Why do we want to be happy?


The question is really simple, but at the same time really deep. Why do we seek for a life that would make us happy?

Why for example wouldn't we want to be sad? Or to be neither happy nor sad? Why do we want to have pleasure?


Posted 2014-07-25T22:12:50.400

Reputation: 29

Question was closed 2014-07-28T15:13:11.723

1Our brains reward us with dopamine when we do things that favor our reproductive success. Maybe you would respond by asking "why do we like dopamine?", but this is, at least, a reduction of your question to neuroscience and philosophy of mind. – Tim kinsella – 2014-07-26T02:15:02.240

1Also, here's a marginal note that may or may not be illuminating: Can you come up with a non-circular definition of "pleasure" which is better than "that which is sought after"? – Tim kinsella – 2014-07-26T02:27:16.943

It's cultural and economic. If you're at the survival level, you don't worry about being happy, just about getting something to eat. It's Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Since most of us are posting from relatively well-off locations, we see a lot of happiness-striving around us. If we were in a refugee camp in Somalia we wouldn't see so much self-actualization going on. Or Internet chatting. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs

– user4894 – 2014-07-26T03:08:56.317

This is the same question I posted here.

– Hakim – 2014-07-26T10:25:35.770

We seek change. – Asphir Dom – 2014-07-26T15:43:04.440

The question "why should we want to be happy?" is a philosophical question, but your question is about human behavior, i.e. belongs to psychology. – user132181 – 2014-07-26T16:19:55.850

This question appears to be off-topic because as formulated answers would come from the fields of cognitive science or psychology, not philosophy. – Rex Kerr – 2014-07-27T05:18:05.707

@RexKerr it has nothing to do with stuff you mentioned. Will translate for you like this - Why there is pleasure in the universe? What is relation between pleasure and sufferings? Is pleasure more important than sufferings? And so so so on. Still want to delegate this matter to miserable in neuroscience? – Asphir Dom – 2014-07-27T23:41:44.170

@AsphirDom - Yes, those are all psychology / cog sci questions now (maybe with some evolutionary biology and neuroscience thrown in). Critically, they are all addressable empirically now. – Rex Kerr – 2014-07-28T04:13:30.987

As asked, this question can't be answered without appealing to opinion. @user8578, can you define what you mean by "happiness." Even then, it'd probably be too broad. – James Kingsbery – 2014-07-28T15:15:42.230

@RexKerr They will never be addressed empirically, because of qualia. If you think they will you did not understand fully what qualia is. Fully. – Asphir Dom – 2014-07-31T23:21:37.743

1@AsphirDom - I am certain that I do not understand fully what qualia are, but I wonder who could possibly justify a claim that they did understand it fully? (I can envision strategies that Vitalists used, but we all know how well those worked out, hm?) – Rex Kerr – 2014-08-01T00:23:37.347

If you wonder you assume there is a right answer/method/idea/process. There are people who understood it fully, even if that fully means better than everybody else. Do not assume there are no trailblazers. – Asphir Dom – 2014-08-02T14:26:02.217

No answers