Today, I came over this article from the scientific journal Emotion I found rather interesting. From the paper:
Few things seem more natural and functional than wanting to be happy. We suggest that, counter to this intuition, valuing happiness may have some surprising negative consequences. Specifically, because striving for personal gains can damage connections with others and because happiness is usually defined in terms of personal positive feelings (a personal gain) in western contexts, striving for happiness might damage people's connections with others and make them lonely.
Reason equals virtue equals happiness
This had me thinking that happiness may have some parallells to what Edelstein talked with Stef about regarding self-esteem. In this interview Edelstein outlines certain negative consequences origining from the self-esteem movement. If I'm not mistaken he talked about that the focus on praise with no regard of the reality of what is praised; whether it actually is praiseworthy, can lead to detrimental effects on the praise recipient's efficacy. I concur with this notion, and I also find it somewhat manipulative and disrespectful. I also remember something Stef said that stuck with me:
I just go about my day, doing my things, and my self-esteem sort of just comes along with it.
The point here is that self-esteem is not what is focused on in his daily life, but that it sort of comes along as a bi-product of his other activities.
Maybe the same thing goes for happiness: An overly focus on happiness as an end in itself distorts your happiness because it leads you to become overly egotistical which leads to interpersonal disconnection which leads to loneliness which leads to unhappiness. A solution to such a problem might be to for example focus on compassion and reason as well as honesty with oneself and others as a primary without second thoughts of you doing it because you want it to lead you to a happy place down the line. However, as a mere bi-product of this kind of living you get happiness.
I don't know. These are big thoughts and big theories and I haven't really mulled them over for more than an hour so I do not claim scientific authority by any stretch of the imagination. I also have not scrutinized the theories and methods in the article enough to trust them 100% although the journal is of good quality. Let me know what you Freedomainers think; it would make me happy!