PHILOMADRID

PhiloMadrid - Pub Philosophy Meetings in Madrid

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Is happiness in the mind?

Is happiness in the mind? By Richard

First and foremost we must define the word happiness and then see if happiness is in the mind (only)…

Returning to what Lawrence wrote back in 2004, in happiness it is necessary a "feel good factor", if that is true, the answer to the question is easy to predict for the simple reason that a human being will never live in a permanent state accompanied by a feel good factor. The answer to the question: are you happy? put to the same person 20 times a day will be yes and no if the person concerned is sincere in his answers. So all in all, as a permanent or a long lasting state, happiness is in the mind only.

But we understand happiness in a different way. Although the presence of a feel good factor is indispensable, it is not the only condition. A feel good factor should be seen in conjunction with a feel bad factor or, at least, with a feel neutral factor, because these things go together. By the same token one cannot talk about death separately from life. In other words, in order to reach happiness, a person must experience what to be down and out is or must be aware that neutral, "normal" situations are part and parcel of happiness. One should have a clear and contrastive point of reference. One cannot say that they know what happiness is without experiencing sadness. In that case we think that happiness is not in the mind only. And our rough judgement is that the greatest majority of us, if not all of us, have experienced happiness. The main problem is what to do so that this state of wellness / happiness could be maintained?

In order to have a clearer picture of happiness and for the purpose of making our line of argument easier, we are restricting this notion to an individual understanding of happiness as long as it does no harm to others. We know it is wrong to do so, because how could you feel happy if you are surrounded by social injustice and sometimes even by social mess? But for our purpose we must put aside this factor of a collective happiness.

Another self-imposed restriction on our considerations is the here-and-now situation, namely we think of a homo-ludens society. We are not capable of writing how the notion of happiness has evolved in the course of human existence on Earth. I wish Lawrence had written something about it.

Czeslaw Milosz, the Polish Nobel Prize winner for Literature in 1980(?) in his essays written while living in California (he was a poet and a scholar at Stanford University) says that a very small percentage of people can feel happiness (in our sense of the word). They are usually artists and some academics who feel enormous vocation for what they do. We would add that those people do not have a clear-cut distinction between their professional and their non-professional lives, because in most other cases this difference is tremendous. No wonder when people in the street are asked: "what would you do if you won a lot of money", the first answer is: "I would stop working".

Work is seen as a heavy load because they have to lump it. Work is a sort of killjoy. Are there any echoes from Paul Lafargue? In his essay (late 19th century) "The Right to Be Lazy" he called work "burden" and adds that only laziness in combination with creativity can bring progress to the human kind. And this Marxist was very consistent. Before committing suicide together with his wife (a Karl Marx's daughter), he issued a statement saying that he regretted dedicating all his life to work (he was a Marxist revolutionary working for the "2nd International) that stole his pleasure in life existence, sapped his physical and intellectual energy and his will-power.

We may agree with him as long as we understand work as drudgery. If it is not, if a person does not feel himself/herself as a square peg in a round hole, work is necessary for their own sake, especially most men who feel that they are needed; this is why a man cannot stand his retirement, because he feels himself a piece of garbage on a rubbish tip; and therefore there is a much higher rate of suicides among men than those among women.

Whatever the opinions of a general population are, there is a formula for happiness. At first it sounds outrageous, but a new wave of psychologists has worked on that issue. The father of Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman has constructed such a formula, which is for all, but depending on the outcome of the tests, a sort of recipe will be individually applied.

One thing is certain: in order to prolong our momentarily feelings of happiness, it is wrong to increase the moment of those transient bursts of happiness but rather space them within a longer time-span. If sb loves travelling, increasing the number of trips, contrary to common thought, will not increase their enduring level of happiness. They will feel satiated. Instead they should space them out in time. And the same works with other things.

We should not talk about happiness completely detached from reality. How does "the Ortega's soy yo y mi circunstancia" fit into the picture of the level of happiness?

In general happiness depends on the purchasing power a person has, but only up till a certain level, say "upper intermediate" using a teacher's term. Higher than that level any increase in purchasing power of a person does not provide a higher level of their happiness. This has been proven.

Marriage or co-habitation makes people happier, an involvement in social life, too. Why? Because MAN as a social being wants to share their feelings, their potentials with others, especially with someone whom they love. Voluntary work gives them, particularly women, a lot of gratification.

A very important thing is to create win-win situations. It is not like winning or losing but everyone involved wins, like befriending someone, doing something for the community, etc. Let's take this essay: I am creating it for those who will read it. My ambition is to make the readers think and if that is achieved, everyone involved has won. No-one has lost even if it hasn't pleased anybody. If the essay has caused a reader to react critically, it won't be bad. The worst thing would be if it fell completely flat.

Health does not seem to have any bearings on one's happiness unless you have experienced your own health problems and you automatically start to give value to health.

A level of education does not give you more happiness. It sounds incredible, but more educated you are, less happy you feel when it comes to solving problems. Whereas a slightly educated person sees things in black and white, you distinguish a lot of shades of the same colour due to your expanded vision.

Religious people feel happier than non-religious, because religions manage to instil hope for the future creating meaning in life.

But let's return to our personal, individual happiness. How to define what is particularly important to each of us? You must do a long and a comprehensive test made by Seligman in order to discover your own strengths and those most important ones are called signature strengths and you must practise them on daily basis. In hard times those personal strengths will definitely maintain you alive and will prevent you from sliding into depression and in better times they will give you a lot of happiness and your happiness will not be only in your mind but you will live it.

Seligman distinguishes between pleasure and gratification (Spanish speakers: attention! "gratificación" is a false friend.) He says: "The pleasures are about the senses and the emotions. The gratifications are about enacting personal strengths and virtues".

The worst part is that our external circumstances very rarely help us put our personal strengths into practice, especially at a professional level. And this is a real snag. We are stuck because most of us have to spend at least one-third of our adult time (professional life) in places where we feel like a fish out of water.

Obviously there are exceptions that prove the rule. There are people who while at work lose their notion that they are at work, the fact that Seligman calls "a flow". Workaholics are not in my mind now; I am thinking of those people who would keep working even if they were not paid, because they are so much involved in their work that this gives them a lot of gratification.

The economic structure of post-industrial societies do not help much to develop our personal strengths in our professional lives, because it is our profession that must adapt itself to the changing environment than the other way round. So most of our strengths, unfortunately, must be practised during non-professional life. And as the latter is very unstable (homo luden's fashion makes us keep up with the Joneses or stoop to temptations, not necessarily in the religious sense of the word, but rather commercial), in practical terms only a few have this privilege to live authentic and enduring happiness (in our sense of the word). But whatever the situation, everyone can feel snatches of happiness that come and go and, sadly enough, we are unable to retain them for a longer period of time although we wish we would. Therefore enduring happiness is rather in our minds than in real reality, even though most of us wearing masks pretend that it is otherwise.

Richard


Martin Seligman (2002:112), "Authentic Happiness", Free Press, New York


PS. Sorry for being late, but I hope you will forgive me because all the languages I know say the same thing:

UK Better late than never.

PT Mais vale tarde do que nunca.

ES Más vale tarde que nunca.

DE Besser spät als nie. "Better late than never"

SE Bättre sent än aldrig. "Better late than never"

PL Lepiej późno niż wcale. "Better late than never"

RU Lutshe pozdno, tshem nikogda. "Better late than never"


Take care,

See you on Sunday


Thursday, December 25, 2008

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Is happiness in the mind? + Vips photos

Dear friends,

I hope you had a good Christmas. And thank you for sending me so many greeting cards and messages.

And to stay with the festive spirit this Sunday we are discussing: Is happiness in the mind? Of course, we have discussed happiness many time in the past, but this is an new angle worth exploring.

In the meantime Richard has sent me some photos he took last Sunday at VIPs. It seems as if some good time was had all round. This is the link for the photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/VIPSMadrid21122008#

See you Sunday and have fun

Lawrence


IF YOU DON’T GET AN EMAIL BY FRIDAY PLEASE LET ME KNOW


+++++++++MEETING DETAILS+++++++++
SUNDAY 6.00pm – 8.30pm at Molly Malone's Pub, probably downstairs----
-Email: philomadrid@yahoo.co.uk
-Yahoo group >> philomadridgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.co.uk <
-Old essays: www.geocities.com/philomadrid
- Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com/
-Group photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo
-My tel 606081813
-metro: Bilbao : buses: 21, 149, 147
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Dimas Taxi service: mobile 627 219 316 email dimasobregon@hotmail.com

TINA Flat http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/photosphilo/TINAFLAT

**********HOLIDAY FLATS**********
Mayte; Almería (Villa de Níjar); http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/HOLIDAY_FLAT_mayte_AlmerAVillaDeNJar
*************************************


from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Is happiness in the mind? + Vips photos







Tuesday, December 16, 2008

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: The Spanish Character + lunch with Monica Sunday before the meeting

The Spanish Character + lunch with Monica Sunday before the meeting


Dear friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: the Spanish character. An unusual topic for a philosophy debate but certainly fascinating. I am not going to be in Madrid for the rest of the week hence the early email and absence of essay.

In the meantime, Monica and friends have suggested to meet on Sunday for a Christmas lunch/snack before the meeting, these are the details: Meet VIPS in Calle Fuencarral at 4pm.

For those who want to read Richard’s excellent essay on Male-Female Psychology this is the link on the blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com/2008/12/malefemale-psychology.html

Take care and see you Sunday

Lawrence


IF YOU DON’T GET AN EMAIL BY FRIDAY PLEASE LET ME KNOW


+++++++++MEETING DETAILS+++++++++
SUNDAY 6.00pm – 8.30pm at Molly Malone's Pub, probably downstairs----
-Email: philomadrid@yahoo.co.uk
-Yahoo group >> philomadridgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.co.uk <
-Old essays: www.geocities.com/philomadrid
- Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com/
-Group photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo
-My tel 606081813
-metro: Bilbao : buses: 21, 149, 147
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Dimas Taxi service: mobile 627 219 316 email dimasobregon@hotmail.com

TINA Flat http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/photosphilo/TINAFLAT

**********HOLIDAY FLATS**********
Mayte; Almería (Villa de Níjar); http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/HOLIDAY_FLAT_mayte_AlmerAVillaDeNJar
*************************************


from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: The Spanish Character + lunch with Monica Sunday before the meeting







Male–Female Psychology


Essay by Richard on Male-Female Psychology


Male–Female Psychology


There is no doubt whatsoever that there are staggering psychological differences between men and women, but unfortunately most us do not take those differences seriously and the consequences are that we have so many broken relationships. Some of us are wiser when the chips are down or when it comes to the crunch, but sometimes it is too late to put up the pieces together. What is done can't be undone. There's no use crying over spilt milk. To be wise afterwards is a normal reaction in human beings, at least this proverbial saying demonstrates that.


UK It is easy to be wise after the event.

It is too late to shut the stable-door after the horse has bolted.

PT Depois de a casa arrombada, trancas à / na porta.

"After the house broken into, bars on-the door"

É fácil ser prudente depois do acontecimento "Is easy be prudent after the event"

ES ¡A buenas horas mangas verdes ! "At good hours sleeves green"

El niño ahogado, tapar el pozo. "The child drowned, cover (infinit.) the well"

Después del caballo hurtado, cerrar la caballeriza.

"After the horse stolen, close (infinit.) the stable"

DE Durch Schaden wird man klug "Through pity becomes one wise"

SE Av skadan blir man vis. "By damage-the becomes one wise"

Det är lätt att vara efterklok. "It is easy to be "after-wise (=wise afterwards)"

PL Mądry Polak po szkodzie. "Wise Pole after damage"

RU Posle dela za sovetom ne xodjat."After act after (=for) advice they not go."

Zadnim umom krepok "Anterior reason (Instr) [is] strong"


What we are saying is not that all women are the same and all men are the same, but there is some line of behaviour which is common to most men and most women.


Some experts in human relations say that it is not necessary to introduce huge changes in order to adapt ourselves to our partner, some small ones will suffice but it is our fault that we do not want to know about those differences, because we are stubborn and deeply ingrained in our different gender instincts which prevent us from understanding the heart of the matter: to respect our differences. Those differences make us laugh and we do not take them seriously as we should.


It has been emphasized many times during our sessions that we must always look for the key to everything in the brain. The same is in the case of psychological differences between the genders.


A man's brain is single focused whereas a woman's brain is multi-task. Some researchers think that it is due to the fact that a woman's brain has a larger corpus callosum, the nerves connectors between the two hemispheres of the brain and stronger connections between various parts of the brain, gives a woman more multifunctional abilities that may be exercised at the same time.


What does it all mean? It means that she can "record" almost everything at the same time. I was astonished myself when my ex, years after the event, was able to tell me not only what I was wearing at that time, but also what the waitress was wearing and where the guests were sitting and what the restaurant looked like and was able to mention other details. I am absolutely unable to follow a tv film and read something serious at the same time. Many women are able to do that, even 3 things at the same time.


What are the implications of this in stressful situations? Whereas women score more points than men in the previous context, here they suffer more, because they are unable to disconnect when they are under heavy stress. After a stressful day a man comes back home and disconnects easily by switching on tv and watching some trifle programme. It helps him to forget about the problem for a while he has had. A woman is unable to do that, because she is always connected to everything; she behaves like a live wire. Gray says that in this sense woman's work is never done, because she will always have something in her mind that needs doing


A woman misunderstands and downplays the man's reaction to stress, because her instincts tell her that in such a situation what should be done is to switch off the box and talk. So what does she do? She wants to help her partner by asking him questions, by being "helpful", in other words by getting him to speak. But the man will never speak in an off-hand way. He must be prepared to talk, he must know what to say. And in order to do that he has to think everything over on his own first without being disturbed. So he goes to another room, but the woman follows him. She wants to be"nice" to him; she behaves in such a way she would like to be treated by her partner in situations when she is overwhelmed by stress.


A woman, on the other hand is ready to talk right away and off the cuff. She needs a good listener and someone who will constantly ask her questions helping her to give vent to her feelings, because this is what she does when she is overwhelmed. Many a time to a man her monologue is incoherent having sometimes no rhyme or reason, because to him a speech or a monologue must lead to finding possible solutions to the problems. But the woman in such situations does not want solutions. She wants to be listened to, although it is extremely hard for her partner to do that, because his intentions when he has problems are to find solutions and not venting his feelings. This is why he interrupts her "mumbo jumbo" in order to seriously help her, but she does not understand it. And he does not understand that she needs simply to talk expressing her feelings and not finding solutions. So most of these situations end up in an unnecessary argument.


In other words, the genders communicate differently: man uses a rational train of thought that has a clear objective once he is not ready to do that. If he is not, he simply refuses to speak. He is unable to think what he is going to say and talk about it at the same time (do you remember: a single focus) A woman's way is different: she can do it at the same time in spite of being incoherent or inconsistent.


All of this is confirmed by brain researchers. The IPL (Inferior Parietal Lobule) is located just above the ears and the left IPF is more developed in men, which is associated with time and speed and with abilities of 3D environment. In women the right IPF is larger and is associated with the feelings and emotions.


Women have a larger and deeper limbic system (hypothalamus, hippocampus and amygdala, which is the emotional brain centre), which makes thewomen more prone to feelings and emotions that are always present in her mind. In men it is said that amygdala has more connectors to the visual part of the cortex which makes them much more reactive to the visual stimuli than women. This is clearly seen in a different sexual behaviour of the two genders. To be actively involved in a sexual act, men, contrary to women, do not need any psychological approach, only a visual stimuli will do. Nature must have established that, because otherwise the human race would never have been preserved; procreation could not have been hindered by a psychological state of the man.


Psychological differences between the genders also stem from hormonal differences. Recent research into these matters (see the sources below) shows that testosterone, which has not only sexual functions, plays a very important role in lowering stress levels in men. At the same time it helps man in competitive environments where deadlines must be reached, objectives must be achieved, etc. For men achieving certain pre-established goals have always been very important. From the time immemorial, men have always had to carry out their tasks in adverse circumstances, so the body had to adapt itself to those conditions from the very beginning.


In women it has always been oxytocin that helped them to carry on with their tasks that had never anything to do with the competitive world. This hormone is associated with sharing, nurturing, helping, co-operating, caring, etc.


For the last 30-40 years women hve been getting into the man's world of competition, etc. Today nobody doubts that some women are even better professionally prepared than men in certain areas, but few people call our attention to the fact that women are not biologically prepared to carry on working in this competitive world. Is it a coincidence that breast cancer has increased between 10-20 times in the last 40 years?

And nowadays women suffer from depression twice as much as men do.


Obviously not all this must be ascribed to the consequences of the woman's professional work in the man's competitive environment. But it is highly probable that

there is some truth in it. It is not wrong that women want to do their professional career, but they must not forget about nurturing their feminine side producing oxytocin that helps them lower their stress levels, especially in the times where more and more women live alone. Otherwise, sooner or later they will pay a very high price, much higher than up till now.


Last but not least, the role of progesterone and oestrogen is that makes a woman completely different psychologically from a man. Needless to say that women have the unique biological possibility of giving birth to her offspring. The maternity instinct cannot be compared to the paternity instinct if there is something similar in men to her instinct.


All these psychological gender differences have a tremendous bearing on the life of the couple and have far-reaching consequences. It is unbelievable that we could unintentionally keep on ruining each other's lives. Why? Because by sticking to our gender instincts, albeit in good intentions, we unwittingly harm our partners. "Do unto your partner as you would have him/her do unto you is not always valid in heterosexual relations.


A man, for instance, hates unsolicited help, because it lowers his self-esteem, even if the help is suggested in good-will. Women don't understand that because in the female environment of cooperation and caring help is always welcome wherever it comes from; it is the act of good-will, even if it is not solicited. On the other hand, men rarely, and understandably, offer help to their mates, because it is not welcome unless it is explicitly asked for. And the same instinct is used in the heterosexual relations.


How to motivate men to act? To make them understand that they are needed. This is what empowers them to do things. Women, on the other hand, must be cherished. Gray arrives at a conclusion that both genders, although have the same love needs, the priorities are different. Men need to be trusted, accepted as they are and not "brutally" changed by as he calls it "the Home Improvement Committee" and must be appreciated for their achievements. Women, on the other hand need to be cared for, understood and respected. Projecting our hierarchy of needs onto our partner is ridiculous. Women's tendency, as they want to be cared for, is expressed when they sometimes show it exaggeratedly towards men making them look childish. It does not mean that men don't want to be cared for, but they have different priorities that must be attended to first.


And as in a Sérgio Godinho's lyrics "a vida é feita dos pequenos nadas"(life is made of bits of nothingness), we should pay much more attention to them and this is why it is indispensable to be always aware of our gender differences. Understanding those differences first and then practising our new abilities that will require a slight adaptation on our part will make our lives more pleasant, more agreeable and less stressful.


See you on Sunday.

Stay healthy

Richard



Sources


John Gray, an American psychologist, a gender expert and a family therapist.


Others:

Intelligence in men and women is a gray and white matter

http://today.uci.edu/news/release_detail.asp?key=1261

"The study shows women having more white matter and men more gray matter related to intellectual skill, revealing that no single neuroanatomical structure determines general intelligence and that different types of brain designs are capable of producing equivalent intellectual performance (…)

These findings suggest that human evolution has created two different types of brains designed for equally intelligent behavior," said Richard Haier, professor of psychology.

In general, men have approximately 6.5 times the amount of gray matter related to general intelligence than women, and women have nearly 10 times the amount of white matter related to intelligence than men. Gray matter represents information processing centers in the brain, and white matter represents the networking of – or connections between – these processing centers. (…)"


http://www.contentwatch.com/community/men_women_brain.php

The Difference Between the Male and Female Brain
Mark Kastleman


"Significant differences exist between the male and female brains. Although what follows has been meticulously gathered from the research and writings of leading scientists and psychologists, it is by no means a hard and fast rule or description of every man and every woman. Every person is different and unique.

However, the facts clearly bear out that for nearly all men and women there are significant differences between the male and female brain. This means that in most cases, men and women do not behave, feel, think, or respond in the same ways, either on the inside or on the outside.

• The male brain is highly specialized, using specific parts of one hemisphere or the other to accomplish specific tasks. The female brain is more diffused and utilizes significant portions of both hemispheres for a variety of tasks.

• Men are able to focus on narrow issues and block out unrelated information and distractions. Women naturally see everyday things from a broader, "big-picture" vantage point.

• Men can narrowly focus their brains on specific tasks or activities for long periods of time without tiring. Women are better equipped to divide their attention among multiple activities or tasks.

• Men are able to separate information, stimulus, emotions, relationships, etc. into separate compartments in their brains, while women tend to link everything together.

• Men see individual issues with parts of their brain, while women look at the holistic or multiple issues with their whole brain (both hemispheres).

• Men have as much as 20 times more testosterone in their systems than do women. This makes men typically more aggressive, dominant and more narrowly focused on the physical aspects of sex.

• In men, the dominant perceptual sense is vision, which is typically not the case with women. All of a woman's senses are, in some respects, more finely tuned than those of a man."

testosterone background

by Chris Steidle, MD.

http://www.seekwellness.com/andropause/testosterone.htm

http://www.abc.net.au/science/slab/testost/story.htm

The Many Gendered Hormone

"Prof.Dabbs' team took saliva samples of male fans before and after a televised World Cup soccer match. Mean testosterone levels increased in the fans of winning teams and decreased in fans of losing teams. The conclusion was that testosterone levels rise and fall with experiences of success and failure in social encounters(…)

Feminists become understandably annoyed by the oversimplified, back-to-the-kitchen notion that women don't have the hormonal underpinnings for competition. And plenty of men - masculinists, if you like - are equally annoyed at being dismissed as a bunch of naturally bad-tempered apes." But Blum firmly believes "the connections between body chemistry and behaviour deserve our attention."




http://www.oxytocin.org/cuddle-hormone/index.html

'Cuddle hormone'
Research links oxytocin and socio-sexual behaviors


" (…) E. Taylor, a professor of psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Taylor's theory, based on more than 200 studies by other people, mostly biologists and psychologists, is that women have a powerful system for fighting stress that's based in part on a hormone called oxytocin.

Granted, there's no clear evidence that women on average actually have more oxytocin in their bloodstreams than men. But they do have more of another hormone, estrogen, which does boost the effectiveness of whatever oxytocin is around.

Oxytocin, which some dub the "cuddling" or social attachment hormone, is best known as the hormone produced during childbirth and lactation and during orgasm, in both sexes. But it's also secreted during other forms of pleasant touch, such as massage, and has been shown to stimulate bonding in animals, most notably prairie voles and sheep. (…)

In other words, "there appears to be a counter-regulatory system that may operate more strongly in females than males, that leads to engagement of oxytocin and social contact," which in turn may reduce stress, says Taylor, author of the book, "The Tending Instinct." (…)

Put another way, oxytocin "is associated with typically female behaviors, such as childbirth and nurturing the young, etc".



http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn2310-married-men-have-less-testosterone.html

Married men have less testosterone


"The discovery suggests that having less of the hormone could play a part in encouraging men to devote their energies to the family rather than looking for another partner.(…)

So anthropologist Peter Gray and a team from Harvard University decided to see whether the same happens in men. They measured testosterone in the saliva of 58 men who were either single, married or married with children. In all the men hormone levels fell over the course of the day as part of a natural daily cycle that peaks in the morning.

But the decrease was greater in the married men than in bachelors. "And fathers seem to show an even more dramatic difference from unmarried men," says Gray. "


Thursday, December 11, 2008

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Male-Female psychology + TODAY FRIDAY Christmas Spirit with Jim.

Male-Female psychology + Christmas Spirit with Jim toady 12th December.


Dear friends,

This Sunday we are discussing Male-Female Psychology, and I am very sorry but I could not write an essay this week. However, Jim came to the rescue when he sent me the following email with a rather interesting proposal for tonight which I am sure will bring out the best in male-female psychology. Did anyone mention pub crawl, no it was getting “into the Christmas spirit”. I have the pdf file if you wish*, but the link to the Google maps has all the information and time schedule.

See you Friday and or Sunday

All the best

Lawrence



Hi Laurence,
in case anyone in the group is interested and wants to get into the Christmas spirit early I have attached the itinerary of the annual tour of Madrid's Irish pubs.

It is organised by the Irish Expats living in Madrid and takes place on the 12th of December (Friday). The proceedings are usually in English however if you don't want to speak in English the Irish will always make an effort to speak to you in your own language, that is if they have "cupla fócal" (Gaelic for - a few words).

There are 12 venues so you can join or leave anywhere along the route (refer to the following Google map and the schedule :

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?hl=en&oe=UTF-8&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=114853555072151450154.00043e90ebb5f1913b359&ll=40.4199,-3.700676&spn=0.02319).

Regards,
Jim

* I will have to send it to you late afternoon.


IF YOU DON’T GET AN EMAIL BY FRIDAY PLEASE LET ME KNOW


+++++++++MEETING DETAILS+++++++++
SUNDAY 6.00pm – 8.30pm at Molly Malone's Pub, probably downstairs----
-Email: philomadrid@yahoo.co.uk
-Yahoo group >> philomadridgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.co.uk <
-Old essays: www.geocities.com/philomadrid
- Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com/
-Group photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo
-My tel 606081813
-metro: Bilbao : buses: 21, 149, 147
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Dimas Taxi service: mobile 627 219 316 email dimasobregon@hotmail.com

TINA Flat http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/photosphilo/TINAFLAT

**********HOLIDAY FLATS**********
Mayte; Almería (Villa de Níjar); http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/HOLIDAY_FLAT_mayte_AlmerAVillaDeNJar
*************************************



from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Male-Female psychology + TODAY FRIDAY Christmas Spirit with Jim.











Thursday, December 04, 2008

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Do things change if we change?

Dear friends,

This Sunday we are discussing a aptly introduced question for our times: Do things change if we change?

These rather interesting times are full of change: change is being imposed on us, some change we have been longing for to happen and some changes are as far away as we are from paradise. Having said that, change is possible. But I am afraid not enough for me to write a full essay, I only had time to string together a few ideas I feel are the basis of this theme.

Take care and see you Sunday,

Lawrence


IF YOU DON’T GET AN EMAIL BY FRIDAY PLEASE LET ME KNOW


+++++++++MEETING DETAILS+++++++++
SUNDAY 6.00pm – 8.30pm at Molly Malone's Pub, probably downstairs----
-Email: philomadrid@yahoo.co.uk
-Yahoo group >> philomadridgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.co.uk <
-Old essays: www.geocities.com/philomadrid
- Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com/
-Group photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo
-My tel 606081813
-metro: Bilbao : buses: 21, 149, 147
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++












[Just a few ideas; could not find the time to write an essay. Sorry]

Do things change if we change?

This question is a good candidate for a hard or soft interpretation. It is, however, not a yes-or-no type of question, and when we put it through the soft interpretation grinder we have to rephrase the question.

The hard interpretation has a yes for an answer: if we change things do change. But this is rather an analytical truth if we accept the principles of causality and if we accept that we are also part of the causal chain of events. Of course, some might want us to believe that we are not part of any causal chain and that somehow we are different from the rest of the universe. Unfortunately, we are part of the mythical billiard table as much as the red and white balls; we are all subject to the principles of causality. But it is this catch-all causality that makes the question rather harmless, i.e. there is no yes-or-no type of answer to it. If we, therefore, accept the hard interpretation, the answer must surely be an analytical truth and it is not worth much to anyone.

To arrive at the soft interpretation, we have to rephrase the question, maybe into something like this: Do things change for the better if we try and change for the better? A bit of a mouthful, but basically, I am asking, whether our life will improve if we try to improve. It is also a difficult question to answer, because we are basically trying to predict the future. But not just predict the future, predict whether we can create a causal chain of physical events that will bring about what we want to be better. And, at the same time, and this is the joker in the pack, create a causal chain that will also make other people around us do things for us that will help us bring about what we want improved.

On the one hand, therefore, we want to change the physical world around us (have a bigger house, eat better food etc) and also change the behaviour of the people around us if not totally find new people to be part of our circle ( a better boss, a romantic girlfriend, a responsible child etc). But our life is akin to what Charles Dickens makes Mr Micawber say in David Copperfield, "if a man had twenty pounds a year, and spent nineteen pounds nineteen shillings and sixpence, he would be happy; but that a shilling spent the other way would make him wretched.” (Financial crisis: We should turn to Charles Dickens in hard times, not just Little Dorrit, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2008/10/21/bodickens121.xml, The Telegraph)

But we also know that to go from one level of equilibrium, if not disquiet, to a higher state, we need to spend more energy and therefore create more entropy.(Thermodynamics). Our happiness, or things changing to the better, means that others have to cooperate with us and this is a cost for them. Of course they might also profit from the deal, but, nevertheless, they have to do something for us in order that we achieve our better state of being. Finding the love of our life also means that that person must start loving us; working for a better boss means that the new boss must have a nice and friendly personality when dealing with us; getting more money for our property means that someone is willing to pay more than maybe what they initially wanted to.

I shall assume that changing other people to get them to help us become better is more difficult than say changing the topology of our plot of land to build our new bungalow. Changing people’s opinion or behaviour in order to help us takes us into the domain of communication: you will remember that communication is to manipulate others (R Dawkins). If we want to tell someone that we love them and that they ought to love us back, we have to communicate with them in such a way that they will indeed, love back and so on and so forth.

A very efficient way of doing this is, changing someone’s behaviour, would be to show them that what we are asking them to do is also rewarding for them. As I indicated in the previous paragraph, cooperating with us might also be profitable for the other person as much as it is for us, even if we accept that they have to do something for us. In other words, “why should they help us?” is a valid question to ask whether the other party is going to benefit from the deal or not.

Changing others so that they can help us achieve better things is only one small part of the programme. Two other issues that will certainly concern us are our believes and knowledge and what I shall call, doing what has to be done.

It is one thing to want to change our life, and believing that route X or route Y will take us there. But our state of knowledge and our believes play an important part in how we change, what we change into and whether things change to the better. Imagine believing that a prospective boss is interested in golf, but in fact he or she is interested in clay pigeon shooting. we are not going to change that person much by talking about golf. Many other factors can be influenced by what we know or believe in: we cannot change lead into gold, nor stop a fatal disease. Maybe people, in this respect are much easier to change: many studies have shown that most women prefer tall men to short men or that men prefer thin women, but as we know many women are happy with short men and many men are happy with a normal woman.

Believing the right thing and know the right sort of knowledge does not diminish the need for us to do what has to be done. Knowing that we have to be committed to someone we love is not enough since we need to do the right thing that would make our prospective partner love us back. And sometimes there is nothing that we (not anyone) can do to change their mind. The fact that many people are successful in doing what has to be done does not take away the complexity of the task.

To conclude, we are neither impotent to causing change nor immune to any change. The trick is to hit the red ball and save a six pence both at the same time.

Take care

Lawrence



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Dimas Taxi service: mobile 627 219 316 email dimasobregon@hotmail.com

TINA Flat http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/photosphilo/TINAFLAT

**********HOLIDAY FLATS**********
Mayte; Almería (Villa de Níjar); http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo/HOLIDAY_FLAT_mayte_AlmerAVillaDeNJar
*************************************



from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Do things change if we change?






Credits

© of the respective authors,
™ of the respective owners,
® of the respective registered owners.



Philosophy, Social Issues, Classical Philosophy, Citizen Philosophy, Applied Philosophy, Non-Political Meeting, Non-Religious Meeting,