What about happiness?

Encouraged by a podcast and the ensuing discussion that not only covered happiness philosophically but also vividly demonstrates how happiness can be created and destroyed, I decided to write a post about the fauceir perspective of happiness. That was before my holiday. In the meantime new topics worth writing about came up, but nothing was so closely related to fauceir theory as an article on brewery. The author quotes a scientist, who claims that our cultural evolution was only possible because of the invention of booze. The fact that this argument although a little bit lopsided, makes perfect sense from fauceir perspective, and that it was somehow related to happiness, I reactivated my previous intention. The other projects will have to wait for a little longer.

The following assumptions underlay fauceir analysis of happiness.

  1. Happiness is a fauceir, as you have probably guessed already, but as such it automatically has the following additional properties that we are going to discuss.
  2. Happiness consists of sub-fauceirs.
  3. Happiness is sub-fauceir to other fauceirs in which control it is involved.
  4. Happiness evolves and adapts

Happiness consists of sub-fauceirs of various kinds. Those processes include chemical and neuronal reactions and can be effected by fauceirs of similar type. For instance, feeling pain—an other neuronal reaction—can significantly influence the current state of happiness. Also psychotropic drugs can influence the way happiness is perceived.

Baboon harem

A baboon alpha male amidst his harem. He feels probably happy in this position.

Why happiness evolved? Happiness is an important rewarding system that positively controls behavior. Behavior patterns that are positively rewarded in animals range from activities so primordial as intake of food and sex to complex operations as organizing a harem. We humans have inherited all these fauceirs and so it is not surprising that some behavioral disorders root in these inborn fauceirs. For instance in some people, obesity is caused by the lack of other means to create positive feelings or by an exceptional high internal amplification of them. Sex addiction is an other example. Not properly controlling some behavioral patterns inherited from social animals results in violent and anti-social behavior.

punishment

A baboon male punishes a rebel female which also make him feel happy, probably, and in the female a reflex is conditioned that makes her feel happy in his harem in the future. In modern human societies such behavior is deprecated.

We humans do not only show social behavior as do some animals, we yield to our societies. We humans are no longer in sole charge of our biological makeup. We humans live in societies that took over control of our behavior. This includes the rewarding system happiness. About 10.000 years ago, this important change in evolution on Earth took place. Societies evolved out of sub-fauceirs that were we humans.

That doesn’t mean that we humans feel differently. We still like good food, sex, and, yes, a harem would be fine, wouldn’t it. But we cannot indulge in everything that makes us happy as some of these actions would seriously disturb a societies proper function. For instance, if some few men would be allowed to maintain huge harems a lot of other men would be forced to live without sexual reward, which would further decrease their productivity and increase social unrest, and finally the society as a whole would fail in competition.

(Now I can clearly hear the counter argument: Harems have existed and still exist. That’s true but does not rebut my thesis, as (1) these societies were by far not as successful as those without them, (2) even in those societies harems had their peak in times when many men died in wars, and (3) nowadays harems are rare and gender disproportions are alleviated by the infusion of females from other countries.)

The advent of human societies posed enormous problems. For instance population density increased and the division of labor resulted in growing social inequality. If a compound of social animals becomes overpopulated, individuals feel the urge to dissolve it or at least to expel some members. Also in such compounds is a permanently ingoing fight for social status. In human societies its members had to learn to tolerate other members and life-long acceptance of their social status, they had to tame all the negative feelings aroused by that situation.

Troop of baboons

Although baboons live in hierarchical troops, they would not surrender and accept a low social position for a lifetime.

Many methods evolved to overcome these feelings and to create happiness out of nothing. Drugs were an appropriate way that time and they are still in use for that very purpose. Religions were used for the same purpose. The ancient Greeks who invented scientific medicine in contrast to religious and superstitious types of treatment also created a scientific approach to consciously control happiness and well being. As these theories were only known to and followed by a few ancient Greeks, they still are not appropriate to most people.

Most people will rely on more basic methods to control happiness booze and religion:

“For the pyramids, each worker got a daily ration of four to five liters. It was a source of nutrition, refreshment and reward for all the hard work. It was beer for pay. You would have had a rebellion on your hands if they’d run out. The pyramids might not have been built if there hadn’t been enough beer.”

However, alcohol makes dizzy and in higher dosage and continuously applied certainly impairs intellectual capabilities. But as discussed in an earlier post social evolution doesn’t require intelligent people any more. It needs social ones. So this post became a praise for social drinking. That make me—a strict anti-alcoholic—dizzy.

Besides during my holiday I attended a language school to improve my English. I hope you can feel the difference, and it was worth the money. Though I think I didn’t learn to much English, it was great fun anyway.


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This work by Paul Netman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Fauceir theory is developed and © by Mato Nagel and available at www.fauceir.org.