It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


A Happiness Equation?

page: 1

log in


posted on Mar, 27 2018 @ 02:44 PM
This is just a short commentary on a book by Neil Pasricha which I haven't read, though the subtitle is "want nothing + do anything = have everything".

Now, for accuracy sake, there is no truth to any of the formula's within Pasricha's equation.

Want nothing? If you didn't want anything, you wouldn't move. Without "want" in the mind, the body has very little reason to keep going, so it seems not having 'want' is not what Pasricha means, otherwise I cannot understand how he moves, writes books and tours the world.

Do anything? Forgive me for wondering, "how far does this statement go?" What if I'm interested in engaging in child sacrifice? Anything? Is this the promise Pasricha offers: I can do anything I want and not a lick of it will come back to affect me? This statement alone, unfortunately, is inconsitent with the scientifc way of understanding reality.

Have everything? This books title finishes off its subtle with yet another megamaniacal cliche; you can have everything.

I know, it might seem like I'm splitting hairs, but this really has to do with language, and how language, in its origin, was always about clarifying our relationships with one another. To say a person can have "anything", as Pasricha does here, is evidently meant to mean "you can have whatever you put your mind to", and even this, because it ignores basic system facts, is not honest: not everyone can have everything - if "everything" means the money and means to get whatever you want, this is simply not possible. The seats are already filled in this game of musical chairs. The vast majority of humans are left standing.

Pasricha, as far as I can tell, isn't a scientist, but has an MBA from Harvard. As someone studied in one of the most significant sciences when it comes to how the human mind works - the psychodynamic, developmental and experimental approaches to the psyche and the brain it emerges from - I can explain everything Pasricha writes in the above equation "want nothing + do anything = have everything", in a less histrionic way.

Want nothing? Again, the issue isn't wanting, but reflexive, uncontrolled wanting. People with 7,500 hundred hours worth of meditation have been shown to have a smaller nucleus accumbens, which is an important station along the 'desire' circuit. The nucleus accumbens compels reflexive wanting; again, it is not missing in meditators, but simply smaller - which they experience as a more relaxed and controlled relationship with their internal "core" - where emotions and desires are formed. They still want. For instance, they had to want to participate in this study; and they would have wanted to do a host of things after the studies completion.

Do anything? Attachment research shows significant neurological and morphological differences in the orbitofrontal cortex, insula, and the amygdala, in people raised by parents who, perhaps, have an attitude that is close to the libertine notion that one can do "anything they want", because there really is no relationship between how your acted upon by others and how you feel.

In short, morality matters, because our brain-matter is reflexive in how it responds to social actions - the intentions and affects which underlie them.

Developmental studies have tracked children with early life trauma and the smaller forebrain and larger amygdala they have, and not surprisingly, longitudinally (over time) a good large number of these people develop mental disorders related to the regulation of affect. They do not possess the UNCONSCIOUS machinery to respond resiliently to breakdowns in interactions. This is what a positive and healthy early life environment grants humans: the freedom to be, to experience, without feeling like negative emotions have a profound power to control and direct you.

Evidently then, "do anything", even if it sounds nice from the perspective of an adult socialized in a hyper-active society, it is a profoundly unreasonable thing to think - that you can do anything and that nothing will come back to harm you.

Have everything can be chalked down to this: an exaggeration that sounds 'nice' when contrasted with the other two histrionic elements of this formula. When humans are drawn towards statements that misrepresent reality, they do it because they like the social-meaning/power a certain phrase would have in a particular context. Everyone has experienced episodes of this - where they something because it 'feels right', even if it is illogical and unreasoanble when analyzed.

So what is happening to a brain-mind when they follow Pascrichas "formula"? I do not contend that they will become sociopaths, but I do think beliefs like this add a lot of needless confusion and disorder when it comes to how we understand ourselves and how we understand others. Since understandign - of ourselves and others - is fundamental to improving our emotional life.

In general, the aim of meditation and contemplation is to increase the control of the forebrain on the subcortical mechanisms which mediate emotional connections. As I mentioned earlier, impressive neurological changes can occur over time so that the mind-brain is built quite differently from how it looked and operated before.

So then, is this a happiness equation? Hard to say when the person who writes it up probably edits out all those undesired aspects/elements that make the formula less full-proof.

There's also the additional factor of depression, fear and anxiety. Some people do not like reading "real" things - it scares them, no doubt for an understandable reason (in their past). People like this want pep talks - not accurate descriptions. They like formulas and smiles and sureness - not an analytical stance which, for many, has the effect of drawing them too deeply into themselves, which is something they are trying to avoid.

In anycase, the "happiness equation", is not an equation in any sort of objective sense. The whole book seems to be arm-chair philosophizing masquerading as the "latest science".

I have not read it, again - and if someone has, I'll try to be all-ears to hear what you gotta say. But the hyperbolic "want nothing" "do anything" and "have everything" promises more of the same.

posted on Mar, 27 2018 @ 04:24 PM
Haven’t read it either, but I can see where the “want nothing” is probably meant more about living within your means and the happiness that results from that act would be the “everything” you can have.

For example, I could lust after a 4000 sq ft house, a Mazeratti or two, etc., and work myself into the grave, never coming close and being miserable the whole time until I die (likely of health issues).

Or I can be content with a 1200 sq ft house, a Toyota, have it all paid for and do what I want (“do anything”). It would be my choice whether to work or retire, and if the latter, the freedoms that come with it...or “anything”

While rather simplistic and not really speaking to those that are barely, or not even, making a living wage, that would be my take away from that title.

OR...I’m way off base and we should both probably read the book before assessing it...

posted on Mar, 27 2018 @ 04:52 PM
Charlie Brown once said:

The secret to happiness is to have a convertible and a lake. If you wake up and the sun is out, you can say, "Well, today is a nice day to go for a ride in the convertible." But if it's raining, you can say, "Oh well, at least the rain will fill up the lake." You always have something to be happy about.

Sounds good to me, but I would add that you also need a dog.

posted on Mar, 28 2018 @ 09:38 AM

p.s. i haven't read your whole post, neither the book. But i'm very interested in happiness.

The premise, in this world is, whoever invented it, that you need to work or do something to be happy.

Many people have attained the mindset which makes you believe that, for happiness, you need to 'Work Hard' or 'Get/Have Something' or 'Achieve this or that', while the reality of this mindset then looks like this:
'you work hard, and when you are finally about to get the thing you have worked so hard for it, you are not satisfied, neither happy, maybe for a short moment or two, which fade away too fast for you to really enjoy it, because now you have other plans and needs, which makes you work more and harder, forgetting that you actually want to be happy'.

Sounds familiar ? well, that is the 'Ego's' trap.

You see, in Reality, for happiness, you do not need to do anything. In fact, it does not matter what you do, no matter of c circumstances in which you found yourself, you still can be happy.

But the Ego is telling you constantly, that you need to look for the future happiness, comparing the past against it, and so making you more unhappy.

The key to happiness is to be happy NOW.

For this to work, you, of course need to drop the belief in the past and future. To quiet the mind which is thinking into the future, and to teach it to concentrate on Now and Happiness.

This is very achievable, and you may even recognize each and every attempt of this mind, whenever it wants to walk his learned 'past is future' path.

Once you achieve it, you will recognize that God is actually Real, and himself being pure positive and unlimited energy, will supply for your every perceived need.

The "Wanting" is the part of the egoistic mind, so training yourself to 'not want' anything will show you what you really want. There is no logic in this (logic which follows the ego, btw) but the experience is the result of doing this.

edit on 28/3/2018 by Hombre because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 30 2018 @ 12:29 AM
The happiness vibration.. following positive derivatives only.. the grain of salt, particle of sand.. can you say happiness is not a precise measurement?

Following the rhythm and flow.. of the analog constitution, of the wave theta amplitude.. nothing else can equal it.. frequency of the precise dot(daat) of pure karma and sublime dharma.. modulation of the possibility of the miracle or otherwise correct slope function..

Perfect measurement is a precise function.. and hence therefore the happiness equation!

top topics

log in