Re: [The-Burnsville-Socrates-Cafe] 5/15/12 questions and discussion

From: Jon A.
Sent on: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 7:08 AM
This is interesting. My other philosophy group is reading books by Jonathan Haidt and in The Happiness Hypothesis he convincingly argues that human evolution has led us to value success over happiness. We still like being happy but when happiness might be sacrificed in order to succeed (however we may define it) our natures would have us choose success over happiness. I agree with Amr as well; it comes down to how we collectively define success. Imagine how things might be if we decided success = happiness!

Jon



On May 23, 2012, at 4:10, Andrusela <[address removed]> wrote:

> I'm finding this discussion on stress more interesting than the
> original question. I have practiced meditation, etc. to reduce stress,
> but it works best in a "retreat" environment. Back in the real world
> where I work in tech support and customer service I am abused by both
> the customers and my supervisors and the tortuous boredom of the job
> iself. No matter how much I try to not let it bother me and "go to my
> happy place," I still have high blood pressure and other stress
> related illnesses, like Jon's wife does. So though I see the value in
> trying to reduce stress by positive thinking and whatever other method
> you can name I must say I agree more with Amr that only a bigger
> lifestyle overhaul would yield any significant or lasting results.
> 
> On 5/21/12, Jim <[address removed]> wrote:
>> I both agree and disagree. I'm a testament to what I've asserted. And
>> in fact there are numerous studies that contradict Amr's pessimistic
>> views. Sad for you that you are stuck in that belief.
>> Jim Baker
>> 
>> 
>> On May 21, 2012, at 1:06 AM, Amr Barrada wrote:
>> 
>>> Actually the idea of controlling stress is very popular and widely
>>> practiced throughout the country and elsewhere. That's why there
>>> are so many stress management groups. It has become a virtual
>>> industry.
>>> 
>>> There's so much research out there that, contrary to what Jim is
>>> saying, shows very robustly that stress, and other processes such
>>> as thoughts and feelings, are not at all amenable to control. In
>>> fact a very robust finding is that trying to control or "eliminate"
>>> these processes only results in what one psychologist calls a
>>> "rebound effect". In this case the more you try to control stress
>>> the more stressful you get, and you end up getting chronically
>>> stressed.
>>> 
>>> We live in a culture that finds natural negative processes
>>> repulsive. The idea that Jim suggests that we "train" children
>>> early in their lives how to control stress, or even "manage" it, is
>>> part of this persistent obsession with being positive and free of
>>> natural thoughts and emotions. It's such a hideous suggestion. We
>>> would do a lot better if we were able to model a lifestyle, not
>>> only to children but to adults as well, that is not conducive to
>>> the fast-paced frenetic lives people seem to prefer.
>>> Amr
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Jim <[address removed]>
>>> To: The-Burnsville-Socra­tes-Cafe-list <The-Burnsville-S­ocrates-Cafe-
>>> [address removed]>
>>> Sent: Sun, May 20,[masked]:55 am
>>> Subject: Re: [The-Burnsville-Socr­ates-Cafe] 5/15/12 questions and
>>> discussion
>>> 
>>> I'm glad to see that someone finally included the impacts of stress
>>> in the discussion. This is a favorite topic in my field of study b/
>>> c it cuts across all aspects of human experience in inverse
>>> relationship to quality of life—which, in turn, translates to
>>> effects on others quality of life. It's all related.
>>> 
>>> I see the big problem here, not as how many resources to spend on
>>> the sick, but as the relative paucity of resources spent on
>>> prevention—the most cost effective  intervention being stress
>>> management training. Stress is a mental phenomenon — i.e., a
>>> consequence of "thoughts we choose" in response to events. The
>>> untrained mind easily runs negative thinking, which increases
>>> stress hormones. In the worst case situations, where people feel
>>> unjustly treated, trapped in unemployment, abused by another, etc.,
>>> the negative thinking reaches "toxic" levels and hangs there,
>>> wreaking havoc on the body, mind and often anyone who is around the
>>> person suffering in toxic stress. Our health care system mainly
>>> treats the symptoms of toxic stress. Some progressive health
>>> centers, such as Boston's Mind Body Miedical Clinic (originally at
>>> Harvard Med School), still led by Herbert Benson, famous for his
>>> book, The Relaxation Response.
>>> 
>>> In Benson's introduction, he recalls being branded somewhat of a
>>> heretic and I recall the original report that he was threatened
>>> with banishment from HMS if continued researching how people could
>>> manipulate their autonomic nervous systems, which was then (in the
>>> 1960's) still believed impossible in Western medicine. His book is
>>> an interesting read, but sadly its message is still largely absent
>>> from primary care, or as a key component of disease treatment.
>>> 
>>> Stress mgt training is not a panacea that fix everything that is
>>> wrong, but if everyone were trained as children about stress and
>>> how to manage it, then prompted to do so as part of their daily
>>> schooling and primary health care, there would be far less disease,
>>> far less social dysfunction, far higher quality of life in general
>>> for the vast majority. Effects on brain function that directly
>>> impact learning, would also be reduced, making a significant
>>> contribution to reducing the achievement gap, a scientifically
>>> defensible assertion that I am building into a model to put on line.
>>> 
>>> So, what's the real problem here? And why is there so much
>>> resistance to directly intervening on it?
>>> 
>>> Jim Baker
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> On May 20, 2012, at 9:12 AM, Jon Anderson wrote:
>>> 
>>>> 5/15/12 questions and discussion
>>>> 
>>>> assuming success trumps happiness, what purpose(s) does happiness
>>>> have?
>>>> 
>>>> ====================­===
>>>> 
>>>> if we continue to care for the sick, will our species survive?
>>>> 
>>>> Phillip: allowing some to die for lack of investment in health
>>>> care for all may mean losing  descendants who could save us from
>>>> future problems. Would it mean losing minds like Stephen
>>>> Hawking's? One wonders when people with genetic ills produce more
>>>> kids with the same genetic ills. We don't wanna be like Hitler
>>>> was, deciding who will live, who will die.
>>>> 
>>>> Jon: the inverse being something like the Terry Schievo (sp?) case.
>>>> 
>>>> Lynn: didn't someone come out of an 18 year coma . . .?
>>>> 
>>>> Jm; exactly. So what are the preconditions for a successful
>>>> species? We can't just look at intelligence. If we had a
>>>> subspecies with Hawking's intelligence, and wanted to isolate/
>>>> magnify that, would that be a net benefit? But that way we can not
>>>> meet the genetic variability demanded for future survival. Yet how
>>>> much does variability cost? If we were smart enough to engineer a
>>>> perfect human that human would be too vulnerable because the
>>>> future is unpredictable. We're not that smart.
>>>> 
>>>> Lynn: we wouldn't agree on what an ideal genetic package is!
>>>> 
>>>> Phillip: don't allow anyone who is sick to die.
>>>> 
>>>> Jim: is that a moral idea? A practical one? If it's moral, we end
>>>> up with lots of sick people taking up more of our resources,
>>>> affecting the rest of our society.
>>>> 
>>>> Lynn: we presently overtly control the populations of other
>>>> species: deer, for example (wolves too?). We also do controlled
>>>> forest fires to maintain the health of forests.
>>>> 
>>>> Jon: how much do political conservatives care about the suffering
>>>> of others?
>>>> 
>>>> Jim; the real dichotomy is the implications of government
>>>> assistance. What's clear to me is as government scope expands the
>>>> human sense helplessness/needine­ss becomes a self-fuliflling
>>>> prophecy. We conservatives want to help. We don't want to help our
>>>> government take care of us.
>>>> 
>>>> Jon: how might conservatives be selective in their compassion?
>>>> 
>>>> Jim: I have an anecdote! I was once in jail in Texas for jumping a
>>>> freight train to Mexico. I defied a cop who intended to arrest us.
>>>> He cuffed us, manhandled me. I spun free, got on top of him, ready
>>>> to hit hi,m then stopped myself. Then he kicked the crap out of
>>>> me. They had me in jail for aggravated assault. My mother knew a
>>>> judge and got me out if I pled guilty. My son got into trouble
>>>> too. He did a dumb thing but I said to myself "this'll be a good
>>>> lesson for him. But do I trust the system?" We conservatives have
>>>> a conflict; there are 7 billion people, at some point we have to
>>>> ask how much is too much? Freedom is at risk as that number grows.
>>>> Productivity can solve it. But are we willing to make the
>>>> sacrifices necessary for that level of productivity?
>>>> 
>>>> Jon: as the result of 2008's economics my wife's department was
>>>> reduced from 3 to one person. She is now doing the work of 3 people.
>>>> 
>>>> Jim: both her employer and she have figured out how to be more
>>>> productive.
>>>> 
>>>> Jon: but she's made miserable by the added stress of doing 3
>>>> people's jobs. She has stress related illnesses.
>>>> 
>>>> Jim: if someone said the role of  government is to help someone
>>>> find a job I would have no beef. But I see too much focus on
>>>> housing and health care.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
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>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
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>> 
> 
> 
> 
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> This message was sent by Andrusela ([address removed]) from The Burnsville Socrates Cafe.
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> Set my mailing list to email me
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> As they are sent
> http://www.meetup...­
> 
> In one daily email
> http://www.meetup...­
> 
> Don't send me mailing list messages
> http://www.meetup...­
> Meetup, PO Box 4668 #37895 New York, New York[masked] | [address removed]
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