EF10 SHOW NOTES
Looking to play or download the episode? Click here…(EF10) S1-E8: The Road to Happiness is Inked in Suffering (Season One, Episode Eight)
Does Happiness Define the Good?
The big question driving Episode EF10 is … Does happiness define the good? We need to be happy to feel good. Even a 4-year-old child knows this somewhere in the chaos of their still-evolving mind. Thus, it seems logical the closer we are to becoming happy 24/7, the better. But when was the last time you met someone who achieved this? And have you ever thought through the practicalities of such a scenario?
Although as a society we’re trying extremely hard to be happy, it doesn’t seem we’re doing too good of a job. Even worse, when we finally achieve happiness, it doesn’t take long for the sunny day to turn into a thunderstorm. So is it possible we got the entire idea wrong? Maybe happiness isn’t the only ingredient towards a good life? Perhaps we do need a healthy amount of sadness, anger, frustration, in which case, it’s rather all about finding the balance.
DEDICATION: Episode EF10 is dedicated to Kurt Vonnegut, a writer whose ingenuity comes from the purposefully averageness of his perspective. Satirical irony dominates his work, managing to make people laugh out loud and still see the light at the end of some very dark tunnels in the themes of his work.
Kurt Vonnegut quickly emerged as a new star in the world of literature with novels like Player Piano, The Sirens of Titan and Cat’s Cradle. Nevertheless, both before and after fame, Vonnegut struggled with the hardships of a literary writer.
There’s a belief that people with a unique ‘funny bone’ are often the saddest people. Although this sounds like a paradox, happiness likely does come from grief, and it probably works the other way around as well. Thus, Vonnegut’s work is a testimony to this “satirical fact” about life that happiness many times comes at the price of sadness. And what can we do? His writing generally instructs us to laugh, cry and enjoy all the moments as best we can.
It’s impossible to say if Vonnegut managed to incorporate this in his life, but one thing is sure: he’s been making people around the world laugh — and think — for more than half a century.
HOW KURT VONNEGUT INSPIRES EF10
Vonnegut and his work are the proof that life will never be just happy or sad, no matter how miserable or happy life makes us. Life will always be life and we have only one option: to ride the river we’re presented with just like the Episode EF10 protagonist. There’s wishful thinking hardwired into our system that one day life will be painless. Sorry. Vonnegut could have written his novels if that was the case.
If you need a good laugh and a fresh insight into the everyday troubles you’re facing, read some of Vonnegut’s work. You won’t be sorry:
INSPIRATIONS: Gustave Flaubert, a novelist who knew that without stupidity it’s extremely hard to be happy. Bertrand Russell, a man of many talents, who understood you have to lack things to be happy. Seneca, a stoic who taught us that nobody is constantly happy; if they seem like they are, they probably have more problems than we think. Buddha, who dedicated his life to teaching for us to be happy, we need to be sad. Episode EF10 was further inspired by Morris Mandel, John Lennon, Wataru Sato, Seneca, Aristotle, Chuang-Tzu, Voltaire, Dante Alighieri, Cliche Tattoos. For a full list of data and references please see Episode EF10 Show Notes.
Episode EF10 Summary
Coming from a wealthy family, most others would only dream of the life Alex leads. Every moment is another silver platter where he is handed all the best education, can have his pick of expensive items and to experience seemingly infinite joys. Although grateful for everything, Alex can’t shake the reality he isn’t happy or fulfilled by any of this at all—nor could he really even define what happiness would look like for him. But why? What could possibly be missing when having everything you want?
“It’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey.” This trite expression is one of the modern favorites in a bin of overused cliches we tell ourselves when we start to lack that next hit of happiness. But is it really trite or just misunderstood? Being a cliche doesn’t necessarily make something wrong. Instead, that comes when we don’t actually change things in order to live by the message of such wise life lessons. From Ancient India and Greece, to modern Western Culture, we can find countless theories on what happiness is and how to attain it. So why is our ability to attain it no better today—and, by some measures, on the decline—even after thousands of years of intellectual progress?
Epicurus, The Essential Epicurus. editor Eugene O’Connor, 1993, Prometheus Books
James Ackrill, Aristotle the Philosopher. 1981, Oxford: Oxford University Press
John Blofeld, Taoism. 2000, Shambhala
Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without Country. 2005, Seven Stories Press
“Somebody Actually Got the Mother of Cliché Tattoos!”, Tattoodo.com, https://www.tattoodo.com/a/2016/06/somebody-actually-got-the-mother-of-cliché-tattoos/ (accessed: Apr 30)
Wataru Sato, “The structural neural substrate of subjective happiness”, nature.com. http://www.nature.com/articles/srep16891 (accessed: January 14, 2017)
Any of these quotes make you think? If so, please support the show by sharing…
Sure, get the shiny new car … But don’t let the idea of it spoil your gratitude to the rust bucket that helped you get to work to afford it. — The Evolve Faster Podcast (Season One, Episode Eight) (EF10)
Ironically, we often don’t get what we’re lacking because we waste time daydreaming about what we’re lacking — The Evolve Faster Podcast (Season One, Episode Eight)
The wheel keeps on turning no matter what we do; and although we might think sadness is the element that doesn’t belong, it is as important as happiness. — The Evolve Faster Podcast (Season One, Episode Eight)
Somewhere in our brain there’s a happiness factory and we’re nothing more than the consumer of whatever that factory provides — The Evolve Faster Podcast (Season One, Episode Eight) (EF10)
In what might be the most spoiled irony in the history of ironies, Alex suffered because he didn’t know suffering … a completely new level when it comes to first world problems. — The Evolve Faster Podcast (Season One, Episode Eight)
Season One, Episode Eight: Even though today’s world is obsessed with happiness, many measures would indicate it’s attainment is on the decline. What if happiness isn’t a lovely, attainable destination, but instead, a journey of learning to embrace day-to-day suffering? And does happiness define the good anyway? (EF10)
Season One, Episode Eight: Does happiness define the good? (EF10)
Season One: The journey begins as we embark on 11 episodes on big questions relating to MIND. What is the truth? Can we trust reason? Why do we have emotions? Does happiness define the good? What is identity? What is creativity?
(EF1) Trailer: The Evolve Faster Podcast (Extended) Trailer
(EF2) Intro: Life is a Near Death Experience: Welcome to The Evolve Faster Podcast
(EF3) S1-E1: All Aboard the Experience Machine: Destination…Unknown (Season One, Episode One)
(EF4) S1-E2: The Decapitation of Reason: A Skeptic’s Guide (Season One, Episode Two)
(EF5) S1-E3: The Truth is Clay in the Hands of a Sculptor (Season One, Episode Three)
(EF6) S1-E4: Information Mainlining and the Folly of Modern Wisdom (Season One, Episode Four)
(EF7) S1-E5: Sleight of Mind: The Black Magic of Rhetoric (Season One, Episode Five)
(EF8) S1-E6: Without a Compass: All Who Sail the Seas of Identity Are Not Lost (Season One, Episode Six)
(EF9) S1-E7: I Feel Therefore I am: Capsized by the River Emotion (Season One, Episode Seven)
(EF10) S1-E8: The Road to Happiness is Inked in Suffering (Season One, Episode Eight)
(EF11) S1-E9: When the Lights Go Out: The Blinding Light of an Artificial Future (Season One, Episode Nine)
(EF12) S1-E10: Wired to Fail: Leveling Up in the Game of Life (Season One, Episode Ten)
(EF13) S1-E11: The Bloody Fingerprint of Creativity (Season One, Episode Eleven)
(EF14) BTP: Behind the Evolve Faster Podcast - The Making of a Speculative Fiction Meets Philosophical Nonfiction Podcast
(EF15) AMA: Ask Me Anything: About Scott Ely and Evolving a Philosophy for Life
(EF16) BTP: On Creative Writing, Video Games and the Future of the Evolve Faster Podcast (About Antonio Rozich)
(EF17) BTP-EF3: What Am I Supposed To Do Free Will and Other Everyday Problems Behind the Podcast of Episode EF3
(EF18) AMA-EF3: The Mystical Allure of Converting to Buddhism and Speculating about Quantum Mechanics Ask Me Anything for Episode EF3
(EF19) BTP-EF4: Head Transplantation and Finding Inspiration for Speculative Fiction - Behind the Podcast of Episode EF4
(EF20) AMA-EF4: The Declining Value of Information and Taking Risks to Determine What is the Truth Ask Me Anything of Episode EF4
(EF21) BTP-EF5: Should Lying be Made Illegal and the Importance of Figuring Out Why You Believe What you Believe --Behind the Podcast of Episode EF5
(EF22) AMA-EF5: Defeating Fake News and Critical Thinking as the Superpower the World Needs Most Ask Me Anything of Episode EF5
(EF23) BTP-EF6: Scaling Mount Wisdom Without Suffocating Under an Avalanche of Ego Behind The Podcast of Episode EF6
(EF24) AMA-EF6: Is Less Really More When it Comes to the Pursuit of Wisdom or is Ignorance Bliss - Ask Me Anything of Episode EF6
(EF25) BTP-EF7: The Power of Propaganda and Rhetoric to Divide Us and the Quest for a Better World - Behind the Podcast of Episode EF7
(EF26) AMA-EF7: The Impossibility of Honest Politicians and Protecting Our Kids from The Most Insidious Fake News Ask Me Anything for Episode EF3
(EF27) BTP-EF8: Who are You and is it Possible to Upgrade Your Identity as an Adult? - Behind the Podcast of Episode EF8
(EF28) AMA-EF8: Drugs, Consciousness Manipulation and Cheating Your Way To a Better You - Ask Me Anything for Episode EF8
(EF29) BTP-EF9: Waging War Between Reason and Emotions and the Importance of Leaving Things Unresolved Behind the Podcast of Episode EF9
(EF30) AMA-EF9: Emotional Manipulation Tribalism and Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Think Before you Feel - Ask Me Anything for Episode EF9
(EF31) BTP-EF10: Dharma Modifying Negative Thinking and the Never-Ending Pursuit of Happiness by Embracing Suffering - Behind the Podcast of Episode EF10
(EF32) AMA-EF10: Mind Control Through a Well Chosen Tattoo and the Unlikely Case of Being Happy Enough - Ask Me Anything for Episode EF3
(EF33) BTP-EF11: The Evolution of Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Creativity - Behind the Podcast of Episode EF11
(EF34) AMA-EF11: On Perfection, the AI Alignment Problem, and the Possibility of Quantum Leaps of Creativity - Ask Me Anything for Episode EF11
(EF35) BTP-EF12: Cryptocurrencies Gaming and Leveraging Failure to Help Us Define Who We Are - Behind the Podcast of Episode EF12
(EF36) AMA-EF12: Pyrrhic Victory and Finding the 10% of Your Mind that Defines Who You Are - Ask Me Anything for Episode EF12
(EF37) BTP-EF13: Where Creativity Comes From and How to Find Your Uniquely Bloody Fingerprint - Behind the Podcast of Episode EF13
(EF38) AMA-EF13: Flow, Creative Improvisation and Other Altered States of Consciousness Ask Me Anything for Episode EF13
(EF39) S2-E0: LIFE, UPGRADED: Welcome to Season Two of the Evolve Faster Podcast
(EF40) S2-E1: Dehumanized: The Search for Self in the Devil’s Looking Glass
(EF41) S2-E2: Transhuman Fallibility: The Existential Risk of a Superhuman Future
(EF42) S2-E3: Civil Individualism: Loneliness Atop Mount Empowerment
(EF43) S2-E4: Evil Urges: The Fiery Duality of Human Nature
(EF44) S2-E5: Reality Unchained: Smashing the Icons of Social Delusion
(EF45) S2-E6: Weaving Society’s Web: Purpose in a Future Without Work
(EF46) S2-E7: Empathetic Distortion: Rigging the Scales of Justice
(EF47) S2-E8: Infinite Regress: Drawing Back The Veil of Perception
(EF48) S2-E9: Checkmate: A Child’s Guide to the Good Life
(EF49) S2-E10: The Domino Effect: The Momentum of an Unstoppable Future