Dear Sigmund, what are you trying to say?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by wegs, Apr 28, 2019.

  1. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Are you trying to tell me that pursuing happiness, might very well lead to unhappiness? That my desires will be my undoing? Is happiness basically devoid of misery and suffering, or do we need suffering in order to reach happiness?

    I happen to agree with you, Sigmund, that civilization can be very disappointing, but clinging to cynicism, is it healthy? Did you ever find lasting happiness in your life? Is it even possible?

    I don't know if happiness is what we should pursue, rather peace is what we are seeking. Peace of mind, despite the trials we face. Staying steady during the storms, holding on until the waves pass over us, is perhaps the condition we wish to find. Happiness is fleeting. We can lose it as quickly as we find it. Besides, the definition of happiness differs from person to person, all on our own separate paths. There are some who for example, find happiness in material possessions. Others discover it when they fall in love. Both sets of people could very well be happy in those moments, but what happens when they lose the relationship, or someone steals all of their possessions?

    Where will their happiness come from, then? I know your position is that happiness doesn't come from one, single source. I agree with you, on that point.

    However, I don't believe that the opposite of happiness is misery. Perhaps, it's indifference. Not feeling anything at all, just existing. I'll also add that I'm ''happy'' in my life, but I don't live in a vacuum. Happiness isn't a destination, and some days, it's a tease. Because happiness isn't the sum total of life, it's a part of it. If we feel that our lives only have meaning if we feel sustained elation at all times, then we may find ourselves more miserable, as we will conclude that we have failed. Pursuing happiness isn't the problem. Finding it difficult to accept that life is the sum total of both misery and happiness _ that leads people to great suffering, and depression.


    If I were to send an email to Sigmund Freud, it would be that. Maybe a little more. But, that's the gist.

    What are your thoughts on pursuing happiness? What do you think he'd reply?
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019
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  3. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Dear Wegs, your father must have beat you and you are questioning whether your mother really loved you. Yes, I am a messed up man.

    Sincerely, Sigmund
     
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  5. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    lol!!

    He'd be wrong, but at least he replied.

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  7. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

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    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freud-Jung_Letters#Thematics

    He'd tell you to have lots and lots of sex.
     
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  8. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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  9. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    He was a product of his time, place and culture - like all of us.
    Only, he was a little smarter than some of us and a lot smarter than most of us. He saw past facades - which most of us don't even bother to try. He was genuinely, seriously interested in what's going on in people's heads, whereas most of us don't give a damn. He genuinely, seriously wanted to help them feel better, be freer and happier, where most of us just want other people to do stuff for us.
    He studied the people of his time, place and culture; wrote for his contemporaries. He was talking to them not to us.
    And yet, left an imprint on three or four generations beyond his own that was far bigger than most men leave, and far more positive.
    If I were to send him a letter - hand-written, in cursive script, in ink - it would be on a hand-made greeting card, and it would say
    Danke, dass Sie eine Tür geöffnet haben.
     
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  10. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Personally, I don't think we're all that different from the people ''of his time,'' though. We're all still seekers. Still trying to make sense of life, find our purpose.

    Yes, he did. : )
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019
  11. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    I don't think it's 'the seekers' he was interested in. I think it was the road-kill. The ones in pain.
    It was a period of stultifying conformity and emotional repression for the sake of duty, hierarchy, national pride, Christian virtue - all that cultural baggage that weighs people down when they're trying to be 'good' and to 'fit in'. Those constraints were different in form and texture from modern American constraints or medieval English constraints or 17th century Chinese constraints.
    Yes, there is something universal in being stuffed into boxes: the pain is the same, but the boxes are all different shapes and sizes. He was addressing the particular box that turn-of-the-20th century European middle class people (mostly women - no surprise) were being stuffed into, which doesn't necessarily fit people that came after each world war.
    As with every pioneer, we've built on his insights and adapted the concepts to our own experience. As with every pioneering idea, we've had to deal with the fallout of misconception, misapplication and missionary zeal.
     
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  12. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Good points. I don't disagree with you, just saying that we (humankind) still struggle with the same existential confusion/pain today, in much the same way as his contemporaries. It's not surprising therefore, that we're still discussing his ideas, today.
     
  13. candy Registered Senior Member

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    Sigmund would tell you to ask Jung.
    It is called passing the buck.
     
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  14. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Oh, sure. Probably more of us, and far more openly. But we also have more emotional resources and freedom to use those resources.
    Aside from the snide afterthought, Candy's not far off.

    To the extent that we're familiar with them. Some have fallen by the way as obsolete; others have been developed further - but, yes, there is surely plenty of substance that's still valid. Particularly as regards his image of how a personality is constructed: that remains very useful.
     
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  15. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    I prefer Nietzsche.

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