(urth) happiness in The Knight

Chris rasputin_ at hotmail.com
Sun Mar 20 02:09:28 PST 2005

>James Wynn wrote:
>>What is your definition of "well-adjusted"? The word implies an objective
>>goal to which one would "adjust". Depending on one's criteria, a
>>well-adjusted person might bully and molest. Saddam seems to have adjusted
>>Uday and Qusay to do that.

Maru said:
>You wish an objective goal? Very well, I can supply one.
>Consider that happiness has a very strong correlation to
>the concentrations of certain chemicals in the human species
>brain, which is objectively measurable; consider further that
>there are brain wave patterns which have a very strong correlation
>with happiness, and are equally objectively measurable.  These two
>tests can be concatenated for a measurement of high confidence.

This amounts to an objective test of a subjective goal.

Another way of putting the matter is this:
There are disconnections at a couple of levels that require certain 
subjective assumptions to bridge. To start with - and this I think is the 
essence of the objection Crush was raising, which has not been answered here 
- do you really think that what we consider "well-adjusted" is objectively 
correlated to happiness? Individuals vary as to which stimuli produce 
"happiness" in their brains, as do (necessarily) societies made up of such 
individuals. The totality of existent humans, taken as a whole, is no less 
variable, from moment to moment.

Another is the association of happiness with an objective goal; there is 
nothing that objectively makes happiness a more worthy goal than any other 
conceivable goal. And in fact, for any non-trivial definition of happiness, 
it is evident that even if we accept happiness as a goal, we make numerous 
exceptions to this rule as a matter of course. This is evident in the 
common-sense observation that that which makes us happy is not always that 
which is best for us.

-- Civet

More information about the Urth mailing list