Cambio de Philosophy Numero Dos: The goal is helping humanity

by phil on Friday May 19, 2006 1:37 PM

Previously, I believed that the proper answer to the "what-to-do" question is to increase your levels of happiness. However, first of all, happiology is an attention-reactive problem. Focusing on happiness is not necessarily an effective algorithm for increasing your levels of happiness (it may be even counterproductive). Increasing your levels of happiness involves some activities that involve sublimating your own personal interest in happiness and sacrificing for others. Some philosophers argue that living a life of virtue is the way to be happy, but clinging to a principle of virtue may be at odds with clinging to tasks to improve your levels of happiness. One could argue then, well, that helping others makes you happy, but then that's a slippery path to eventually saying that the pursuit of happiness is just the exercise of your will (if it didn't make you happy why else would you do it?)

Rather, I think it's important to help humanity in general. Sartre argued for this in Existentialism is a Humanism. By making a choice, you are making the claim that your choice is a good choice, and therefore your definition of good applies to all humans. To live well is to live for the benefit of all of humanity.

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