shadow days

“This guy looks like he is up to no good,” Zimmerman said on the 911 tape.

Please tell me, what would be the innocent way to walk down the street with an iced tea and some Skittles? Hint: For black men, that’s a trick question.

-Eugene Robinson {source}

————

These past few days have been crazy. I don’t know what’s going on so I can’t say. Hopefully I will have clarity soon.

I just wanted to blog about this great book I’m currently reading: The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom No, it isn’t a self help book. It is about the philosophy of this thing called happiness. I recommend it to psychology geeks as well as philosophy lovers. The author is a professor at the University of VA. I would love to take his psych class.

There is so much in this book and I’m only about 60% through. The author covers religion as it relates to life in general. At first I was thinking, “Oh NOEZ! not religion” but it only adds to the book. I follow Buddhism closely. And the one thing I have a big problem with is the whole non attachment thing. Am I really expected to live completely without attachments? Well the author pretty much agrees with me.

The major downer is the whole “You need people” thing. Huh? People? Don’t they suck? (me included). I get it but every time I read the numerous OBVIOUS studies on this, I think, well I should just kill myself. But I really like sports, music, current events (except vigilante events) and books. I can live for that. Then I will kill myself and prove all you people right.

Oops! Tangent. Where was I? The book. This review says it all:

The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, lamented St. Paul, and this engrossing scientific interpretation of traditional lore backs him up with hard data. Citing Plato, Buddha and modern brain science, psychologist Haidt notes the mind is like an “elephant” of automatic desires and impulses atop which conscious intention is an ineffectual “rider.” Haidt sifts Eastern and Western religious and philosophical traditions for other nuggets of wisdom to substantiate—and sometimes critique—with the findings of neurology and cognitive psychology. The Buddhist-Stoic injunction to cast off worldly attachments in pursuit of happiness, for example, is backed up by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s studies into pleasure. And Nietzsche’s contention that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger is considered against research into post-traumatic growth. An exponent of the “positive psychology” movement, Haidt also offers practical advice on finding happiness and meaning. Riches don’t matter much, he observes, but close relationships, quiet surroundings and short commutes help a lot, while meditation, cognitive psychotherapy and Prozac are equally valid remedies for constitutional unhappiness. Haidt sometimes seems reductionist, but his is an erudite, fluently written, stimulating reassessment of age-old issues.

Awesome, awesome book. I would think professors would assign this to their psych majors. It is a nice intro to psychology and philosophy.

My favorite passage so far is:

Buddhism and Stoicism teach that striving for external goods, or to make the world conform to your wishes, is always striving after wind. Happiness can only be found within, by breaking attachments to external things and cultivating an attitude of acceptance.

Yep, it can be a self help book too. 🙂 I can’t say enough about this book. I have “highlighted” many passages to keep. (It is a library book from the Kindle library).

I could be coherent if I weren’t so damn tired. Long day. Read the book!

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