All posts filed under: Happiness

Week 39 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Clutter

We’re obsessed with stuff.  We fill our homes with things we’ve collected, and when there’s no more room we rent storage lockers to house our stuff. I’ve been there, too. For at least a year I paid $200 a month for a storage locker.  When I look back at that time, I ask myself: What was I thinking?  It’s just a few years later and I have none of the things that I paid so much money to hold on to!  Why didn’t I just let go of it all in the first place, instead of paying at least $2400 to keep a bunch of stuff in a big, dark box?

I’m not the only one who has been through this experience.  It’s made me curious to know, what is the meaning of clutter? And why can’t we let go of all this stuff!?

Click for writing prompts to help you get to the bottom of your clutter.

Week 4 Questions for “Know Thyself 2019”: Disagreement

(This blog is part of a weekly series for Know Thyself 2019, a 365 day journal project. Start here!) This week’s question topic: Disagreement As global migration increases, societies become more diverse.  Workplaces bring together equally skilled people who, nonetheless, have highly divergent opinions about all kinds of topics, including social issues, politics, education, culture, sexuality, and ethnicity.  Diversity increases disagreement. It’s ok to disagree with others – you have the right to choose your thoughts!  Holding your tongue when you disagree can make you resentful, feel taken advantage of, or become passive-aggressive. It’s ok to disagree with others but keep your opinion to yourself.  If you don’t know when to pick your battles, you might become frustrated, exhausted, and end up with a bad reputation. This week’s questions are designed to help you understand your reaction to disagreement.  By understanding your reaction, you gain the power to make a conscious choice about how to react in the future. The Questions:  Do you find yourself agreeing with mere opinions (not facts) even when you don’t agree?  …

Week 3 Questions for Know Thyself in 2019: Parent-Child Relationships

(This blog is part of a weekly series for Know Thyself 2019, a 365 day journal project. Start here!) This week’s question topic: parent-child relationships I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection. and If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother. The author of the two preceding quotes is Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), an Austrian psychiatrist especially famous for relating all mental abnormalities back to idiosyncrasies in the parent-child relationship. I don’t know if I agree that the parent-child relationship is wholly defining of us, but it is surely fundamental to the people we become.   Human beings need parental figures for survival and social development. The first people you interacted with were probably your parents.  The parent-child relationship is an unavoidable source of tension but it can also be an irreplaceable source of joy. Knowing what you think about your parents can help you understand the source of disagreements.  It can also reveal the source of your expectations for other types of relationships.  Your ideas about …

Week 2 Questions for Know Thyself in 2019: Pleasure

(This blog is part of a weekly series for Know Thyself 2019, a 365 day journal project. Start here!) This week’s journal questions are designed to help you own your P L E A S U R E. The ancient Greeks had a philosophy of pleasure, hedonism, which taught people to maximize the amount of pleasure in their lives.  What constitutes a pleasurable activity depends on each person, but pleasure is always associated with the positive emotions of joy, well-being, desire, liking, or enjoyment.  In other words, pleasure is about feeling good. Why is pleasure important to you? Pleasure is important for your mental, emotional, and physical health.  Pleasure-seeking is part of our biological evolution.  The inability to feel pleasure can sometimes be classed as a mental disorder called anhedonia. Not being able to experience pleasure is not usually an illness.  Sometimes it’s simply a result of being out of touch with knowing what gives you pleasure, or you may be repressed as a result of socialization. Women are socialized to believe that pleasure is …

Life Lessons At the Xerox Machine

A lesson for self-acceptance from an unlikely place Yesterday at work I walked by a co-worker who was having some difficulty with a new printing system that had recently been installed. She sighed and explained to me that I was lucky since I was new and didn’t know the old system at all. She was used to doing things the old way and, therefore, had to break old habits at the same time as learn the new ones. I, on the other hand, merely need to add a new habit. I thought to myself, “How profound this idea would be, if applied to daily life.”  How can we cease to struggle with habits? Is there a way to change our mindset to live in the freshness of each moment and thereby become excited for change?  Do we need habits? Any advantages? Habit is an essential part of human existence.  Our muscles and minds are habit-forming machines. In fact, if you didn’t have an “autopilot” for most daily tasks, you’d be overwhelmed within hours. You’d likely spend so …

Mating in the Modern Era: What are the New Fitness Indicators?

What is the best way to look after your evolutionary interests? In a two part blog about the ethics of sexual choice in the modern era, I’ll talk about you as the hunter and you as the prey! Human Evolution The progression of human evolution is a story about human beings selecting mates with features suggestive that the offspring will be a reproductive success.  Human beings subconsciously choose mates who show signs of physical health and mental ability in order to combine and reproduce evolutionarily desirable DNA.  The physical appearance of strong men and feminine women advertise the ability to produce, protect, and nurture the children. From an evolutionary perspective, it’s a biological imperative to admire and desire physical health and intelligence. Choose Adaptations for Modern Survival If we want to be smart about choosing a mate in the modern era, we should use this information wisely. After all, the threats to human beings have shifted drastically since the introduction of cities, the internet, and the five day work week.  No longer do we require …

Love and Cosmic Loneliness

“You’re my one in seven billion…”  (below: Hong Kong view from the Peak, 2018) If you reflect deeply enough on human life experience, you might eventually encounter the existentialist belief that we are all suffering from “cosmic loneliness”.  In regards to existentialism, cosmic loneliness refers to the idea that our perceptions, emotions, and the qualia of the physical world as it touches our senses give each of us a truly separate experience. This isn’t just about life in general, but it applies to events, too. No matter what action I do, even when performed in the same way as others performed it, I can’t claim to have any better access to their experiences than someone else who hadn’t performed that act. Think about the experience of viewing a sunrise. Even as millions of others viewed the sunset from Hong Kong’s Peak in similar fashion to the way I view it, with the light hitting my eyes as I stand on the well-worn path, there are still at least a few ways that my experience is …

Freedom & Curiosity: Rethinking the Strawsonian Pragmatic Argument for Free Will

 A short paper responding the the Strawsonian argument that can be interpreted from Peter Strawson’s paper, “Freedom & Resentment”. In Peter Strawson’s paper entitled “Freedom and Resentment”, the author provides evidence of a pragmatic argument to believe in free will, regardless of whether or not the thesis of determinism is true. Strawson builds a pragmatic argument for free will by explaining the connection between freedom, human psychology, and our humanity. Although I think Strawson provides a plausible pragmatic account of free will, I see a potential problem concerning the natural reactive attitudes he focuses on, especially resentment, which undermines his thesis. First, the natural reactive attitude of resentment that justifies participants’ place in a moral community actually undermines the relationships that Strawson suggests are essential for adult human life; Strawson uses interpersonal relationships as part of his justification for why we should accept the pragmatic argument for free will. Second, self-directed resentment is freedom denying; blaming oneself has psychological effects that undermine the freedom that Strawson wants to guarantee. I will briefly suggest an unlikely …

My Post-Vacation Blues

The post-vacation blues are a real thing.  It’s not just jet-lag, which I manage to avoid by timing my meals, staying very hydrated, using masks and headsets on the plane, and exercising to get my body back in the schedule.  Post-vacation blues are more difficult to manage because it’s a perspective that takes over.  Brain overstimulation in the form of sights, sounds, delicious foods, shopping, sunshine, and immersion in a new culture. I got back from an exciting two week vacation on Tuesday, just four days ago. At first I was really busy with work for my Pragmatism class at UBC, and then writing.  But today I had to go into my workplace and it struck me again: real life is, well… it’s just not vacation! 😦 It’s easy to idealize a foreign culture and way of life when you’re in a good mood and having fun.  So, what’s the cure to my post-vacation blues? Why can’t I love my “regular” life as much as vacation? Solution: Find the beauty in regular life.  Lucky that …