>Is it right for people to be happy if they are wrong?

>I’m merely a social realist (perhaps this is syniclism in itself?). But I can’t see how any other view of the world is realistic. In my perfect athiestic world, we would all be similar to Jesus, without the ‘life after death in heaven’ nonsense. Having said that perhpas I am too judgemental – we are after all, only human with finite lives.

What annoys me, is that if I thought I had the chance to live forever (as most people do) I would be kind, give pretty much all i had to charity etc. But for these people its still not enough – they still have to be selfish in this world as well, and manage to delude themselves doubly so, by believing that they will get into Heaven or Valhaller or whatever. Thus ignorance = bliss/happiness. Is it right for people to be happy if they are wrong? All I can say is, I wish I was ignorant and happy. Happiness is, after all, a persons soul goal in life. Disagree.

5 comments

  • >Firstly how boring would life be like if everyone was like Jesus? Jesus was who he was because of the situation he was in. But then maybe I'm biased. After all we wouldn't be debating now if we all had the same arguments.But on a more serious note your assumption that if you were to live forever you would have a change of character is a little unclear. Do you mean that anyone given the knowledge that they would live forever would be more kind due to increased happiness? Or do you mean that if people were told kindness could act as a golden ticket granting them access into a perfect future life in paradise/heaven/valhallah etc, then they would be kinder? The first view is at best naive. Such knowledge would not change a person's character, emotions or current circumstances in life by a great deal. I can agree somewhat with the second view. However I think that it would not play as large a role as you think. For if this were so then more religious societies would be more peaceful and their people more kind. Whereas in reality this is not so. Or perhaps you are saying that you are different to all other people? In this case if it is true that you are better principled then why do you say "I would"? Why not do it now without the knowledge that you will benefit from the kindness?Finally, in answer to the question, yes people absolutely should be able to be happy if they are wrong. Should children be punished if they give the wrong answer out of a lack of knowledge? If the Jehova's Witnesses are correct then is it right that all non-believers go to hell? Happiness can come through a great number of mediums. For instance you seem to place too much emphasis on what will happen after you die. People often say 'what does it matter when in a thousand years we will be long since dead and our memories forgotten?' But why does that time in a thousand years matter when you are alive now? Living forever would not make people more happy. In fact it would make a great many people (depressive people for instance) very much more upset. Life is beautiful precisely because it is temporary and everything is always changing (for life is not the end of existence, simply the end of life, our matter, energy, ideas etc continue). We should help to make all people happy irreletive of their views. Because at the end of the day we don't know what happens after death. What we do know is that in life people feel sadness, pain, happiness and pleasure. It is maximising positive emotions and minimizing neagtive ones in this life that we should think about.P.S. I do therefore agree that happiness is the most important goal in life (both the happiness of others and that of yourself) and on this note I have recently started a petition to this end on the No.10 homepage. Please sign it here: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Aim-Happiness/

  • >People can be as happy as they like whenever they like for whatever reason they like. Thats not saying i agree with the reasoning behind the happiness. I mean a murderer might be happy with their work if they have killed an evil dictator perhaps. Im sure you will agree that taking a life is wrong, no matter how evil they are, but im also sure that some people would find happiness knowing said evil dictator is gone.Happiness comes in many forms, for some it is making it through the day without making a fool of themselves. Personally im happy spending time with friends and family. Others are happier left alone. All of this is perfectly fine, it is your choice to be happy and its up to you to decide what it is. Of course when it makes others lives a misery then people should be encouraged to find happiness in something else. But we should not put our energy into finding a way to stop them from being happy.An example of this would be bullies, they get happiness (possibly) out of bullying. Now rather than punishing them constantly for bullying and not seeking an alternative for their energy we are not helping the situation. What we should do is find an outlet for the bully that would make them happy. If they like hitting people stick them in a boxing ring. They get to fight, but its a controlled environment with rules. They learn the rules of the sport, and get to release the energy in a way in which they might find fun.

  • >I agree. All people are in some way unique. Hence we should fight to give all people the support, opportunities and rights they need to pursue their happiness. This is the reason I think that psychologists and careers advisers should play a more prominent role in education. Imagine a country where every child regularly spoke to psychologists, nurses and careers advisers, and these professionals were empowered to support and encourage the pupils in the necessary manners. We would have a country where people grew up being more aware of their strengths and weaknesses. We would have a country where health concerns were noticed before they became problems. We would have a country where those who need psychological help are receiving it (in turns of support, advice or medical assistance). We would have a country where careers advisers were able to encourage pupils to achieve, keep their options open, and yet at the same time give them purpose from an early age. We could even work to encourage pupils to move towards areas where statisticians expect there to be job shortages when they grow up. And most importantly we would be working with people from day 1 to imrpove people's happiness.

  • >Yes, because of another presumption. 'wrong' and who determines it.Gay people were happier to be in relationships with other gay people 50 years ago, but at the time this was determined by society that it was 'wrong'.So even as a fail-safe tool against this kind of situation, happiness in all forms needs to be held in high regard.Sidetracking for a second, do you think the outlawing of homosexuality had something to do with trying to prevent happiness for that segment of society?Recently it was due to the church's role in governing society's moral compass, but prior to that, why was it included in the bible?There were no diseases that were more prevalent in the gay community back then, so i can't see why it should have been outlawed for health reasons.It was only ever going to be a smaller number who participated so i don't see it as causing a population decline, threat to the human species either.So then why would it have come to have been viewed as a sin in the first place and included in the teachings of the bible (Leviticus, same book that prohibits the eating of pork and a whole lot of other things we currently enjoy)?I think maybe someone just didn't like gay people and decided it should go in the book.Back on topic, of course there are plenty of instances where i want to tell people they are wrong, because according to my perception they are. But i should only do this (in theory) on the occassion our paths cross and thedir happiness is affecting my happiness (there's the start of an immigration debate ;-). other than that its live and let live.

  • >I don't think many societies have initially thought 'they're gay. Let's make them suffer'. I think that's a side effect that came after initial fears about their difference, and confusion as to the cause of that difference. In fact many people who disagree with homosexuality disagree with it for what they believe to be good reasons. Some people believe that you can stop a person becoming gay or turn a gay person straight and that they would be happier for that. Other people follow an extreme Darwinian approach and want to ensure that people who cannot pro-create in the natural fashion should not pro-create or encourage others to become gay lest in the future the human species dies out with heterosexuality.Of course I, like most people in the West today, would say these are weak justifications. I do not doubt that many people arguing against homosexuality believe they are doing right. But I do believe their arguments are weak and created mostly on a subconscious level to justify a fearful reaction to something they cannot understand. In many cases this fear has escalated, and even found influential and intelligent supporters, like those who wrote the Bible for instance.As for when to tell someone they're wrong … tricky topic. I don't think you can always tell someone they're wrong just because their incorrectness is hindering your happiness. I personally think we have to weigh the maximisation of our positive feelings and minimisation of negative feelings with the maximisation of positive feelings and minimisation of negative feelings in others. Of course most people do this instinctively. If you meet someone who seems extremely arrogant, happy and looks like he/she can take anything that's thrown at them then people often tell them they're wrong (unless out of fear, where there is a high possibility of negative emotions that outweigh they positive emotions to be earnt from the situation). However if you meet a depressed person whose one remaining happiness in the world is his belief that he is loved by his family you wouldn't tell him that you heard his wife saying the opposite.

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