Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
A rarely seen question is "How much of your own happiness are you ready to share with people who are less happy - assuming that any 'happiness' you give away is deducted from your own?"

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Sep 29th, 2010 at 04:47:14 PM EST
i think we ask ourselves that question subconsciously all the time.
true happiness doesn't want to be hoarded, it likes to multiply between friends.
too much self sacrifice, you have nothing left to give any more.

it's like that old saw: 'the best thing you can do for the poor is not become one of them'

and that can be interpreted more than one way...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Sep 29th, 2010 at 04:55:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well said, melo!
by sgr2 on Thu Sep 30th, 2010 at 07:48:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, laughter can be pretty infectious.....and no deductions are involved there....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Wed Sep 29th, 2010 at 06:05:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why would you assume that the happiness the doer gives away is 'deducted,' rather than being returned to the doer triple-fold?

At least as respects volunteering, I always got way more back in return for the value of the time spent. Why would it be any different with happiness?

by sgr2 on Thu Sep 30th, 2010 at 07:58:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes of course that is often the case, but I wanted to point out that there can be an exchange of 'happiness' that is deducted - for instance, one can easily give 10€ to charity, but what if you gave a 1000 or 10000 €, and your monthly salary is 3000. At some point there is a deduction.

When you decide on an amount to give, it is usually below that which feels like a deduction. And that 'amount' can be money, possessions, time and/or skills. I'm interested in how people find that point. How do you decide on the amount of time you put into volunteering? Is 40 hours a week too much? Is 10 hours too much? Because you are definitely making a decision, drawing a line.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Sep 30th, 2010 at 08:49:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmm, okay, that's an interesting point. In deciding upon how much time to give, I approach my volunteer projects just the same as I would any other task; putting in as much time as it takes to get the job done to the best of my ability.

I would say how much time most people give away is totally dependent on their other responsibilities at the time and how much of their personality is geared to giving. If you're a giving person by nature, it's easy to give until you meet a point of diminishing returns.

by sgr2 on Thu Sep 30th, 2010 at 10:48:53 AM EST
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I think you've put your finger on the really sore spot.
One of the worlds that ARGeezer spoke about in his recent post on the Utopians. In fact the world we all try to come to grips with is the one in which we live, in which the gift of happiness is widely seen as diminishing your own, as if happiness is like nuts squirreled away for the winter. An apt if sad metaphor for a consumer society.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Sun Oct 3rd, 2010 at 06:30:22 AM EST
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I should say it's a sad metaphor. Shouldn't happiness be viewed from the same perspective as wealth in the sense that it's meant to be spread around? What's the use of squirreling it away? Happiness doesn't come from having things, but from doing things that we believe to be of value, either to ourselves or others, no?
by sgr2 on Sun Oct 3rd, 2010 at 06:51:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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