String of Thoughts Relating to Being Content

Mad to think that North Korea is now the freest country in the world:
-no lockdowns
-no “vaccines”
-no smartphones
-no social media
-internet is a niche/specialist use
-no corporatist consumerist culture

Well no, obviously thinking about different types of freedom; they lack a lot of individual rights such as movement or expression. But one wonders how much they miss it. No, a large number do try and escape (but are they lured by desperation? Their vision of the outside world?). I watched the Michael Palin documentary recently, and I’m sure to some degree what you got to see was manufactured, but you couldn’t help but get the impression the people you saw were mostly content. At the least the government runs a very effective brainwashing program. But you wonder, if they’ve got enough food on the table how much their lives really need to be changed. Will they be enriched by becoming part of the globohomo(genous) world economy?

Anyway, that all relates to what I was thinking about contentedness lately. I figured at least from my perspective the most fundamental aspects to living at peace is firstly attaining a reasonable level of comfort, then letting go of anxieties and realising most things just don’t matter that much, and being content with your situation, and balancing all that with working towards goals and achieving your potential.
I read an idea recently that I thought was quite interesting, which suggested that despite the great disparity in material comfort between the modern age and medieval times, people were ‘happier’ then. The thing is back then religion permeated daily life, and in the medieval psych, the spiritual world was just as much a reality as the present one; so whatever you went through in this life, you had the promise of salvation in the next. It makes sense to me, although it’s probably not as simple as that.
I think in most forms of modern Christianity this line of thinking gets neglected, which kind of contrasts to Eastern religions (or at least how they are portrayed).

So this led me to thinking about Eastern religions, because I’m far less familiar with this; my understanding more or less extends to karma and reincarnation and how hippies and psychologists have co-opted the meditation and mindfulness and all that. But I know this theme of, well, being content is the best way I can think to put it - plays a big part. Come to think of it I know very little about Taoism and I think I tend to associate it with the folk religions and the interesting collections of statues you see in the temples, but I don’t think it’s really about it. I was having a cursory read on Wikipedia and apparently there are a lot of parallels between Taoism and Buddhism, and in Chinese history they in many ways kind of played opposites with Confucianism.
I wonder if anyone here has a good understanding of them? I’ve been thinking about what the major ideas are and how they influence the common practitioner’s values and way of thinking and all that, particularly in history.

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ignorance is bliss

also, the cause of suffering is desire


3 posts were split to a new topic: String of other thoughts

Indeed
At the same time I was thinking - because we also derive meaning through striving towards goals and betterment. And if you were to have no desire at all you would just lay down and die. I believe that’s what happened to rats in an experiment when they blocked the uhh, I forget which receptor, dopamine? well I can’t remember the details of the experiment, but the point was although the rats still felt pleasure when they ate the food, whatever had been done to them resulted in them having no actual desire to do so, so they just starved to death.
So you have to have some desire and go through some striving, which will lead to some suffering, to prevent some worse suffering such as hunger or homelessness.

I’m probably overthinking all this, but I was remembering Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I imagined the best way to go about self-fulfilment is to aim to reach an acceptable level of the basic and psychological needs (which in a practical sense probably looks like earning a decent wage with relatively low stress, living in a peaceful and stable area and fixing personal relationships and your own personality flaws) and having a reasonable guarantee of being able to maintain that position, and then from that position gradually improving where the opportunity arises or working towards the “self-fulfilment” side of things, whatever that means for you.

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I thought you were doing alcohol only.

I mostly just have always wanted to be happy. For this reason, I have no money. But I have some great stories.

Yup, the human condition. Mindfulness is helpful here, to separate desires of necessity from distractions.

I have thought a lot about overthinking things, and decided I prefer to be a thinker even though it causes me all sorts of self-inflicted problems. Ignorance is bliss, and I don’t know what I would choose if I could, but since I don’t have much choice it is easier to be happy with my overthinking self rather than desire an impossible change.

If that works for you. I don’t disagree with it in principle. I did have to sit through an hour long lecture (as in, being told) about how it is based on culture appropriated from the Blackfoot, so maybe you’ll see something to your liking in a different perspective?

In my opinion, happiness is like dieting. You have to find something that works for you.

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You probably meant that in terms of having your basic needs met. Which is true, but i disagree with the ‘comfort’ being what we should attain for in a lifestyle.

Actually what i’ve learned recently is being uncomfortable and putting yourself in ‘good stress’ challenging situations daily is what’s good for us and what leads to feeling content and satisfied at the end of the day.

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This is a very good point; not that I would want to be uncomfortable all the time, but it probably isn’t good to have a completely soft existence.

Someone asked me recently how quarantine was going (it sucks), and I said I am treating it like backcountry camping. Yeah, it is really hard and uncomfortable at times, but part of the fun is getting out and going back into the real world.

Or as Maslow might say, go for that feeling of accomplishment

If your only regular challenge is the one inside your head, try to get out more!

Semantics. :yin_yang:

I’m not comfortable with all this comfort. I need stress! :runaway: Ah, that’s better. Now I’m truly comfortable! :sunglasses: :rainbow:

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Okay, I hate to go off topic, but…

:man_facepalming:

Even if you consider everything the UN says to be evil western propaganda, the Dear Leader himself has acknowledged at least one lockdown.

For information about the other (alleged) lockdowns, ask any search engine, or even WP.

As for the rest of the world, not every country does lockdowns, not even every western country.

-no “vaccines”

Perhaps, or perhaps they’re quietly importing the Chinese one.

-no smartphones

All the cool kids have them.

-no social media

Just because it’s intraweb instead of interweb, that doesn’t mean it’s not social media.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2013/03/13/a-rare-glimpse-of-north-koreas-version-of-facebook/

-internet is a niche/specialist use

See above.

-no corporatist consumerist culture

https://web.archive.org/web/20170411055001/http://38north.org/2017/04/rfrank040617/

Well no, obviously thinking about different types of freedom; they lack a lot of individual rights such as movement or expression. But one wonders how much they miss it.

That probably has some correlation with how much time they spend watching foreign soap operas and stuff. :cactus:

Nah nah pretty well off that now

That’s right I guess I meant in contrast to the discomfort that comes from uncertainty. I read somewhere the ideal is where what we are doing is 6% above our current level, so it is challenging enough to be interesting but not so much so that it is discouraging.

Yeah and according to research most people don’t see a significant increase in “happiness” (although I don’t really like the word because it doesn’t distinguish between the different forms) once their income goes above a certain amount i.e. enough that they don’t have to worry about paying bills, retirement etc. I think that was about $75k p.a. in the US.

I’m not sure where this fits in with the other stuff, but there seems to be seem satisfaction in physical work, too. People genuinely like maintaining their lawn or tending to their garden for example. When my depression has been at it’s worst I’d do very little, but I found one good thing I did was to start taking responsibility of the dishwasher every day. It’s easier to sit on the couch, and stacking dishes doesn’t have much value but for some reason it felt good. In this case probably because I was contributing to keeping the house clean so I felt like I had slightly more worth.

I haven’t much looked into it. I’ll take a look at that.

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exercise chemicals are good for you (for some people, crucial), moving helps your body work; being outside has additional benefits (like, forest bathing)

i cook healthy meals; very zen for me, cooking

Yeah I made a lot of assumptions there and am not being 100% serious. No less they’re far less slaves to technology and consumerism than we are and I can only imagine that’s a positive as far as mental health goes. It’s funny to think that in a sense they’re less surveiled than us due to the, well, lack of data.

I’m surprised about the smartphones. Who gets one? Come to think of I think I remember seeing people taking photos with them in the doco.

Most North Koreans can’t access the Internet, and only foreigners can use the country’s brand-new 3G cellular network. But the country has still developed its own rudimentary social network – which you can now see for yourself, thanks to a SXSW panel the Associated Press’s Jean Lee gave this weekend.
Lee shared this screenshot from the unnamed social network, which is more of an intranet bulletin board and is used largely to post birthday messages, especially among university students and professors

It sounds like no one actually uses it… but I like it.
Actually maybe it’s the rose-tinted glasses but I think apart from speed the internet was much better 20 years ago before mass adoption.

Oh yes good point. I think there’s also the feeling of the work being purposeful that’s rewarding, so I suppose building something or going somewhere in contrast to the punishment of Sisyphus.

When I cook I get all stressed running around the kitchen lol. But I usually enjoy it.

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That’s from eight years ago. Think of fakebook in 2004 vs fakebook in 2012, or 2008 to 2016 for that matter. :cactus:

One trick for getting away from social media is getting away from people who use it. An unfortunate side effect is that the new people you meet may turn out to be in a weird cult, but then again, lots of people who do use it are in weird cults anyway, so… :idunno:

The cause of pain and suffering is attachment and engagement.

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Well, a halfbrick in a sock also works.

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This all sounds good to me. Very wise. For me, there is in addition a fair amount of religion mixed into this kind of thinking.

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