my problem with self help books
Installed with the pre frontal cortex, humans are damned creatures. And as direct as the path of discovering happiness seems, the less it is. Which is why, i view askance in all books that mingles with the search of happiness.
The bedrock of this problem? Our complexity.
Having a DNA structure 98% similar to the chimps doesn’t stop our cognitive abilities from being galaxies ahead of them. And this results in us having emotions way complex and advanced. animals, which the evolutionist say we are, are only capable of a handful of primary emotions, which namely are fear, anxiety, hunger, boredom and happiness. But humans, standing on the opposing shore, is capable of secondary emotions that your pubics can’t count. To name a few, guilt, jealousy, vindictiveness, despair and most problematically, love.
Getting back to track. The crux of all self help books on sustaining happiness is simply to inform the necessary conditions that needs to be met in finding happiness. At the same time, delineating frequent situations that break those conditions and learning to control them.
Now, fold your arms, throw your head back and think about it, how does that even slightly help?
First of all, not even with an elephant can you fill the gap between experience and imagination. These are not relatives but nemesis from different galaxies. Secondly, contrary to popular knowledge, emotions cannot be controlled but only it’s expression can be suppressed. Although it’s fair to say my life has become better ever since i suppressed my emotions to avoid “shituations”, innately, has one achieved happiness?
The unsecured kids can argue their lives have no doubt been better after reading scraps by the dalai lama. But at the same time, I can retort that it’s only a placebo from their extra effort in staying positive or contented, which is a personal cognitive bias. And mind you, positivism, which is a secondary emotion as well, is NOT happiness. Also, all placebo will soon be gone as soon as an impeding meteor strikes the brittle soil of their lives.
To conclude, analogously, does knowing the exact ingredients to a mango pudding make it taste any better or worse?
Worse, potentially yes. as “knowing” is what that invokes complexity. And happiness, i believe, is closely related to tranquility. in other words, a state of mental peace and simplicity.
All self help books on happiness should be burnt and have their ashes soaked in acid. It’s an embarrassment on what we all function on, complexity. The search of happiness is an irony, it’s like the game. you lose once you know you are playing it.