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Happiness, Part 2

by Griffyn

I accept happiness as my highest moral goal, but we need to actually define happiness to be able to hit the mark.

In the final part of this series we are going to talk about how to actually attain happiness, no small feat right?

Let’s start with my old buddy Stefan Molyneux:

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Happiness, Part 2 by Stefan Molyneux

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Here are some of the highlights:

Do thoughts cause happiness?

When you develop valid, true and philosophical values, such as a commitment to honesty, integrity, courage, and those are sort of the more personal virtues, and the more abstract virtues, such as respect for human life, for choice, for voluntaryism, and in particular against the initiation of the use of force… When you start to develop these rational principles and virtues, they don’t make you happy. In fact, initially, they make you unhappy.

But merely having the values will not make you happy any more than reading a diet book will cause you to lose weight, or watching Sid and Nancy will clean you for smack or heroin.

It is in the consistent application, the acting of our values, that happiness lies. Reason = Virtue, Virtue is rational principles in action. That equals happiness.

The thoughts will not give you happiness. In fact, and this is the grave risk and danger of philosophy: if you have the thoughts without the action, that is merely masochism.

The Act of Happiness

Philosophy is rational principles put into consistent action, and that is how we know that we are achieving virtue, rather than merely talking about virtue, which is the addiction of sophisticated and linguistically deft intellectuals: talking, not acting. Most people will act without thinking, many people will think without acting, putting the two into place in sequence in the correct way is the Aristotelian challenge.

Happiness is virtue in action (two words), whereas for most of us happiness is virtue inaction (one word). Doing nothing other than talking and arguing and not actually making fundamental moral choices based on the philosophy and the highest values that you hold, and that, my friends, is really using philosophy to humiliate yourself and discredit other virtuous people, and I would strongly request and strongly urge you to either do it or stop talking about it.

Reference:

Happiness, Part 1


Categories: Emotional Freedom, Freedomain Radio, Philosophy, Stefan Molyneux, Videos

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4 Comments For This Post

  1. Kelly Schutt Says:

    No, not saying Stefan is telling us to focus on war! Far from it.

    However, living in a militarized state that uses taxation to force you into supporting war is what I’m against. Even conscientious people feel forced to support injustice through taxation.

    [Reply]

    Griffyn Reply:

    I see. Though I’m not at all for government in any form, I take no responsibility for what is done with the extortion they take from me. I pay it in the same way I would a thug with a gun in an alley holding me up. Separate point, but thought I would make it.

    [Reply]

  2. Kelly Schutt Says:

    My highest moral goal is to improve the quality of life for as many people as I can. It’s not a morality/identity trap…

    Why? We’re all on this rock together. If we focus on developing and expressing our creative capacities it will get us much farther than focusing on destruction and warfare. Poverty in particular is correlated with high crime rates, drug abuse, etc. At the other end of the spectrum, it’s a sort of moral poverty to have some of our best engineers developing predator drones rather than doing productive work.

    Our system of economic incentives is tremendously flawed, and that’s where I’m active with this moral goal right now.

    [Reply]

    Griffyn Reply:

    Well, you have no control over what others think about your trying to improve their quality of life. As long as you don’t equate your happiness with how others react with your attempts to improve their life and you don’t feel sad if they decline your attempts, then okay. That wouldn’t work for me, to be sure, because I can only know my definitions of quality and only I know how to totally improve those conditions.

    You are implying that he is saying we should focus on destruction and warfare and poverty?! What are you talking about…

    [Reply]

  3. Griffyn Says:

    What do you accept as your highest moral goal and why?

    [Reply]

  4. Griffyn Says:

    Transcription

    #1398: Happiness Part 2

    Hi everybody, it’s Stefan Molyneux from Freedomain Radio. I hope that you’re doing very well.

    This is Happiness, Part Two.

    When you develop valid, true and philosophical values, such as a commitment to honesty, integrity, courage, and those are sort of the more personal virtues, and the more abstract virtues, such as respect for human life, for choice, for voluntaryism, and in particular against the initiation of the use of force… When you start to develop these rational principles and virtues, they don’t make you happy. In fact, initially, they make you unhappy.

    To take the drug addiction metaphor, we are born addicted to crack, we are crack babies one and all, the crack being anti-rationality. When we drop the drug, we go through shaky Gary Oldman-style twitchy withdrawal systems, and things are very unpleasant indeed in the short run, and then of course we develop solid and sustainable happiness in the long run to the degree with which we act on our values.

    But merely having the values will not make you happy any more than reading a diet book will cause you to lose weight, or watching Sid and Nancy will clean you for smack or heroin.

    It is in the consistent application, the acting of our values, that happiness lies. Reason = Virtue, Virtue is rational principles in action. That equals happiness.

    I think you can look at yourself as a potential superhero, and how do we know that a man is a superhero? If we brush past Clark Kent and we don’t happen to notice that the glasses don’t make you completely different-looking, but if we brush past Clark Kent in the subway, we will not know that he’s a superhero. We might think he works out, but we don’t think he’s a superhero. But if we see him flying and lifting locomotives and beating bullets off his chest with his fists and so on, then we’ll go, hey, he’s not just working out. He’s something else.

    It is really in his actions that we know that he is a superhero, not in his thoughts. The only way that we know the strength of someone’s character is in what he or she does, not what he or she thinks. The thoughts will not give you happiness. In fact, and this is the grave risk and danger of philosophy: if you have the thoughts without the action, that is merely masochism. That is the pursuit of philosophy, as ye olde time self-flagellation mechanism. The self-beater (and not in the fun sense).

    To taste philosophy, to drink deep of philosophy without it flowing through your limbs and voice into action in the world, is to merely get a kind of virtuous indigestion and cramping, a virtue intolerance, as in lactose intolerance, that will make you unhappy and a significant force against virtue, truth and happiness in the world.

    Because, to take another metaphor, if you are significantly obese, and you claim to be an expert in a particular diet, and you don’t actually follow that diet, but you say that you do, you say, yes, I’m significantly obese, I follow X-Y-Z Diet rigorously, and you don’t lose any weight or in fact gain weight, then in fact what you’re actually doing is discrediting that diet. And if you claim to be knowledgeable, deep and wise in the realm of philosophy, but you do not put those virtues into significant practice in your life, then all you’re doing is discrediting philosophy, because you will remain unhappy, you will be frustrated, you will be self-flagellating unconsciously. All you will be doing is saying that philosophy turns you into this. And that’s really not what is going to happen.

    We want philosophy to turn us into, say, Aragorn, or perhaps the hot elf chick. But we don’t necessarily want it to turn us into some sort of troglodyte or Gollum.

    Philosophy is rational principles put into consistent action, and that is how we know that we are achieving virtue, rather than merely [gibberish] talking about virtue, which is the addiction of sophisticated and linguistically deft intellectuals: talking, not acting. Most people will act without thinking, many people will thinking without acting, putting the two into place in sequence in the correct way is the Aristotelian challenge.

    If you think of yourself as a potential moral superhero, the question you would ask is, well how do I know this person is virtuous? How do I know? Let’s say that you were looking at yourself as a potential superhero in a silent movie, or in a language you cannot understand. How would you know if you’re watching a silent movie of your own life, that you were virtuous? Well you’d see yourself debating with people, I’m sure, you’d see yourself reading books, the titles of which you could not understand. You would see yourself watching videos, the content of which you could not understand. But how would you know that you were virtuous if you were watching a silent movie of yourself? How would you know?

    ‘Cause, you see, we all have these ideas, these fantasies. And this is particularly true in the libertarian movement, when the Watchmen came out when I was giving a speech in New Hampshire in March of ‘09, I mean the conference virtually ground to a halt as everyone figured out how we’re going to go and see The Watchmen, because I guess the guy who did the mask movie V for Vendetta, which I have a review of on my website if you’d like to do the search. And so they were all particularly thrilled and excited because they were going to get a chance to go and see brave superheroes vanquish evil through strength, resolution, courage and death-defying feats of dexterity and strength. Yet at the same time, when we are addicted to the superhero version of morality, what we are basically saying to ourselves is that we don’t have to do it, because we’re not superheroes. I’d love to be strong, good and slam evil, but unfortunately I was neither bitten by a radioactive spider, nor dipped into a vat of some sort of radioactive coolant, or shipped in from planet Krypton, or, or, or I’m not a multi-billionaire with a fantastic utility toolbelt and a vaguely gay sidekick. All of these things I don’t have, and therefore I am an observer of moral courage and strength on the cinema or in a comic book, rather than the actor of it within my own life. That is a great tragedy, that is a complete tragedy.

    The addiction to this superhero definition of strength and morality, which includes Ron Paul and other people who are supposed to ride in on their white chargers and free you from the predations of the State without you really having to do much moral confrontation of those within your own life. Because that’s really where it happens. I know people, knocked on doors in subzero temperatures and handed out leaflets and gave money, but that, my friends, as I’ve argued in the Ron Paul series, is mere busywork and an avoidance of the moral requirements for happiness in our own life. I’ll give you just a few examples of those. There are many more of them that I talk about in my podcasts and my books if you want to check them out. They’re all free. But I will provide a few example of what it is that I mean.

    Have you ever seen a child being yelled at or shaken or hit or bullied by a parent or a relative, perhaps of the child’s, or some adult, or some other child? If you see that, do you intervene? That’s more important than rocketing around the world pretending you can turn it back in time to save Lois Lane. Do you intervene when you see children being mistreated? Do you tell the parent that this is unacceptable behavior? That this is bad for the child? Do you say to the child that this is unacceptable behavior on the part of the parent? We all have seen it. How many times have you actually intervened?

    How do you feel at the thought of intervening in such a situation where abuse is being meted out to a child? But this is how we save the world. This is a moral action that you can take, without the need for acrobatics, ninja stars, and samurai swords that blaze light. You don’t need all of that stuff. You don’t need a lightsaber, you just need the courage to walk up to someone who is frightening or harming a child, and intervene. That’s one minor example. Well, it’s a major example in the life of the child, but it’s a minor example of how you can really act on your values and your virtues. Of course, if you watched a silent movie of yourself walking up and stopping or interrupting the harming of a child in public (of course that’s probably the only place you could see it), then you would see that that is a kind of courage. You would also see the fear and anxiety that we all feel prior to performing such actions.

    Of course, the degree to which we feel anxiety and fear in such situations is precisely the degree that we do need moral clarity and courage, in the same way that we don’t necessarily want to eat bok choy and broccoli, but we need nutrition in order to overcome our desire for an endless diet of chocolate chip cookies (hopefully delivered intravenously). There’s one example.

    Here’s another example. We all understand, those of us with any kind of clarity at all, we understand that the State is coercion. The government is defined as a legal monopoly on the initiation of the use of force. The initiation of the use of force is immoral, government is an immoral, criminal institution. The government only can do what it does, can only act out the evil that it does, because people defend it as a moral institution, and studiously avoid (or even worse, pretend that it is a voluntary contract) the forcible extraction of obedience and taxation at the point of a gun, or the threat of a gun.

    There are those in your life, I am sure, who support the State, who defend or excuse the initiation of the use of force, that is the very definition of a State, and the State is only possible because people voluntarily excuse, morally support, or avoid the immorality of it. This is an evil god that only exists because people kneel. Once they stop kneeling it vanishes immediately. But that is something that is very hard for people to do.

    If you are against violence as a means of solving social problems, if you are against the State as an evil institution of war, predation, imprisonment, and abuse, then there are those in your life whether close or far in terms of intimacy or bloodline, there are those in your life who support the State. In other words, who support the use of violence against you. Because if you feel that taxation is immoral (as it is), and you wish to avoid paying taxes, or at least you wish to have the right to spend your hard-earned money as you see fit, which is a basic moral right, and there are those who support taxation, then they support the initiation of the use of force against you. They support you being threatened by the State with the rape rooms of State prisons, and the initiation of violence against you.

    Since the State is evil and you oppose the State, since violence is evil and you oppose the initiation of violence, how do you deal with those who support the initiation of violence against you and against others, who support an evil institution like the State? If you will continue in the long run to be chummy friends with them, to ignore the immorality of supporting an evil institution such as the State, if you continue to reason with them kindly, nicely, positively, as we all should, but with certain cutoff point (we cannot spend the rest of our lives pouring our intellect and energy down a hole with no bottom called avoidance and evasion and rejection of truth and virtue).

    Is there a point where the opposition of moral principles, opposition to the use of violence to solve problems, a dedication excusing and worship of the initiation of force and violence to solve problems? Is there a point at which this is going to affect your personal relationships? To have absolutely opposing moral views?

    If you think of yourself as a 19th century abolitionist against slavery: is there a point where, if you understand that slavery is an evil and immoral institution, and your second cousin thinks that slavery is wonderful, and is good for the slaves, and they should be shot for trying to escape, is there a point where you will no longer sit across the table and break bread with him? If there isn’t, that’s fine, it just means that your philosophy doesn’t mean anything. It’s just, you know, mental self-abuse to use the Catholic term for what used to give you hairy palms. It is just an example that your philosophy is meaningless, and it is discrediting to philosophy for those of us who are actually trying to live our values.

    I could give you more examples, I’m sure that you understand this. Do you select your companions on the basis of virtue? Do you chase after women based on mere physical attractiveness rather than in the beauty of their souls? Do you choose friends based on utility, coolness, a similar set of hobbies? Or do you choose your friends based on virtue and integrity and courage? If you do, (then you’re certainly my brother in spirit, for whatever that’s worth) then you are living your values. You are allowing your values to guide your actions. You are actually achieving the superhero status of morality inch by inch. It’s like climbing Mount Everest using your teeth, but it can be done.

    And if you are living your values in the world, if you are allowing your values to actually inform and change your actions, then you’re not just spinning your wheels in midair and thinking you’re winning some sort of race; you’re actually putting them on the road and taking philosophy and virtue out for a spin. And you are, in the long run, achieving happiness.

    That certainly has been my course. I do not have companions in my life who support the use of violence against me. I just don’t. I have reasoned very kindly and positively with those who support evil, who apologize for evil, who justify evil, who call me evil for opposing evil! But if they won’t listen to reason, my life is relatively short, a wink in the lidless gaze of eternity, so I just don’t have those people in my life. I just don’t, and I can tell you it’s a hell of a transition. It’s a very tough transition, but it is a glorious and beautiful thing on the other side. It really is. I can only tel you, I can’t show you, unfortunately. Everybody has to carve that door and open it themselves, but I’m telling you that it is a fantastic and beautiful place on the other side.

    Those are some examples of actually living your values. My guess is that, if you had to add it up… Before I really began to apply philosophy as I saw it, which would be probably about a decade ago (I certainly was in my 30’s when I began to really say, okay, enough thinking, enough theorizing, let’s start to do it). I really began to demand practical virtue of myself and expect it or at least require it from those around me if they wish to be close to me.

    Before that, though, I had been into philosophy since I was 16, it really was around arguing and debating and reading and thinking, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You should read a book on dieting before you diet. But at some point you have to put down the Twinkie and pick up a carrot. That really was all I was doing was reading books on dieting and imagining that my weight was changing.

    When I actually began to do it, the percentage increased considerably, but I would say, in all honesty, before I actually began to apply philosophy in a meaningful way in my life, that I would be surprised if I hit 1% of morally informed choices. So some, yes, I did, I would intervene when I saw a child being humiliated or attacked. Yes. Not always, but I did. I did stand up to immoral practices that I saw around me, whether in school or in the workplace. But it was pretty intermittent. I would say if you added them all together, they probably did not amount to more than three or four days out of any given year, if you added these particular passages together. So I really was operating at about 1%. I had immoral companions, I had immoral romantic relations, and not evil, not like we were Bonnie and Clyde or anything but not respectful. Not honorable, not dignified, which fortunately has changed completely now, but that’s a result of putting the wheels to the road, so to speak.

    I probably was not cooking at around more than 1%. The people that I talk to through Freedomain Radio have also come up with about the same estimate, that about 1% of their lives is spent actively in a way that you could see clearly on a silent movie implementing the values that they hold in their heads.

    That’s not going to bring happiness. That’s actually going to bring more unhappiness than happiness, because you don’t get the genial, blank, foggy comfort of conformity. You simply get the intermittent, random road spikes of nonconformity but without the pleasures of consistency, and the removal of anti-rational or immoral people from your life.

    It’s really the worst of both worlds. You get all the prickliness of being a contrarian, but you don’t get any of the comfort of being a conformist.

    Certainly this is true of the 70,000 listeners and watchers of this show, about 1% actually cough up a few dollars to keep it going. Which, again, I would say, if you’re really enjoying this show, you find it valuable and worthwhile, if you haven’t donated, I would say that is not living your values. Whether you’ve donated to me or to someone else who is doing that which you consider virtuous, noble and courageous in the world, consumption without exchange is certainly against a basic reciprocity principle in relationships.

    If you go to a restaurant, and you really love it, it’s a pay-what-you-can buffet, you eat you eat you eat! And then you continually leave without paying, then that is immoral. That’s a kind of theft.

    Again, this is not to flagellate people who don’t donate, if this is your first video, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! Eat away at the buffet and pay when you feel that you’ve gotten value, but for those who have listened for a long time and have not paid, well that’s not acting with integrity, of course.

    About 1% of people donate. In general, people who haven’t got a conscious program to implement values in their life cook at about 1% of virtuous action. And of course that’s never going to work to make you happy. It’s actually going to work to make you unhappy. And that’s why I really, really, really focus, focus, focus, not on doing things like bringing down the State or ending religion or any of this nonsense which we can’t conceivably achieve, but on actually bringing values to bear within our own life. On bringing consistent values: opposition to violence, courage, integrity, virtue, standing up for our principles in a meaningful way, not just in an empty argumentative way that changes nothing, but really standing up for our values.

    That’s why I consistently focus on bringing those values to bear within your own life! And if you’re not going to do it, please stop having those values, or at least talking about them, because you’re just discrediting the rest of us and making it harder for other people to be perceived as consistently honorable.

    Since the State is evil and you oppose the State, since violence is evil and you oppose the initiation of violence, how do you deal with those who support the initiation of violence against you and against others, who support an evil institution like the State? If you will continue in the long run to be chummy friends with them, to ignore the immorality of supporting an evil institution such as the State, if you continue to reason with them kindly, nicely, positively, as we all should, but with certain cutoff point (we cannot spend the rest of our lives pouring our intellect and energy down a hole with no bottom called avoidance and evasion and rejection of truth and virtue).

    Is there a point where the opposition of moral principles, opposition to the use of violence to solve problems, a dedication excusing and worship of the initiation of force and violence to solve problems? Is there a point at which this is going to affect your personal relationships? To have absolutely opposing moral views?

    If you think of yourself as a 19th century abolitionist against slavery: is there a point where, if you understand that slavery is an evil and immoral institution, and your second cousin thinks that slavery is wonderful, and is good for the slaves, and they should be shot for trying to escape, is there a point where you will no longer sit across the table and break bread with him? If there isn’t, that’s fine, it just means that your philosophy doesn’t mean anything. It’s just, you know, mental self-abuse to use the Catholic term for what used to give you hairy palms. It is just an example that your philosophy is meaningless, and it is discrediting to philosophy for those of us who are actually trying to live our values.

    I could give you more examples, I’m sure that you understand this. Do you select your companions on the basis of virtue? Do you chase after women based on mere physical attractiveness rather than in the beauty of their souls? Do you choose friends based on utility, coolness, a similar set of hobbies? Or do you choose your friends based on virtue and integrity and courage? If you do, (then you’re certainly my brother in spirit, for whatever that’s worth) then you are living your values. You are allowing your values to guide your actions. You are actually achieving the superhero status of morality inch by inch. It’s like climbing Mount Everest using your teeth, but it can be done.

    And if you are living your values in the world, if you are allowing your values to actually inform and change your actions, then you’re not just spinning your wheels in midair and thinking you’re winning some sort of race; you’re actually putting them on the road and taking philosophy and virtue out for a spin. And you are, in the long run, achieving happiness.

    That certainly has been my course. I do not have companions in my life who support the use of violence against me. I just don’t. I have reasoned very kindly and positively with those who support evil, who apologize for evil, who justify evil, who call me evil for opposing evil! But if they won’t listen to reason, my life is relatively short, a wink in the lidless gaze of eternity, so I just don’t have those people in my life. I just don’t, and I can tell you it’s a hell of a transition. It’s a very tough transition, but it is a glorious and beautiful thing on the other side. It really is. I can only tel you, I can’t show you, unfortunately. Everybody has to carve that door and open it themselves, but I’m telling you that it is a fantastic and beautiful place on the other side.

    Those are some examples of actually living your values. My guess is that, if you had to add it up… Before I really began to apply philosophy as I saw it, which would be probably about a decade ago (I certainly was in my 30’s when I began to really say, okay, enough thinking, enough theorizing, let’s start to do it). I really began to demand practical virtue of myself and expect it or at least require it from those around me if they wish to be close to me.

    Before that, though, I had been into philosophy since I was 16, it really was around arguing and debating and reading and thinking, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You should read a book on dieting before you diet. But at some point you have to put down the Twinkie and pick up a carrot. That really was all I was doing was reading books on dieting and imagining that my weight was changing.

    When I actually began to do it, the percentage increased considerably, but I would say, in all honesty, before I actually began to apply philosophy in a meaningful way in my life, that I would be surprised if I hit 1% of morally informed choices. So some, yes, I did, I would intervene when I saw a child being humiliated or attacked. Yes. Not always, but I did. I did stand up to immoral practices that I saw around me, whether in school or in the workplace. But it was pretty intermittent. I would say if you added them all together, they probably did not amount to more than three or four days out of any given year, if you added these particular passages together. So I really was operating at about 1%. I had immoral companions, I had immoral romantic relations, and not evil, not like we were Bonnie and Clyde or anything but not respectful. Not honorable, not dignified, which fortunately has changed completely now, but that’s a result of putting the wheels to the road, so to speak.

    I probably was not cooking at around more than 1%. The people that I talk to through Freedomain Radio have also come up with about the same estimate, that about 1% of their lives is spent actively in a way that you could see clearly on a silent movie implementing the values that they hold in their heads.

    That’s not going to bring happiness. That’s actually going to bring more unhappiness than happiness, because you don’t get the genial, blank, foggy comfort of conformity. You simply get the intermittent, random road spikes of nonconformity but without the pleasures of consistency, and the removal of anti-rational or immoral people from your life.

    It’s really the worst of both worlds. You get all the prickliness of being a contrarian, but you don’t get any of the comfort of being a conformist.

    Certainly this is true of the 70,000 listeners and watchers of this show, about 1% actually cough up a few dollars to keep it going. Which, again, I would say, if you’re really enjoying this show, you find it valuable and worthwhile, if you haven’t donated, I would say that is not living your values. Whether you’ve donated to me or to someone else who is doing that which you consider virtuous, noble and courageous in the world, consumption without exchange is certainly against a basic reciprocity principle in relationships.

    If you go to a restaurant, and you really love it, it’s a pay-what-you-can buffet, you eat you eat you eat! And then you continually leave without paying, then that is immoral. That’s a kind of theft.

    Again, this is not to flagellate people who don’t donate, if this is your first video, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! Eat away at the buffet and pay when you feel that you’ve gotten value, but for those who have listened for a long time and have not paid, well that’s not acting with integrity, of course.

    About 1% of people donate. In general, people who haven’t got a conscious program to implement values in their life cook at about 1% of virtuous action. And of course that’s never going to work to make you happy. It’s actually going to work to make you unhappy. And that’s why I really, really, really focus, focus, focus, not on doing things like bringing down the State or ending religion or any of this nonsense which we can’t conceivably achieve, but on actually bringing values to bear within our own life. On bringing consistent values: opposition to violence, courage, integrity, virtue, standing up for our principles in a meaningful way, not just in an empty argumentative way that changes nothing, but really standing up for our values.

    That’s why I consistently focus on bringing those values to bear within your own life! And if you’re not going to do it, please stop having those values, or at least talking about them, because you’re just discrediting the rest of us and making it harder for other people to be perceived as consistently honorable.

    A 1% adherence to any program is not going to achieve anything at all. At all. It’s going to achieve actually the opposite of what you want. If you have a diet that says, eat X, Y, and Z and you will become healthy, or lose weight, or whatever, and you only follow that diet three or four days a year, of course it’s not going to work to do anything other than maybe destabilize your system a little bit and waste all the time that you’ve invested in reading diet books and consulting doctors, and so on. There’s no point doing all of that if you’re only going to follow the diet three or four days a year.

    If you’re supposed to train six days a week, in order to achieve some athletic goal, and you only train for six or seven days a year, then you are not going to achieve your athletic goal. I think we all understand how this works. If you went to a job where you were supposed to produce 100 widgets a day, and you only produce one widget a day, you don’t get to keep your job.

    So a 1% success rate, I mean nobody’s asking for 100%, and I certainly haven’t achieved it and I never will, but that’s totally fine, because the goal is to continually improve. I’m not saying that I’m at 100%, just so you understand, but I’m sure as hell not anywhere close to 1% anymore, and that is exactly the degree to which I have upped my percentage of consistently moral behavior in the real world, in regards to my relationships, in regards to my environment. The degree to which I have actually acted on my values is the degree to which I’ve upped the percentage from 1% to where it is now, which I would guess 70% or so. That is exactly the degree to which my happiness has increased.

    Happiness is virtue in action (two words), whereas for most of us happiness is virtue inaction (one word). Doing nothing other than talking and arguing and not actually making fundamental moral choices based on the philosophy and the highest values that you hold, and that, my friends, is really using philosophy to humiliate yourself and discredit other virtuous people, and I would strongly request and strongly urge you to either do it or stop talking about it.

    I hope that that is more encouraging than damning, because I can tell you that the joy on the other side of actually putting these values into practice is exactly what you’d expect.

    So do it. Carve the door, walk through it, take your joy.

    Live your truth.

     

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