrational being Harmonical relation to nature and the Other Meaningful physical/mental movement Activity means development of thinking and experiencing ii) Conception of truth and natureBetween Having and Being Either A or not-A Contradictory statements necessarily exclude another Insistence on decidedness and clearness (Aristotle) Binary - either true or untrue Presume clear meaning Intersubjective validity of empirical facts Equivalence between subjective experience and intersubjective description Life & consciousness: in principle explainable and taken for granted No reason to hold nature in reverence Man as a predominantly rational being Oppositional relation to nature and the Other Transformation of physical energy Confusion of simple busyness with activity (the myth of Sisyphus) Having Being Relation tonature Truth Activity Based on Erich Fromm: To have or to be? (1976), Zwischen Haben und Sein (1993), Beyond the chains of illusion (1962), Den Menschen verstehen (1947) <Work in progress> iii) Understanding of oneselfBetween Having and Being : A rational and sentient human being Predominantly experiencing the human condition Could have been born anywhere anytime “I define myself by what I am” Awareness of one’s own powers (and weaknesses) Success is subjective and self-determined Experience of the self as the active subject of activity “I’m proud of what I produced” Self-worth by virtue of originality Conscious experiencing Affectionate relation to humanity, aliveness Maintenance of capability to experience Concern about self and others mental/physical health The end of all experiencing Striving for serenity iii) Understanding of oneselfBetween Having and Being An individual with unique talents and traits Predominantly experiencing individual circumstances Could not have been born elsewhere at another time “I define myself by what I have” Attachment to objects and marketable attributes Success is objective and socially recognized Experience of the self as a means for achieving success “I’m proud of my attributes/affiliations” Self-worth by virtue of attributes or affiliation Acquiring (owning) an object Affectionate relation to objects (people, things, ideas) Avoidance of pain or loss Fear of pain or loss of property (truth, love, status) The ultimate loss of all possession Ignorance (taboo) or craving for immortality Having Being Self-image Happinessattained by Death Self-worth Based on Erich Fromm: To have or to be? (1976), Zwischen Haben und Sein (1993), Beyond the chains of illusion (1962), Den Menschen verstehen (1947) <Work in progress> iv) Recognition of the OtherBetween Having and Being : Bounded rationality, moral sense Motivation based on conscience, principle, duty A rational and sentient human being Predominantly experiencing the human condition Could have been born anywhere anytime Originator of action, thought and feeling Identification by virtue of humaneness (essential commonality) Self-love and philanthropy go together Oneself and the Other are always ends in themselves Unconditional duty to help the Other Right: obligation to enable the unfolding of potential Primacy of the duty to help Universal empathy (duty) Concern, recognition of similarity iv) Recognition of the OtherBetween Having and Being Autonomous rationality Motivation based on successful outcome Individual with unique talents and traits Predominantly experiencing individual circumstances Could not have been born elsewhere at another time Possessor of attributes and resources Identification by virtue of similar attributes (essential distinctiveness) Choice between selfishness or selflessness Hedonism or asceticism are a primary end Duty to help conditional on self-interest Right: entitlement to holding property Primacy of the search for truth Universal respect (tolerance) Indifference, acceptance of difference Having Being The Other Relation to the Other Individual ethics Reciprocity Based on Erich Fromm: To have or to be? (1976), Zwischen Haben und Sein (1993), Beyond the chains of illusion (1962), Den Menschen verstehen (1947) <Work in progress> Conclusion : Conclusion Between Having and BeingConclusion : Between Having and BeingConclusion “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (American Declaration of independence, 1776) Since then, many have interpreted the “pursuit of happiness“as “making money” The human pursuit of happiness is actually about achieving a sustainable feeling of aliveness and equanimity rather than the accumulation of wealth Every individual human being is subject to the same conditio humana, confronting him or her with the challenge of human existence in this world Alienation (unhappiness) is a manifestation of one’s inability to understand and address this challenge adequately Alienation is caused by the overweight of a social character orientation focused on “Having” (promoted by consumerism, capitalism and empiricism) Happiness not only means mental and physical wellbeing but also the realization of human nature through a social character orientation of “Being” rather than “Having” Between Having and BeingWhat next? : Between Having and BeingWhat next? One of the prime objectives of Attac is the “humanization” of a “neoliberal” global order, implying also an aspiration to emancipate humankind from alienation Adequate standards of living are a necessary but not a sufficient means to realize this objective Initiative for Educational Reform Educational institutions, state media and NGOs should counterweight the propagation of Having-orientations by promoting an awareness about the possibility of a “Being” mode of existence Being is a matter of education (“Bildung”) and calls in particular for the teaching of subjects such as ethics, social psychology, cultural studies, existentialism and modern psychoanalysis in schools and universities Combination of Basic Income with “Bürgergeld” Unless a general awareness of a being-orientation has been achieved, it will be necessary to provide incentives for voluntary civil, political or entrepreneurial engagement (e.g. “Bürgergeld”)

Add a comment

Related presentations

Related pages

The Human Quest for Happiness :: Catholic News Agency

Or: Why do we do things? Before we can talk about the virtues, and the means of acquiring them, we first need to answer the question "Why does it matter ...
Read more

Understanding Human Happiness and Well Being

Understanding Human Happiness and Well ... Understanding the determinants of human happiness and well-being is important in the quest for ecological ...
Read more

The Quest for Happiness - Theosophy

The Quest for Happiness. Things which men, to judge by their actions, deem the highest good are Riches, ... All of us are in search of happiness.
Read more

Positive Psychology & the Quest to Find Happiness | The ...

Positive Psychology & the Quest to Find Happiness. ... Hundreds of studies have been conducted to better understand the root of human happiness.
Read more

The Human Quest for Meaning: Theories, Research, and ...

The human quest for meaning : theories, research, and applications ... A Psychological Quest for Meaning and Sustainable Happiness ... The Human Quest ...
Read more

Aristotle and Happiness - Pursuit of Happiness

Aristotle was a pioneer of the study of human happiness. ... In order to explain human happiness, Aristotle draws on a view of nature he derived from his ...
Read more

Splendors and Miseries of the Brain: Love, Creativity, and ...

Splendors and Miseries of the Brain: Love, Creativity, and the Quest for Human Happiness: 9781405185578: Medicine & Health Science Books @ Amazon.com
Read more

Science of Happiness - Project Happiness

7 Happiness Habits, backed by science. Although happiness is a timeless and universal human quest, only in recent years has research turned its focus on ...
Read more

Modern Society and the Quest for Human Happiness ...

Modern Society and the Quest for Human Happiness. Read the essay by The Dalai Lama, “Modern Society and the Quest for Human Happiness” Summarize the ...
Read more