haidt.ch8.with-intro

Haidt.ch8.with-intro - Haidt Ch.8 1 ne1The Happiness Hypothesis Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom 2006 by Jonathan Haidt Published by Basic

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ne1 The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom © 2006 by Jonathan Haidt. Published by Basic Books. All rights reserved. Below is chapter 8 from The Happiness Hypothesis . To understand it without reading the previous chapters you need to know that chapter 1 described how the self is divided into parts that often conflict. The central metaphor developed in that chapter is that our minds are like a rider on an elephant. The rider is our conscious, linguistic self. It is what social psychologists call controlled processing. The elephant is everything else – the 99% of mental processes about which we simply can’t be aware. It is automatic mental processes. The rider may think he’s in control, but whenever the elephant really wants to do something, it’s going to do it. Real change and growth can only come from training the elephant (covered in chapter 2). Chapter 3 covered reciprocity, and chapter 4 covered hypocrisy, especially “the myth of pure evil”, which is the human tendency to divide the world into perfect good versus perfect evil. For more information, please see: www.happinesshypothesis.com Chapter 8: The Felicity of Virtue It is impossible to live the pleasant life without also living sensibly, nobly and justly, and it is impossible to live sensibly, nobly and justly without living pleasantly (Epicurus 1 ) Set your heart on doing good. Do it over and over again, and you will be filled with joy. A fool is happy until his mischief turns against him. And a good man may suffer until his goodness flowers . (Buddha 2 ) When sages and elders urge virtue on the young, they sometimes sound like snake oil salesmen. The wisdom literature of many cultures essentially says, “Gather round! I have a tonic that will make you happy, healthy, wealthy, and wise! It will get you into heaven, and bring you joy on earth along the way! Just be virtuous!” Young people are extremely good, though, at rolling their eyes and shutting their ears. Their interests and desires are often at odds with those of adults, and they quickly find ways to pursue their goals and get themselves into trouble, which often becomes character-building adventure. Huck Finn runs away from his foster mother to raft down the Mississipi with a runaway slave; the young Buddha leaves his father’s palace to begin his spiritual quest in the forest; Luke Skywalker abandons his foster parents to join the galactic rebellion. All three reject the security and moral guidance offered by adults and set off on their own journeys, journeys that make each into an adult, complete with a set of new virtues. These hard-won virtues are especially admirable to us as readers because they reveal a depth and authenticity of character that we don’t see in the obedient kid who simply accepts the virtues proposed by 1 Epicurus, Principle Doctrines . In Epicurus, 1963, p.297. 2
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This note was uploaded on 04/03/2012 for the course PHIL 111 taught by Professor Jean during the Spring '06 term at Cal Poly.

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Haidt.ch8.with-intro - Haidt Ch.8 1 ne1The Happiness Hypothesis Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom 2006 by Jonathan Haidt Published by Basic

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