Happy’s in your head


Quote of the day:

It’s not where you’re at, it’s where your head is at.

Your happiness is determined by your thoughts, and if you’re not focused on your surroundings and what you’re doing, they don’t matter.

Barking Up the Wrong Tree who goes on to quote Matthew Killingsworth and Dan Gilbert:

“…how often our minds leave the present and where they tend to go is a better predictor of our happiness than the activities in which we are engaged.”

And Buddha:

We are what we think.  All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.



Quote of the day (for yesterday):

I didn’t listen to her because she was my mother & wouldn’t know anything until I was much older.  StoryPeople

What’s normal?


Quote of the day:

. . .  I asked them whether that experience, and then being in Christchurch when it disintegrated had led them to a permanent sense of impermanence, that normality is fragile.

They disagreed with the premise of the question. Instead, they believe that no one should assume a  ‘normality’. The world will always shift unexpectedly so one should just look forward, determined to make the best of whatever circumstances throw up. . .  Stephen Franks

Most of us are comfortable with the familiar, the certain and the normal. But life has a way of testing us with the uncomfortable, unfamiliar and abnormal.

Each of us has a different way of dealing with that and it’s usually not what happens to us but how we deal with it that determines our happiness and possibly survival.

In the words of Victor Frankl:

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. 
Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.
Some of us, through accident of birth and circumstance, are better able to cope with the hurdles which disrupt normal life.
But that doesn’t alter the premise that life is neither certain nor fair and for most of us, it’s not what we’re given but what we do with it that makes the difference.

Happy birthday GBS


Some quotes in honour of Geroge Bernard Shaw’s birthday:

* A fasion is nothing but an induced epidemic.

* A fool’s brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education.

* A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.

* Criminals do not die by the hands of the law. They die by the hands of other men.

* Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.

*A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.

*England and America are two countries separated by a common language.

* Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.

* A little learning is a dangerous thing, but we must take that risk because a little is as much as our biggest heads can hold.

* Gambling promises the poor what property performs for the rich–something for nothing.

* If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion.

* A veteran journalist has never had time to think twice before he writes.

* If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.

* Beauty is all very well at first sight; but who ever looks at it when it has been in the house three days?

* Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.

* Lack of money is the root of all evil.

* Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.

* The liar’s punishment is not in the least that he is not believed but that he cannot believe anyone else.

Not voting could be public good


I’ve suggested in jest that people ought to have a comprehension test before they’re allowed to vote but Anti Dismal  has found some academic support for the contention that if you can’t vote intelligently you shouldn’t vote at all.

Brown University philosopher Jason Brennan has written a paper entitled: Polluting the Polls: When Citizens Shouldn’t Vote.

Just because one has the right to vote does not mean just any vote is right.  Citizens should not vote badly.  This duty to avoid voting badly is grounded in a general duty not to engage in collectively harmful activities when the personal cost of restraint is low.  Good governance is a public good.  Bad governance is a public bad.  We should not be contributing to public bads when the benefit to ourselves is low.  Many democratic theorists agree that we shouldn’t vote badly, but that’s because they think we should vote well.  This demands too much of citizens.  

Will Wilkinson interviewed Brennan and then wrote:

People should be public-spirited, and act with the common good in mind. When enough people vote badly–from ignorance or bias, for example–the result is often bad policy. The quality of policy matters to the public good. Higher-quality democratic decisions, and better policy, can be secured if bad voters choose to abstain. Because the personal cost of not voting badly is so low, a public-spirited person shouldn’t do it. And it seems that a lot of people are quite likely to vote badly. So there are many people who, if they care about the common good, ought to choose not to vote.

That would be one way to get rid of New Zealand First’s support.

However, I can see a couple of difficulties with this proposition: if you’re too ignorant to vote you’re probably too ignorant to realise it; and what one person regards as voting in ignorance may well be regarded as voting intelligently by another.

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