Author Topic: Do you agree with Thoreau?  (Read 26015 times)

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Do you agree with Thoreau?
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2006, 03:57:17 pm »
Hmmm. The results of this poll and your comments, dela, have made me think about the subject of happiness more. I started keeping a happiness log, and, while it is too early to tell for sure, I have learned that I am happy a lot more than I originally thought. However, when moments of unhappiness come, they tend to overshadow and block out the happiness, the way a cloud can block out the infinitely more powerful rays of the sun.

I found out some interesting statistics courtesy of our wonderful Internet: "The average American is only 69 percent happy, and happy only 54 percent of the time (Seligman, 2002).  Also, at any given time, one in every four Americans is suffering from mild depression (Seligman, 1994).  While the happiness level of over one quarter of the American population falls between 57 and 71 percent, and 8 percent are even less than 57 percent happy, one fifth of Americans are over 85 percent happy." This comes from http://thehappinessshow.com/HappinessResearchStillNeeded.htm. Also they say, "Nigeria is now the happiest nation in the world, followed by Mexico, Venezuela, El Salvador, and Puerto Rico, with the U.S. ranked 16th."
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Offline delalluvia

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Re: Do you agree with Thoreau?
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2006, 08:18:41 pm »
Quote
I have learned that I am happy a lot more than I originally thought. However, when moments of unhappiness come, they tend to overshadow and block out the happiness, the way a cloud can block out the infinitely more powerful rays of the sun.

Front,

Do those moments of unhappiness overwhelm the happy times because YOU let it or is the unhappiness - when it happens - desperate life/death/clinical and thus overwhelming?

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Re: Do you agree with Thoreau?
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2006, 11:49:46 am »
I suspect the latter. The primitive part of the brain seems to respond more intensely to threats and bad things. There has been research that asked children about their earliest memories and children seem to remember bad things that happen to them much more than good things. But also, a person's orientation, whether an optimist or a pessimist, is a factor on differing perceptions of happy and sad. We all know curmudgeons, those who respond negatively to neutral happenings or even positive things, and pollyannas, who have the opposite view. Another way of putting this that has to do with the movie is, which do you prefer, tragedies or comedies? Brokeback Mountain is a tragedy but many people respond to it because it "hurts so good." It's not as black and white as that, I know.
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Giancarlo

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Re: Do you agree with Thoreau?
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2006, 01:59:38 pm »
I'm a joyful optimist despite having plenty of hurt in my own life. I do believe we are happier then we could ever imagine. Even though I've been backstabbed by friends recently, I felt that I have to live and understand how beautiful life really is.

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Re: Do you agree with Thoreau?
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2006, 10:48:07 pm »
Giancarlo that was positively Felliniesque!
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Offline Lynne

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Re: Do you agree with Thoreau?
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2006, 04:20:22 pm »
Ii found another quote attributed to Thoreau:

"We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal and then leap in the dark to our success."
– Henry David Thoreau

Does the 'leap in the dark' part remind anyone else of Jack?
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Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Do you agree with Thoreau?
« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2006, 02:08:05 pm »
The "leap in the dark" part does, but not the "to our success" part. That's a really wonderful quote though, Lynn.

I find it sadly ironic that Jack, who broke free of the crushing poverty and hypocrisy of Wyoming and became a successful and well-off salesman with an intact family was lamenting near the end of the story that "Nothing ever came to my hand the right way." Success certainly does not automatically bring happiness, it's true.
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Offline Lynne

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Re: Do you agree with Thoreau?
« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2006, 02:30:00 pm »
The "leap in the dark" part does, but not the "to our success" part. That's a really wonderful quote though, Lynn.

I find it sadly ironic that Jack, who broke free of the crushing poverty and hypocrisy of Wyoming and became a successful and well-off salesman with an intact family was lamenting near the end of the story that "Nothing ever came to my hand the right way." Success certainly does not automatically bring happiness, it's true.

I completely agree, FrontRanger.  My reading was that the 'success' is by no means a guarantee, but that the leap is necessary to have a shot at the success...I guess it is that willingness to take the leap that reminds me so much of beloved Jack.  And why I want to be more like Jack.

The 'nothing ever came to my hand the right way' always makes me sad...it's a reminder for me that how you get where you want to be is as important (or more) than the destination.
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Re: Do you agree with Thoreau?
« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2006, 12:58:38 am »
After all this time...I ain't found somethin else to believe in...

Most people DO think that lives are passed in quiet desperation...according to this poll! According to this poll, Thoreau was right! But, he didn't have the Internet, and we do! So now, we can complain as much as Jack does about our lot. Maybe it will do as much good as Jack's complainin did him, but at least it led him to companionship, and believe me, U can withstand a lot more if it's a "we're all in this together" type of an unsatisfactory situation!!
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Re: Do you agree with Thoreau?
« Reply #19 on: August 23, 2006, 03:41:26 pm »
"One thing all happy people share is that they all had taken a very significant risk in their lives." - Gail SHeehy, Passages

I just thought this was an interesting quote.
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