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Is happiness a state of mind?

In 1974, Robert Nozick, a precocious young philosopher at Harvard, scooped “The Matrix”:

Suppose there were an experience machine that would give you any experience you desired. Super-duper neuropsychologists could stimulate your brain so that you would think and feel you were writing a great novel, or making a friend, or reading an interesting book. All the time you would be floating in a tank, with electrodes attached to your brain. Should you plug into this machine for life, preprogramming your life experiences? [...] Of course, while in the tank you won’t know that you’re there; you’ll think that it’s all actually happening [...] Would you plug in?. (Anarchy, State, and Utopia, p. 3)

Link to full article: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/06/the-spoils-of-happiness/

 
tasches

Asked by tasches at 5:44 PM on Oct. 15, 2010 in Health

Level 48 (298,202 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (6)
  • My personal view.

    Yes. Happiness is a state of mind. I am the only one who has any control over my emotions, or who chooses what I "feel". What I feel is directly related to what I'm thinking.. What I think is directly related to my perspective.. How I view/think about something, creates how I feel about that something. Therefore, my happiness is a directly related to my state of mind.

    I choose whether or not something makes me angry, sad, fearful..etc..etc.. In turn... I choose whether something makes me happy or not.
    pixie_trix

    Answer by pixie_trix at 5:58 PM on Oct. 15, 2010

  • I dunno, is anger a choice?
    GinNTonic

    Answer by GinNTonic at 5:53 PM on Oct. 15, 2010

  • Yes, there are times I probably would. I would use on the days I want to be a missing person.
    CorrinaWithrow

    Answer by CorrinaWithrow at 5:57 PM on Oct. 15, 2010

  • To a certain extent, it can be. Sometimes life's not exactly treating you so hot and its normal to not be happy. I don't know anyone who gleefully watches their car being repo'd or their home being foreclosed on. Some people seem to be happier if they're miserable, which makes zero sense to me. Stress can be a major factor in preventing happiness. There are definite days I'd want to plug myself in, but with it being a fake experience I think unhooking myself and finding out it wasn't reality would just make real life seem that much worse.
    Ginger0104

    Answer by Ginger0104 at 6:06 PM on Oct. 15, 2010

  • I would not plug in, I rather experience for real, that is part of the happy factor.
    older

    Answer by older at 6:10 PM on Oct. 15, 2010

  • ditto on the pixie trix answer.
    QandA

    Answer by QandA at 11:01 PM on Oct. 15, 2010

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