Fragmented thoughts of a fragmented mind

29 May 2016

happiness and drive

Lately I’ve been experiencing some random moments of bliss and it is interesting to me how these feelings provoked red flags in me more than anything else. It is as though I cannot allow myself to experience joy, I am constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. But if the other shoe is going to drop anyway, I might as well indulge in these little transient moments of joy.

I was conversing with a good friend the other day – his hypothesis is that human beings must remain competitive in order to survive, to keep on participating in the evolution race. It was provoked by an intense debate on basic income, whether the economics would work out, but my argument was that the entire theory mainstream economics was based on is flawed to begin with. We assume that human beings are self-interested, but if we could evolve our prefrontal cortex to have rational thought on top of primal instincts, who is to say we can’t evolve a new part of our brain to see beyond self-interest, that the survival of the greater whole, a better distribution to the rest of our species, is actually the better way to optimise for survival?

I am non-competitive, or at least I grew out of it. I have several other non-competitive friends. I don’t think we sit around waiting for handouts. On the contrary, the non-competitive streak allows us to think longer-term instead of short-term self-interested gratification. I cannot help but believe that our basic assumptions of our fellow human beings are either massively flawed or outdated.

I think about the nordic countries, or countries with supposedly robust welfare systems, there is a sentiment that people don’t do much there because they have no reason to. But I wonder if our perspective of progress is simply highly skewed, that we are just so brainwashed with the sort of unsustainable hyper growth progress that gives not much thought to the repercussions it has on our ecosystem. Perhaps a slower way of life, a living where people are not driven to work their lives away all the time, would not only be gentler on the planet itself, but would also ensure the long-term survivability of our species.

It makes me wonder on a micro level about myself, if I am just too used to suffering in order to believe I am contributing, that somehow subconsciously I believe that happiness leads to contentment which leads to laziness.

I wonder if I carry these binary beliefs with me on a deep subconsciously level, because I am really uncomfortable with being happy, that maybe it is time to start wondering if I could be happy and yet driven at the same time. The drive provoked by happiness may lose a bit of its edge, its urgency, but perhaps produces work that is more sustainable and harmonious.

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