Archive for March, 2009.

Do This Now – The Anatomy of Happiness – Part IV

Written by Philip Walter on Mar 2 at 7:15 pm.

Week 2/52

photo courtesy of maldiviandude

Alright, here’s the final installment of Do This Now – The Anatomy of Happiness. Over the past several months, Matt Krepps and I have had 4 conversations about the nature of happiness, and about what contributes generally to a state of unhappiness, or dissatisfaction in our lives. This is the fourth.

We begin with an exploration of deception techniques in the natural world. If you look around, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any species (ours included) that doesn’t employ some sort of deception in order to maximize its position in the food chain. This implies, particularly in humans, there may also be some advantage for those who evolve a proclivity for self-deception. How much more convincing are we when we believe our own lies? What role might this self-deception play in our day to day frustrations? If the spiritual traditions, in asking us to surrender our little lies for the honest business of existence, remove the powerful evolutionary advantage of deception, why have they stuck around so long?

These are a few of the questions we address in this installment. Here’s a point-by-point synopsis:

  • Intro and recap of Parts 1-3
  • Variations on Original Sin as The Fundamental Flaw
  • Sin as a Disease of Perception, which has an Evolutionary Advantage
  • Self-Deception as an Evolved Trait
  • Why the Spiritual Traditions?
  • The Disadvantages of Self-Deception
  • The Most Difficult Thing About Religion
  • The Toolbox of Spirituality
  • The Nature of Fearlessness
  • What It Means To “Stand At The Beginning”
  • Distrust Your First Thought
  • Surrender As The Final Destination
  • What Do You Do When You Don’t Get What You Want?
  • The Spiritual Traditions As Motive Clarification Techniques
  • Final Thoughts

Here’s the audio file download link, and of course you can use the player below. It runs about 62 minutes.

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The quote of the conversation for me was Matt’s revelation that “the ability to be unsatisfied with style makes an adult with style … and panache.”

Feel free to comment below or e-mail me at philip(at)brickhousebodymind(dot)com if you have any questions, thoughts, etc.

I am closing the official Anatomy of Happiness dialogue, but we are planning more conversations in the near future. Is there anything else in particular you would like us to address? Do you think we’re crazy – are we wasting our time?

Please let me know.

Until next time, Peace be with you and yours.

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