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Western society and happiness (serious stuff)
#1
I realize people come to this forum for fun. But I think this post might be interesting for everybody to read and to give it some thought, as it might change your perception on life.



Have you ever felt unhappy about your life? Because of all the things that you have to do, because of everything that is expected from you, because you get a limited amount of choices in life? Everything is planned out for us as a child and when we think or act differently, this behavior is discouraged. This doesn't change much in adulthood.

We might THINK we make our own choices, but the truth is this: we are forced into a certain way of thinking from the very beginning of our childhood. Structure can be a really good thing, but western society doesn't allow thinking outside of the box and mostly ignores what people want, even though people usually don't realize this.

At the age of 5, our creative potential is about 80%.
At the age of 8, this creative potential has alreay been reduced to about 20%.
At the age of 40, it is very hard to think outside of the box at all, because we have nearly no creativity left in us.

From the moment we go to school for the very first time, we are taught to do what is expected from us. We have to fit in a certain structure and way of thinking and behaving. We are taught to 'study hard, work hard and get a good job' and to do this in a certain structure, while this totally neglects what we want to do. Beside ignoring the fact that we often can't do what we want to do, we are continuously being corrected by parents and teachers. While sometimes correction can be good, it very often isn't. Very often, things that actually aren't wrong, are being corrected, and therefore it kills people's creativity. No wonder we often think adults are boring, right? 90% or more just do exactly as they are told, don't dare to think different. You can't blame these people because they were shaped this way by their environment and they probably don't even know about it. But you are still young and probably more creative. Don't believe everything you are taught.

Here's an example of what I mean:





What I believe is the following:
- People need creative thinking to be themselves, and because of that they need creative thinking to be happy at all in life
- Therefor it is very okay to be different. Even the greatest geniuses in time were all different AND people thought their ideas were stupid most of the time.
- Everybody should be paying attention to moments of just BEING, where they take the time to really feel what is going on in their heads and body. Mindfulness can be a big help to get your mind at peace. This is because we are usually just focussed on doing things, and we ignore our feelings and body. Allow your thoughts and feelings, as they are not wrong, even if society says so.
- Go to bed in time and think your day through. How was your day, how did you feel, what did you do well today?
- Try to stay realistic, as seeing the world as it is increases your happiness. Nobody really understands the world around us, but if you can understand what I am trying to share with you here, this might increase your happiness.
- Don't talk down on yourself, as we are already in a place where very little is right and very much is wrong. If you think something might be wrong, think it through. Are you being realistic?



I challenge you to do the following:
- Put away your phone, laptop and any other distraction
- Close your eyes and focus on your breathing for a minute
- For about 5 minutes, with your eyes closed, try to notice what thoughts are going through your head. Don't force yourself to think, this notice what thoughts come by
- Write down what thoughts and feelings you experienced, for yourself
- (eventually share your experience with us)
Feel free to use materials made for LF2 extended, such as the sprites for Daniel. You can choose to continue it or to use the sprites for a new character. You can find the subforum for LF2 extended under 'projects'.
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#2
(03-22-2018, 09:17 AM)Memento Wrote:  - People need creative thinking to be themselves, and because of that they need creative thinking to be happy at all in life

I dont agree with this point cuze, considering Big Five personality traits all people dont enjoy engaging in creative thinking as much. Those people are low in thread openness and high in thread conscientiousness. They are perfect for military service and i would say that they, generally, dont have problem with schools system at all because they like to obey rules no matter how horrible they are.
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Further more, as we can see in big five, there are many fundamental differences between people, which results in a wide range of unique motivations among them,.. meaning, there is no a single way by which people should live. Everybody choose their own way.
For examples: Extroverts build their life around social events; Industrious people build it around work; Creative around creative thinking; so on..


Points about mindfulness and overal well-being are spotted, but be careful with realistic thing, i dont like that point.
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#3
(03-22-2018, 09:17 AM)Memento Wrote:  Beside ignoring the fact that we often can't do what we want to do, we are continuously being corrected by parents and teachers. While sometimes correction can be good, it very often isn't. Very often, things that actually aren't wrong, are being corrected, and therefore it kills people's creativity.

I disagree with this severely. Children are too ignorant and naive to know what is best for themselves. "I want to be an astronaut", "I want to be a princess". Parents and teachers know better. What children want changes all the time as they acquire new knowledge. Correction is not bad, on the contrary, it is necessary. I also don't see how this is linked to creativity, and how creativity is linked to happiness. Children are often happy (depends) because they are unaware of the negativity in the world and ignore the meaning of their life. Adults are often unhappy for a variety of reasons: sense of purpose, loneliness, negativity, work, health, etc.

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#4
Hope you don't mind me moving this from General Discussion to Philosophy.

Well, I read your post a day or so ago and got some time to invest my two cents in it.

(03-22-2018, 09:17 AM)Memento Wrote:  Everything is planned out for us as a child and when we think or act differently, this behavior is discouraged. This doesn't change much in adulthood.
This is actually an evolutionary thing. If kids were not get taught the ways of doing things, the whole species would've died out. You can see this behavior in pretty much any animal that does more than follow its instincts.

Now, this covers the children but I agree that there are also the formalities adults have to succumb to. I guess that has to do with the "how to deal with others in a way that they won't kill you"-thing that also traces back to pre-stone age.



(03-22-2018, 09:17 AM)Memento Wrote:  We might THINK we make our own choices, but the truth is this: we are forced into a certain way of thinking from the very beginning of our childhood. Structure can be a really good thing, but western society doesn't allow thinking outside of the box and mostly ignores what people want, even though people usually don't realize this.
Totally agree to this! I see this often enough with school and college students trying to squeeze a problem into a method they have learned instead of using their brain properly and adapt the method to the problem. Needless to say this becomes frustrating.



(03-22-2018, 09:17 AM)Memento Wrote:  At the age of 5, our creative potential is about 80%.
At the age of 8, this creative potential has alreay been reduced to about 20%.
At the age of 40, it is very hard to think outside of the box at all, because we have nearly no creativity left in us.
Where do you get these numbers from? I agree that toddlers/kids have a creative potential that adults can only dream of but quantifying this seems pulled out of thin air...



(03-22-2018, 09:17 AM)Memento Wrote:  No wonder we often think adults are boring, right? 90% or more just do exactly as they are told, don't dare to think different.
Again, I am fairly certain this stems from times where a certain codex of coexistance was crucial for survival. Like other regulations, these also evolved into what we know as "moral codex" nowadays.




Interestingly enough, these regulations evolved in parallel in different societies, yielding a behavioral set that differs from culture to culture (then again, what is a "culture" apart from the microbiological things in yogurt? In my opinion, they're also a set of rules/traditions that a group of people follows). Often times, two cultures are incompatible or at least very hard to find a common denominator in.



Saying that you'll have found the "one and only" in a relationship seems absolutely exaggerating, considering that your sample is miniscule compared to the entirety of world's population. For example, why do the people of Iceland still find partners, even though, by statistics, their ideal partner is most likely to be found oversees. What if you don't fall in love with somebody based on their true personality (then again, what is the true personality? Considering that chances of survival are minimal for growing up completely on your own, I don't think we can actually define this) but rather their indoctrinated behavior? I've known several people that have had multicultural relationships, up to marriage. None of those have lasted.




(03-22-2018, 09:17 AM)Memento Wrote:  - People need creative thinking to be themselves, and because of that they need creative thinking to be happy at all in life
Yes and no. Constantly thinking about new ways to tackle problems would probably overload your brain. I mean, yes, you could become creative and design a novel method of walking that is 5% more efficient than the old one. Would that help? Depends, people can be real arses to those behaving abnormal. I think forcing creativity is the wrong way, it should come natural and on regulated tracks. If you wish to rethink everything, starting from the wheel, you might become happy in your problem-solving skills but, considering that humans are some sort of social creatures, you would probably be shunned as a "weirdo" which could be detrimental to your goal of becoming happy.



(03-22-2018, 09:17 AM)Memento Wrote:  - Everybody should be paying attention to moments of just BEING, where they take the time to really feel what is going on in their heads and body. Mindfulness can be a big help to get your mind at peace. This is because we are usually just focussed on doing things, and we ignore our feelings and body. Allow your thoughts and feelings, as they are not wrong, even if society says so.
Again, society abides by arbitrary rules and those that do not are often shunned. Because this is still somewhat current, take the refugee-"crisis" in Europe, with hundreds of thousands of people from the Middle East settling down in Sweden, Germany, etc. Their cultural background is vastly different, and, unsurprisingly, they get in contact with law enforcement a bit more frequently than the rest of the population. Now, is this due to creativity? Probably not, it's just because their thinking differs from the rest. But this also applies to thinking "outside the box", which is essentially the same as "doing things differently from the rest". This is why one should rather focus on imagination instead of completely changing the behavior, as it might lead to trouble (emphasis on "might").




(03-22-2018, 09:17 AM)Memento Wrote:  - Try to stay realistic, as seeing the world as it is increases your happiness. Nobody really understands the world around us, but if you can understand what I am trying to share with you here, this might increase your happiness.
The dreaded "might". Overthinking can also lead to exactly the diametrical opposite. Coming to think of how many so-called "creative minds" decided to end their lives before their biological time was up is slightly scaring, to say the least.




(03-23-2018, 08:26 PM)MangaD Wrote:  I also don't see how this is linked to creativity
Essentially, once people have found a solution to a problem, they will continue to solve it that way, even though there are possible several other, more efficient ways. Using creativity in terms of problem solving is quite neat but rarely seen nowadays.



Essentially, a lack of knowledge (and a lack of someone telling you how it's done) can spark creative thinking. The more you know, the more you are forced to consider several other sides. Where small kids see a square, the adult sees the cube.

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#5
What should I say... Let me try to summarize your wall of text first:

1. Growing up in life and going through education fixates your traits and personalities to suit a roughly unchanging, non-creative society structure
2. 1. causes unhappiness because this prohibits human to find true self

3. Therefore you have to find true self by being creative and listen to passive self, and to stray from mainstream media (as of your example), but it probably extends to mainstream society opinions.
4. Then you will be happy.

Okay... I'll instead present a clip of Metal Gear Solid:




I'll explain in much more precise terms than the video suggests.

1. Education is a progress that both inserts societal norms to individuals and alters the perspective to fit into society when the individuals are deemed eligible to participate in the society.

2a. True self is only a concept that is built on the experience of an individual. You, me, everyone have no right to define a singular goal that leads to an unified happiness

(I know it's against religion, but religion stresses on a common goal which I suggest is not necessarily bound to societal norms. And compared to societal norms religion issues are petty)

2b. Pyramid of Maslow is one of models that can explain the motives of an individual. I suggest to achieve such "true happiness" is heavily dependent on how to achieve self-actualization. I am not sure if you are trying to relate "Self-Actualization" with "Independence of Society norms", and if so this is a fallacy introduced by your own experience.

3. "Listening to your passive self" does not necessarily mean you can achieve higher level of happiness or even improve your understanding of either yourself of society. As I said human ego is built based on owned experience. This reassurance of goal has a side-effect of destabilizing your mental stance, which in turn destabilizes your societal status because to maintain at a committed societal place, the ego often has to alter its rules to fit into society by masking a list of lesser needs. Without proper counseling, reflecting inner desires will possibly put the individual at a haphazard position.

To strengthen this point, human minds are fluid and even the term "true happiness" can change over time. Giving an individual that "abandoning a plan because the commitment is demanding is better than working through the plan" is dangerous and inhibiting development of the mind.

4. The society, including education, is a massive feedback system that promotes the participation of the society in specific ways, which includes using currencies and positions to promote behavior that protects the health of society. Creativity must definitely not be considered as something placed against society. The society instead adheres different human needs inside it, and promotes whichever creative products that may enhance the functioning of society.

For example, a commercial product can be more well-recognized with proper advertisement, and advertisement requires creativity devoted to stage a product in appealing way to the public. In the other end anarchic material are legally prohibited in most countries. Although the media of creative material are different, they obviously are working on opposite direction, one assisting the society by helping cash flow because it promotes a product, and another inhibiting the society by inducing chaos to the government.

Self goals are therefore, by education bound to the society. Although it cannot be said self goals are fixated to help the society exist, society encompasses more than self goals, it also takes a great scope of needs including physiological and mental needs. To achieve "happiness" is an abstract thing, because human has need for large variety of matter, it cannot be concluded into a single sentence that "Self-actualization is the absolute best way to achieve true happiness". In fact this sentence is wrong because humans have the right to measure the necessity of their different desires, as result the society often have a large choice of answers that may satisfy portions of their needs and it is wrong to blindly state that "personal choice is better than choices give by society".
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#6
From what I gather from @Memento 's post:
* We are indoctrinated by society into conforming towards a specific behavior.
* People lose their creativity(and also consequently become unhappy) as a result of this conformity.
* Being willing to be different means being happy?
* Some advice on self-reflection.

Regarding conformity, I'd like to point out that conformity is born as a result of human nature; a desire to work in a team, to be part of the tribe. Being different means being against the group is a "shortcut" instinct that is deeply ingrained in our heads. Even as children, people will take notice when you are different from the group, from something as simple as just looking like a different race/gender to having different thoughts or interests. What happens when people notice that you don't fit in with everyone else? You get ostracized, stigmatized, bullied - certainly not things that would make you happy either as Silverthorn has rightly pointed out. This is why we have the concept of a public "face" (as we call it in asian culture, I think it is also called a "mask" in western culture). In your own home, you're free to be yourself, but out there, you're expected to conform to certain societal standards so that people can actually work together as well as to protect yourself, even if the standards don't actually make sense in context.

At the same time, I don't agree with your blanket statement that you have to be different to be happy. There are people who fit within the societal standards or are perfectly happy to live within them as Marko pointed out. I get your point that people should take time to self-reflect and ask themselves what they really want - I greatly encourage that myself, but saying that everyone wants to be different and applying an individual philosophy to society at large is an extreme assumption on your part. Variety for the sake of variety does nothing but fracture what holds humans together while allowing genuinely toxic ideas to grow. Variety exists to allow flexibility and facilitate improvement, not an inherently desired end goal.

Regarding creativity, it boils down to the hypocrisy of society expecting people to be more creative while also demanding others to deliver on results. Being creative involves looking at a problem at a different angle and suggesting an alternative solution from there - this is something that is time-consuming since it requires research, taxing on resources be it mental or physical, and risky since it carries the possibility of mistakes or being ostracized as a weirdo as mentioned above. But here's the thing - nobody cares about the feelings of the random person who we're never going to meet or socialize with, especially when our monkey brains can only really care about a hundred people at most. We just want the product we bought to produce results, our investment into it better be worth it. People only want to latch onto success, not failure. Ideas are cheap; there are billions of people in the world and billions of ideas, only the people who make an idea a reality get any recognition. And not everyone is well-off enough(or have nothing left to lose) to be able to take the consequences of a gamble - we have obligations, not necessarily to society at large, but to the people we actually care about. When you are young, you aren't given as much responsibility and your mistakes don't hold as much consequence, especially since you have little to lose, but as you grow older, your obligations grow ever larger and you cannot afford such risks, especially if you are not in a position of power to make changes to the various societal systems in place. Even if you are one of the rare people who don't feel/have obligations to others, you still have the obligation to protect yourself and maintain your own standard of living.

In short, you want to be different? Sure, just don't expect people to catch you when you fall while they latch onto you if you succeed, and don't drag other people down with you.
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#7
If you want creativity out of humans, one very effective way is, you force them to into dire situations.

It is a very draining and weightful thing on humans but it works. Just look at world wars where technological advances had some colossal leaps.



It is a part of who we are.
If you are cornered, you either force think a way out, use all possible resources to make things work and you innovate. Or you fail and die.

Current society is far from that. We are all laid back, no worry of dying, no giant threats, calm environments, convenient mass media consumption (game/music/video) why innovate?

99% of work on the planet is being done to fill the pockets of 1% and most of the work is just moving along with very small scientific advances.



People are too chained and dumbed down thanks to starting from 1895 radio invention mass media broadcasting has begun but it wasn't as effective as visual content.

Then came the television era at the 1962 when The first public satellite television signals from Europe to North America were relayed via the Telstar satellite over the Atlantic ocean on 23 July 1962.

This was the beginning of the end. As more and more people started becoming addicted to easy to consume infinite videos, the creativity of the world died down.

Then commercial Internet service providers (ISPs) began to emerge in the very late 1980s. And this was the nail in the coffin.

Now it is easier than ever to be lost in sea of videos/games and not many people have will to resist. Bright minds spending time to solve artificial puzzles (video games) when they could be tackling actual scientific problems.



Currently, innovation mostly comes from people who want to be rich.

Some people see potential in certain things and leave all other work, focus on making their dreams reality and get rich.

It is risky but it happens. There are 7 billion of us anyways.

I don't know what point I am trying to make at this point, leaving this post open ended.
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#8
(03-24-2018, 10:06 AM)Silverthorn Wrote:  
(03-23-2018, 08:26 PM)MangaD Wrote:  I also don't see how this is linked to creativity
Essentially, once people have found a solution to a problem, they will continue to solve it that way, even though there are possible several other, more efficient ways. Using creativity in terms of problem solving is quite neat but rarely seen nowadays.

Essentially, a lack of knowledge (and a lack of someone telling you how it's done) can spark creative thinking. The more you know, the more you are forced to consider several other sides. Where small kids see a square, the adult sees the cube.

But ignorance is endless and new problems arise every day. Creativity may end for many problems but it is demanded for new problems. When you acquire knowledge your creativity to tackle certain issues may be over, but it can also lead to creativity to solve new mysteries using the knowledge we already have. I don't see why this has to make a person unhappy.

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Stop existing. Start living.
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#9
Silverthorn Wrote:Hope you don't mind me moving this from General Discussion to Philosophy.
I found it kinda reinforced his point about this outside-the-box thing, with the thread being in the seemingly "wrong" subforum. Very meta!

Silverthorn edited this post 04-07-2018 03:44 PM because:
2meta4me!
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#10
I haven't read all the replies yet nor do I have time for a big reply atm, find I found some great answers :) Also, you guys have changed my mind about creativity. It was an idea that I had, and admittedly, creativity doesn't necessarily enforces happiness. But in the end this topic is mainly meant to make you guys think the subject through and I'm glad to see some discussion here!


I will reply to this post from MangaD just because I need to clearify what I meant.

(03-23-2018, 08:26 PM)MangaD Wrote:  
(03-22-2018, 09:17 AM)Memento Wrote:  Beside ignoring the fact that we often can't do what we want to do, we are continuously being corrected by parents and teachers. While sometimes correction can be good, it very often isn't. Very often, things that actually aren't wrong, are being corrected, and therefore it kills people's creativity.

I disagree with this severely. Children are too ignorant and naive to know what is best for themselves. "I want to be an astronaut", "I want to be a princess". Parents and teachers know better. What children want changes all the time as they acquire new knowledge. Correction is not bad, on the contrary, it is necessary. I also don't see how this is linked to creativity, and how creativity is linked to happiness. Children are often happy (depends) because they are unaware of the negativity in the world and ignore the meaning of their life. Adults are often unhappy for a variety of reasons: sense of purpose, loneliness, negativity, work, health, etc.

I completely agree that children need a lot of guidance and I'm not saying corrections are wrong in general. Children need to be corrected and they need rules, and they don't even need to understand why they have to follow the rules until a certain age. They just have to be guided into the right direction and when the time comes, they start thinking for themselves and make their own considerate choices (hopefully). But correcting isn't always the way to go.

It goes wrong when parents correct the wrong things, simply because it doesn't fit into their way of thinking. For example: if a kid wants to play a game he himself invented, but is told to go play football like the other kids do because the other thing is 'weird'. This is a rather 'big' example, but it's happening all the time and I believe parents often don't take the right things into consideration when raising a child. It's like when a child is like 0-5 years old, everybody loves it when he finds out new stuff by being creative. After some time, kids start using their creativity in a more adult way, they start thinking things through, which leads to both good a bad things. The bad things need correction (for example, basically all kids will try to manipulate their parents, which requires creative thinking as well). And the good things they use their creativity for, should be encouraged. So instead of just telling a kid to stop drawing, give the kid some structure so he can do both drawing and the things that the parents want them to do. Or when a kids comes to a conclusion by thinking in a certain way, try to really understand how he's thinking, before correcting it, because it may not be a thinking error but a creative way to look at things. If it's still total bogus in the end, it then needs some correction of course :p
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