- August 29, 2020 at 8:11 am #25302
“What is your most recommended book, besides your own” asks Tim Ferris in his podcasts. My answer is:
1. both books by Christopher Ryan
2. Science of Enlightenment by Shinzen Young
3. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
Still, my #1 most recommended books left with an open question: yes, this is the current state of affairs, but now what? Chris himself gives some ideas for what a solution could be, but he (purposefully) keeps the question open.
My personal answer to this question is one word: Happiness. Alright, all cards on the table, I am an author and I write on the topic of happiness. My book is called Optimal Happiness (sorry for some shameless promotion). But how is happiness relevant to the “now what” question? Happy people are more altruistic, egalitarian, they are more interested in the happiness of others, conscious in terms of what they do, eat, and buy, and they don’t consume for pleasure, at least not as much. Simply, if there is a closer modern forager lifestyle it is ” being happy”.
Unbelievable? Yes, but so are the books by Christopher Ryan. Possible? Definitely. Intriguing? I hope so.
- August 29, 2020 at 11:42 am #25312
I didn’t write a book, so I can’t answer your question 😀
Hearing the word happiness, philosopher Slavoj Zizek always comes to mind. Here’s a quote:
“Happiness was never important. The problem is that we don’t know what we really want. What makes us happy is not to get what we want. But to dream about it. Happiness is for opportunists. So I think that the only life of deep satisfaction is a life of eternal struggle, especially struggle with oneself. If you want to remain happy, just remain stupid. Authentic masters are never happy; happiness is a category of slaves.”
Haha, that sounds a bit crude. Here’s a video with some more nuance:
Just to get you to think about hapiness.
- August 29, 2020 at 11:59 am #25314
For me personally it’s more about ‘moments of happiness’, not a constant state. The struggles amplify the moments.
- August 29, 2020 at 12:40 pm #25315
Thanks for the comment 😉
Honestly, I know both arguments, but actually, like it is in case of Sex At Dawn and Civilised To Death, there are a lot of misconceptions about the topic of happiness, and both statements you said fall in that category. For example, based on the work of Christopher Ryan, we know that we are not supposed to live like we currently do, meaning that parts of our unhappiness is caused by the way we are currently living. Now, my goal is not to create a debate here as we can make it here, buuuuuut:
1) Constant state of happiness is possible and it is not diminished by the the lack of unhappiness. Actually, prolonged unhappiness diminishes happiness
2) Idea of purpose (“knowing what we want,” as stated by Slavoj Zizek) also does not mean that we need to suffer. You can be happy and work on your goals. One does not exclude the other.
- August 29, 2020 at 4:32 pm #25320
Yes I think it’s true that we are not designed to live in the modern world. Let’s say that in pre history, our needs were basicly fulfilled. Plenty of birdies, fruits, nuts, seeds etc. We lived in small communities. Live was good, right? Well, I’m not so certain, especially because of the fact that we lived in small communities. Just take a moment, and think about all the possible conflicts that emerge from being in a small community. I lived in a squat with a community of people, and yes, many benefits come with that. But the conflicts can turn it into a living hell. You have to discuss every little thing. This guy is bossy. Or I’m having feelings for this woman, but she doesn’t want to fuck me but she fucks my friend. Just the insane emotional bullshit under the surface. Sometimes I think the whole modern world evolved, from people trying to escape from that.
Imagine living in the same hut as your aunt. And she is snorring like hell. You’d want to build a thick wall between you and her, right? Or imagine a guy who is sick of going hunting with a bunch of guys because he thinks they are assholes. And he decides, you know what, I’m going to find a way to grow my own food, so I don’t have to go out hunting with these fucks anymore. And voila, there was agriculture. Haha, ok I’m oversimplyfying things, but do you think they lived in a constant state of happiness?
About the idea of purpose: well, the thing is that it’s not always being happy working on it. Chris is a good example. He says: only write a book if you really have to! Or learning to play the piano, the exercises can get boring, or your hands start to hurt, but you want to get through with it. Or say you are fighting against animal exploitaition, just the horror you have to deal with, but you do it because you think it’s important.
Anyway, I don’t believe in a constant state of happiness. I also don’t believe that life is just struggle. But I do think that the two states amplify each other.
- August 29, 2020 at 8:43 pm #25324Christopher LutzParticipant
Happiness is a great symptom but a terrible goal.
- August 30, 2020 at 9:00 am #25327
@janvandommelen, I recommend you re-read Christopher Ryan’s book. Personally, I reread them several times, and I can tell you that everything you mention as “possible conflicts that emerge from being in a small community” was addressed there. For example:
1) bossiness was highly discouraged;
2) that girl that you having feelings for, she would probably be happy to have sex with you, with that other guy, and some other people in the community;
3) snoring aunt would either be killed (i’m joking) or she would not snore at all, as snoring might be a symptom of how she leads her modern life (i’m actually not sure about this, but I imagine it can be true),
4) hunting was optional pass time activity, which you would only do if you wanted
What i’m trying to say is that based on the arguments of Christopher Ryan, you are projecting your current modern world views on the forager pre-agriculture society of the past 😉
@christopher-lutz, your quote already appeared in this discussion in a different words. Actually, not sure where you got this exact quote, since i’m not sure what you mean by “great symptom”, but when it comes to goal-setting and pursuit of purpose, being busy does not mean that you are automatically unhappy. For example, Elon Musk wants to go to Mars. He may get there in his lifetime, but it is likely that he wont. Does it automatically mean that he should give up on this goal? Does it mean that he should be unhappy? No. Simply pursuing this goal will be one of the most meaningful experiences in his life, meaning that it will make him happy, even if he runs into some setbacks, complications, and drama.
- August 30, 2020 at 11:24 pm #25344
Yes, you are right, these issues have been adressed. I didn’t miss them. The thing is, is that I am having some doubts, about the actual reality of living it. The community that I lived in, was a community inside of our modern world, with people who grew up inside our modern world. So it is hard to compare, and yes I’m projecting my modern world view on it. But, don’t you think there is some idealisation going on here. I mean, put some people together, and conflicts arise. The girl, would she really sleep with all the guys? The bossiness, from what I can tell it’s kind of an inborn personality trait. People could discourage it, but I geuss they still had to live with it. Hunting just a pass time? Some social pressure involved, maybe? So there were all kind of methods of dealing with human behaviour inside the group, but the people had to be in the middle of it pretty much all the time, you see my point? Was this happiness, or could this be a living hell, also? My geuss is both. But then again, Chris did mention somewhere, that they would have ‘rich emotional lives, we can hardly imagine’, and I geuss that’s true. But it could also be rich in emotional pain/madness. Is that happiness? You tell me 😀
Ok, maybe my view from yesterdays post was a bit too negative. But I am curious about the dark side, and the actual reality of living like hunter gatherers did/do.
- August 31, 2020 at 7:39 am #25348
Yeah, thats kinda the point. Thats why I called this post: “now what?” I mean, knowing the past is helpful, but only to the point.
As for your personal situation, I’d say that you are torturing yourself being in that situation. I’d leave it asap, move the house or something. As for the girls, i’m with you on this one. I had the same situation in the past. My realisation was that I became so attached because I didn’t have options. After I started to go out more, talk to more girls, and eventually finding someone else, I completely forgot about my crush and was able to function properly on an emotional level. Not sure how this all is realistic for you and obviously you can’t change it overnight, but this is my happiness advice to you 😉
- August 31, 2020 at 10:00 pm #25375
Ah, well this isn’t my personal situation anymore for a few years now. Don’t get me wrong, I had a good time living in that squat! Met fun people, lots a space for creativity, always someone around to talk to or hang out with when you wanted. But I also noticed, that living in a small community, things could get quite difficult, emotionally and all, when conflicts would arise, to the point you felt like you had to walk on eggshelves, or you wanted to avoid this or that person. You would had to discuss again for the 1000th time why the dishes were not done, or why this or that person didn’t pay his share of costs or even discuss if a person had to be kicked out. That’s where my critique comes from, I’m like, hey wait a minute, don’t forget that stuff can get pretty bad, anywhere 😀
About the girl, well it’s just an example about a situation where you could get a bit fucked up, emotionally. I’ll admid, that stuff happened to me, but years ago 😀 In a tribe back in those times, there wouldn’t be that many options maybe, and there wouldn’t be an escape from it, ergo: living hell. But maybe they were happily gangbanging and everyone was welcome, haha.
Butttt I think that people who grew up in that, had probalbly very high skills in dealing with each other, they probably were much better at it than us, who grew up with lots of pricavy, dealing with things behind closed doors and curtains.
Ok, I’m rambling, back to the topic: now what??
- September 1, 2020 at 9:09 am #25400
two stories: I used to have a love / hate relationships and I would stay in it for the good parts, but would want to run away because of the bad parts. Seems like you are in a similar vibe right now. What are the pro’s and con’s of your situation?
In my second story, I used to live with a guy who at first I thought to be a great flatmate but later realised to be a horrible person to co-share. In the end, I realised that logic only got me so far, and since I could not change him, I had to change myself, my way of thinking. When I did this, without doing anything else, my living situation improved. Maybe there is something in this story for you? 🙂
- September 1, 2020 at 8:53 pm #25431
Like I said, I’m talking about situations I’ve been through – in the past. – This is not my current situation anymore, for a few years now 🙂
Now I live in a building alone, with seven small studio’s and 1 landlord, and my neighbour, who I share a bathroom with, he DIED, and no-one including my landlord even told me! His stuff is still in his place and all. I don’t even know he has got family left. Now that’s is the complete opposite of having arguments with housemates, right!? I geuss I’d rather cry about some girl, haha 😀
But yes, changing your mindset might improve things, up to a certain point.
About the now what?? question: here’s a shot: some kind of anarcho-communism, which isn’t seperated from everything else, but embedded in it, like a network of communities that support each other, and within that network, transparent organisations that keep everything in check and who have some power to do so. For example to make sure the rainforest is not disapearing, or poison is not being dumped in the ocean etc. etc. the wellbeing of our whole ecosystem and everything in it as the main purpose, where people can still be people, not just gears in a self destructing machine.
- September 3, 2020 at 10:52 am #25467
i dont understand the question 🙂
For example to make sure the rainforest is not disapearing, or poison is not being dumped in the ocean etc. etc.
> good luck with that
- September 3, 2020 at 11:24 pm #25480
I’m talking about your own question in the first post. We are in the modern world, we are kind of civilized to death, we should remember where we came from, but now what?
I just gave an example of an alternative system to our current. It’s kind of at the root of what makes us unhappy, right? Neoliberal capitalism, or how you wanna call it. The thing is, a lot of times you’ll hear: we should go back to small communities, no central government control…but then the problem arises: we are with so many, what kind of organisation will protect the rainforest -for example-, should we give power to an organisation like that? How can we make sure we they won’t abuse it…
- September 4, 2020 at 9:05 am #25488
You are right, we are too many, so we can’t go back. Now what? I don’t know about neoliberal capitalism or anarcho-communism, but I know happiness 🙂 I know that we can solve of the leading world problems if we just focus on making people happier. For that, we don’t need to change world order, to somehow instal new political system and move away from current world order. We just need to change the way people think. This is possible and realisable, today, right now. This much I know 🙂
- September 21, 2020 at 5:56 am #25858James LynchParticipant
I love Shinzen Young! I’m glad to see him mentioned on this forum!
Our “most recommended books” line up extraordinarily closely. I usually mention the Science of Enlightenment, and the other book I often recommend is a personal finance book called “Early Retirement Extreme.”
Chris, Shinzen, and Jacob Lund Fisker (the ERE author) have all had a profound impact on me.
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