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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Why are people afraid of knowledge?

I sure hope some of you have been to TED before.

Religion seems to be a source of comfort for most theists, but for a minority, it's a source of euphoria. These people creep me out. On some level, I'm a touch jealous that they've found a sense of purpose and a meaning for their lives. However, I'm well aware that such people are submitting to a belief system in order to achieve this. They're willing to stop searching for answers in the name of happiness.

Me? I may not feel as secure, but I think the fact that I'm still searching means I get to understand new things. My intelligence actually increases over time. This can only be a good thing for society as a whole, not to mention providing me some satisfaction.

Anyhoo, the above video is one of my favorite TED talks, and it's all about synthesizing happiness. Yep, you can make yourself happy - but not how you'd expect to.

Fundamentalists are happy because they've decided to stop thinking.

I'm happy because I understand happiness.


  1. Seriously, if you haven't been to this site before, it's amazing. It's where I first saw Richard Dawkins speaking...

  2. I've seen this vid before, and it blew me away.

    Synthetic happiness is just as "real" as real happiness.

    It made me realise that there is no more need to wallow in self pity.

    Want to be happy? Be happy!

    Something I always tell people when I get too pissed is "remember the good old days? THESE are the good old days! We've never had it so good. In 10/20 years time we'll look back at these days with sentimentality and affection. So let's appreciate them now"

    People think I'm odd.

    WEM - Tao of Pooh on it's waéy to me via Ebay as well as Tao: The Watercourse Way by Alan Watts.

    On the subject of books, I've just finished Bad Sciencde by Ben Goldacre, re-read God Delusion, lost Demon Haunted World (it's in the house somewhere, I was half way thru it, and Panda's Thumb is also on it's waay via eBay.
    I am currently searching for collection sof Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath

  3. I had to delete the TEDtalks podcast from my iTunes library, because it was eating up all my time. Now I'm hooked again.

    You can subscribe to an all HD feed of TED through iTunes (or probably some other app, I'm gay 4 Mac, sry). Highly recommended.

  4. How many Raytractors have been banned from Ray's blog?

    If you have, tell your story here.

    Sorry for being a bit off-topic, but I'm looking for information. I figure you guys could help.

  5. I've seen this vid before, and it blew me away.

    Yup - to date, it's one of my favorite by far.

    I don't usually go for this kind of stuff, but the fact that it's based on science (and that the happiness is "synthetic") is what draws me to it...

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Who's this Ted guy everyone's gushing about? He sounds interesting...

  8. Whateverman:

    "Fundamentalists are happy because they've decided to stop thinking."

    I had come to expect that YOU would not make such a blanket statement.

  9. Also - I can't see the vid... just as I couldn't see the puppies the other day... can you provide the link/URL?

  10. Off topic, but how is the new site coming and are we going to have a forum? I would like to see a discussion about absolute morals as it is being bandied about on Atheist Central without any organized rebuttal. Da Bomb and Vera's posts come to mind. It seems like we are conceding to their definitions and letting them steer the arguments. I would like to see this discussion in one place and not spread over several different threads.

  11. speaking of Vera...

    is she on crystal meth? her posts go on for miles and she seems obsessed with bees

  12. LAOF, here's a link to the page with the video:

    Dan Gilbert on sythesizing happiness

    There are a bunch of extremely cool (and I mean almost-life-changingly-cool) talks on this site. Everything from the creative to the thought provoking to the entertaining, it really is amazing. I can't stress this enough.


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