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  • By using the term spontaneous happiness I want to call attention to the fact that we

  • can open ourselves to the possibility of happiness by doing various things, and then when that

  • occurs we should be grateful for it. But I'm rather suspicious of pursuing happiness as

  • a goal. The word happiness comes from an old Norse root that means "luck" or "fortune,"

  • which suggests that people traditionally have associated happiness with external fortune.

  • I don't think that's a good place to look for it.

  • And, in fact, if I asked most people what would make them happy, most people think it's

  • getting something that they now don't have, you know, a new car, a better job, a lover.

  • And my sense is that that's not what we should be striving for. First of all, when you get

  • it, the feeling that you're looking for often is very short lived. I think instead we should

  • be working for contentment, and contentment, to me, is an inner sense of fulfillment that's

  • relatively independent of external circumstances.

  • Now, interestingly, there are very consistent reports -- and many of you may be able to

  • connect this with your own experience -- that people who go to other areas of the world

  • that are much less affluent than ours, where people have much less, are very struck by

  • the fact that people are more content. And there seems to be a very clear correlation

  • between material affluence and deteriorating contentment. It's just a fascinating observation:

  • the more people have, the less content they seem to be.

  • And I also would emphasize that I think our moods are supposed to vary. You know, we're

  • not supposed to be up here all the time. Everything in our experience varies, and I think it is

  • good to be accepting of these natural cycles in mood. That doesn't mean -- obviously you

  • don't want to go so far down that you don't remember what it's like back up here and you

  • don't want to get stuck in the bottom. But I think it is natural to cycle through this.

  • Also, I've come across some other very interesting research from the relatively new field of

  • evolutionary psychology, which attempts to explain our mental states in evolutionary

  • terms, that sees value in depression and even suggests that natural selection may have chosen

  • a depressive trait in human beings. And the reasoning of these evolutionary psychologists

  • is this: the essence of depression is a very strong inward focus and a tendency to chew

  • over and over the same thought pattern, you know, which leads... if it's negative, it

  • makes you sad, it makes you fearful and so forth.

  • That's called depressive rumination in psychology, and it's seen as being a pathological trait.

  • But the evolutionary psychologists suggest that that's exactly the mental strategy that

  • favors problem solving and creativity and that people who do this are, you know, either

  • you're faced with a really difficult problem, you sort of can't stop thinking about it,

  • you chew it over and over until you either decide there's no solution and give up, or

  • you find the solution. And so it may be that evolution favored this kind of trait in us.

  • And that may also help explain why we see such a strong correlation between depression

  • and creativity. You know, I could spend the whole time talking to you here about the incredibly

  • famous and successful artists, writers, composers, people in all fields who have been seriously

  • affected by depression, you know, many of whom have turned to alcohol or drugs to treat

  • that, some of whom have committed suicide. But that cries out for explanation. Why is

  • there such a strong association between depression and creativity? And the answer may be somewhere

  • in here that, you know, tolerating a certain amount of depression or being comfortable

  • with, you know, low moods from time to time -- there may be value in that.

By using the term spontaneous happiness I want to call attention to the fact that we


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アンドリュー・ワイル博士幸福の追求|ビッグ・シンク・メンター (Dr. Andrew Weil: The Pursuit of Happiness | Big Think Mentor)

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    Hhart Budha に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日