Self-Theory Problems

by phil on Thursday Jul 10, 2003 12:56 PM
thinking, imperative-based

I think I've figured out what my problem is with the whole imperative "Be Happy" imperative.

If you open up Dalai Lama's book "The Art of Living" the first line in the book says. "The Purpose of Life is to be happy." That's it, no discussion, no debate.

Okay, I agree. Well, rather, the answer to the question "what are we to do" is to follow whatever makes us feel good or makes us happy. Why would you do otherwise? "Well what about self-sacrifice." But the reason you would self-sacrifice is because the notion of sacrificing yourself for another cause makes you feel good. If it made you feel bad, then that means you didn't endorse it, and then that's not a value you like. Or, if you felt bad sacrificing but had the intuitive feeling that this was a wrong approach, that you "should" sacrifice and then if following your "should"s makes you happy, then you SHOULD do that... but it's not even a matter of SHOULD it's a matter of WOULD... you WOULD do that. Why wouldn't you do what makes you happy.

So it's like, just a observation of life. We follow how we feel, and try to maximize the positive feelings.

Okay, THIS is in essence the existentialist observation and the same thing that I push for in my the thing "to do" is Emotional Intelligence." The ego IS the only thing that exists and that's where we get all of our data.

The counter, like the communists make the counter like, well what if you extend your ego to the whole system then through the system you can exist and live through.

True, but you still have to feel or believe or get to the conclusion that you should do that, it's not automatic. You could be instilled with it, but you still somehow have to within yourself be either weakened to other ideas, but they're still your ideas. Now, there's a difference of choice here, but somehow you're responding to your own inclinations.

That's all we do, respond to our own inclinations.

Now, why is my "thing" or "imperative" or suggestion on a should-generating task is meditating on the notion of "emotional intelligence" is that well, it's pretty open, it relies on the egocentric thing, it's sufficiently vague, and it puts the burden on you trying to manage yourself correctly.

But, I'm finding the flaws in this as time goes on. It's just an extension of my problems with the "be happy" imperative.

Theoreticalyl they're exactly the same just different terminology.

My original problem was that the word happiness has been abused by society and therefore didn't truly capture the gist of what I was trying to get at. Like, "happy" is like to be this sort of free-flowing wave new age thingy where you do yoga on Sex in the City... foofy stuff.

Other ppl have other stuff like "spiral out" etc... but those are just wrong because those are outside of the self imperatives, why should you spiral out if it doesn't make you happy? Then you become a slave to it. well, you could like to be a slave, or myabe you don't, either way if you make a mistake then you're managingin unintelligently, so then my "be emotionally intelligent" emphasizes the intelligence part.

Which is precisely the problem. The emphasis. The wording determines the emphasis. If you told everybody, your goal is to be happy, they may not necessarily find them happiness.

Like if you just made it your goal everyday to "be happy" the goal-setting itself may be a barrier to your happiness.

Because the attention is too much placed on the bigger picture that you could become a model of a greedy algorithm let's say, like where you just try to stoically meditate into happiness every day, which would prevent you from focusing on the longer-term things that require daily sacrifice for bigger gains.

(althoguh, those are usually instilled by institutions, why shouldn't you "carpe diem")

This is the same thing with running companies as well. You could have your solution generating perspective be "what's best for the company" or it could be "what's the best utility of our product" or then it could be "what's best for me" or "what's best for the team"

Ideally you joined the company because that's what's best fory ou. And so everything you should do would be to furthery our best interest of which helping the team, help the product, help the company would be a part of that plan.

But if that's where your attention is, first on yourself, then on everything else, you could just in practice not see the bigger picture of how it all relates.

On a practical note, I think you're more likely to suceed if you focus on the product because that's the other seem to be the death of most companies while as the product saves them.

Likewise, Emotional Intelligence may just cause you to focus on the management side, or to just become "self-absorbed" and what a post I made a few posts down is that there are many ohter modes out there that don't require self-absorbed attention to your emotions to be happy.

i.e. emotional intelligence is not necessarily a prerequisite to being happy but could potentially be an emergent phenomena of emotional planning that appears intelligent.


The point is, that the Observe, Analyze, Apply loop should emphasize the distinctnees and importance of all three things. If Observe is empirical data, analyze is the theory, and apply is the application, then one should note that theory is VERY different than application, as is the data, etc.... I feel like I've been making the mistake for sometime believing so hard core in theories of living or theories on business practices without realizing that in that theory doesn't always translate to practice, in fact, in many cases it rarely does.

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