Manuel Galvan

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Happiness is enjoying freedom from misery.

I agree with Rao. Happiness isn't a product of circumstance. If anything circumstance appears to be more a product of our will. This seems like a common sense definition for happiness. It also makes happiness something we could ALWAYS endulge in. Because we are always free of some misery. Usually we are free from more misery than we are involved in (depending on your circumstance of course). I'd like to get any other thoughts on this.

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    Apr 10 2012: We're mostly agreeing. Happiness must be experienced along side misery because we are never truly free of all misery.
    I'm suggesting happiness is partly a state of mind (like wonder or confusion), in addition to its normal definition as a pleasurable feeling. I'm including both in my hypothesis, just to be clear, that happiness is taking pleasure in a state of mind that is free from negative thoughts about past and future failures, free from focusing on misery.
    I'm making the definition more convoluted involving things like focus, attention and intention. But i feel it is a more functional definition and avoids some of the confusion between happiness and pleasure. For example, we can probably agree that doing heroin would be pleasurable but it wouldn't make us happy.
    I'm kinda just coming up with this as part of a project I'm doing, I'd love to hear more criticism or agreement.
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    Apr 10 2012: Happiness can be experienced along side misery. The two are not mutually exclusive. Many separate, simultaneous emotions are components of our immediate condition. It is the percentage of each emotion that really matters.
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    Apr 10 2012: A classic example is the band - The Smiths - who became very popular with songs such as

    "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me"

    Last night I dreamt
    That somebody loved me
    No hope - but no harm
    Just another false alarm...

    "Unhappy Birthday"

    I've come to wish you an unhappy birthday
    Because you're evil
    And you lie
    And if you should die
    I may feel slightly sad
    (but I won't cry)...

    "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now"

    I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour
    but heaven knows I'm miserable now
    I was looking for a job, and then I found a job
    and heaven knows I'm miserable now

    In my life
    why do I give valuable time
    to people who don't care if I live or die...