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InvisibleDoctorJ
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Happiness Delusion? Depression Sane?
    #2103341 - 11/13/03 10:18 PM (13 years, 25 days ago)

(This one's for you, SWAMI :wink: )

I recently read a social psychology experiment in which two groups of people were subjected to the same test.  Group A was all mildly depressed people (ie- sad enough to be considered a disorder, but not suicidally morose).  Group B was all "normal" non-depressed people. 

This test was as follows:

The subject was placed in a room containing a green diode, a chair, and a table.  On the table was a pushbutton, like a game show "buzz in" device .  The subject was then told to press the button how ever often he chose for about 10 minutes.  At the end of this ten minutes, the subject was asked whether he had any control over the ignition of the green diode.  In reality, the button did nothing, and the diode was set to randomly turn on and off. 

Here's the kicker:

People from Group B (the "normal", happy people) were statistically far more likely to make the error in saying that the frequency of their button pushing had an effect on the diode's ignition.  In other words, Group B were statistically more deluded in thinking that they had control over the light, by a sufficient enough margin to pass the t test. 

Conversely, people from Group A (the depressed people) were statistically more likely to admit that they had no control over the light.  It didn't matter whether they pressed the button or not, or how often they pressed it.  Group B generally recognized that the light's pattern of going on and off was either completely random or controlled by someone other than themselves.

**************************************************************

This study seems to back up the social psychology concept of the necessary utilitarian delusion.  What this concept suggests, is that most happy, productive people who never need to see a shrink or get psych treatment, people we generally think of as "sane", are in fact quite deluded.  They are deluded about their own virtue and self worth, they are deluded about the pain and suffering of others, and they are deluded about the amount of control they have over their reality.  Because this delusion seems practical and doesnt cause social or economic problems, it is not classified as a disease. 

Certain types of depressed people (obviously the degree of depression is a factor here) are actually more accurate than normal people in their assesment of reality.  They are more self-critical and come to more accurate assesment of themselves.  Depending on their degree of learned helplessness, they can be more accurate in their assesment of the control they have over their reality.  And some depressed people are highly sensitive to the suffering of others (this often creates a kind of negative feedback loop which makes their depression worse).  Ever known one of those Billy Corgan type people who was just soooo deeply sad about all the starving children in the world, he thought about it all the time and it seriously fucked up his days? 

The point is that all of these conditions can occur at once in just the right degrees to produce a person who is technically mentally diseased, and yet has more claim to sanity than most of the people we would consider "normal".  We would call this person diseased because he is less functional than the happily deluded.  The DSM, being a pragmatic guide, generally requires some kind of behaviorial malfunction before it recommends diagnosing mental traits as disease.  This is, of course, to prevent people with colorful personalities and humanistic quirks from being diagnosed as insane.   

But its funny how we look at and treat people who view things crystal clear.  That study definitely defends the statement: "I'm not a pessimist, I'm a realist!"

Of course, you don't have to agree with the study.  You could say it was loaded.  Since learned helplessness is both a cause and symptom of depression, researchers could generally assume that most depressed people would say what they did. 

But what about the happy, normal people?  Why were people that we normally think of as sane so much more likely to commit such an obvious misattribution? 

I definitely think that this study has dire consequences for the concept of hapiness.  I'm hoping someone can disprove its implications.

Is happiness all just delusion and the stimulation of reward centers in our brain? 

Are some pessimists and depressed people indeed just realists as they claim?


--------------------
peace, pot, and microdot!


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Offlinebarfightlard
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Re: Happiness Delusion? Depression Sane? [Re: DoctorJ]
    #2103438 - 11/13/03 10:44 PM (13 years, 25 days ago)

Do you have a link for all this? I think this could generally be the case in society. People who are depressed actually do seem to think more critically, I've noticed that with myself and others who are depressed also. People who are "normal" and happy usually don't take the time to really think about things and just pass everything off. Maybe this is because they are "happy" and don't want to think about differant things and look at it in a "non linear" way? I think alot of people who are depressed just realize how fucked up everything is, like society, the world, life, etc, maybe im just rambling now, but it's somehting to think about.


--------------------

"What business is it of yours what I do, read, buy, see, say, think, who I fuck, what I take into my body - as long as I do not harm another human being on this planet?" - Bill Hicks


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OfflinePhluck
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Re: Happiness Delusion? Depression Sane? [Re: DoctorJ]
    #2103447 - 11/13/03 10:46 PM (13 years, 25 days ago)

Believing what you want to believe will likely make you happier than believing what is most likely.


--------------------
"I have no valid complaint against hustlers. No rational bitch. But the act of selling is repulsive to me. I harbor a secret urge to whack a salesman in the face, crack his teeth and put red bumps around his eyes." -Hunter S Thompson
http://phluck.is-after.us


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OfflinePhluck
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Re: Happiness Delusion? Depression Sane? [Re: barfightlard]
    #2103451 - 11/13/03 10:49 PM (13 years, 25 days ago)

"I think alot of people who are depressed just realize how fucked up everything is, like society, the world, life, etc, maybe im just rambling now, but it's somehting to think about."

Thinking that the world and society is "fucked up" is a judgement that you could only make if you thought that there is a different way that the world is "supposed" to be, which would require some sort of faith.


--------------------
"I have no valid complaint against hustlers. No rational bitch. But the act of selling is repulsive to me. I harbor a secret urge to whack a salesman in the face, crack his teeth and put red bumps around his eyes." -Hunter S Thompson
http://phluck.is-after.us


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InvisibleZippoZM
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Re: Happiness Delusion? Depression Sane? [Re: Phluck]
    #2103458 - 11/13/03 10:50 PM (13 years, 25 days ago)

well i have always said the happy are nuts, and thats how they stay happy. i have also said that the insane are in pure bliss, because there reality is created by themselves. hell im sureim delusional and it makes me happy, i like it


--------------------
PEACE

:mushroom2:zippoz:mushroom2:



"in times of widespread chaos and confusion, it has been the duty of more advanced human beings - artists, scientists, clowns, and philosophers - to create order. In such times as ours however, when there is too much order, too much m management, too much programming and control, it becomes the duty of superior men and women and women to fling their favorite monkey wrenches into the machinery. To relieve the repression of the human spirit, they must sow doubt and disruption"

"People do it every day, they talk to themselves ... they see themselves as they'd like to be, they don't have the courage you have, to just run with it."


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OfflinePhluck
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Re: Happiness Delusion? Depression Sane? [Re: ZippoZ]
    #2103507 - 11/13/03 11:02 PM (13 years, 25 days ago)

A lot of insane people are miserable as hell. They've gone beyond believing what they want, to believing their most paranoid and frightening fantasies. They often live in fear, loneliness and distrust.


--------------------
"I have no valid complaint against hustlers. No rational bitch. But the act of selling is repulsive to me. I harbor a secret urge to whack a salesman in the face, crack his teeth and put red bumps around his eyes." -Hunter S Thompson
http://phluck.is-after.us


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Offlinejiva
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Re: Happiness Delusion? Depression Sane? [Re: Phluck]
    #2103574 - 11/13/03 11:13 PM (13 years, 25 days ago)

Good thing it doesn't matter and all those people can still be happy! Maybe if they worried about whether it really mattered or not, they wouldn't be happy at all.

love


--------------------
i am another you


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Invisiblekaiowas
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Re: Happiness Delusion? Depression Sane? [Re: DoctorJ]
    #2103651 - 11/13/03 11:29 PM (13 years, 25 days ago)

" people we generally think of as "sane", are in fact quite deluded."

good! i see this a lot, and in myself even. all i know is that I lived in a depressed way for more than half my life, and while I still see things the way I used to, it doesn't affect me as much. you know, not being so self centered. you also though have to look at who they put in as depressed and mildly depressed. everyone feels depression and to say you don't is being very deluded.
one can choose though to focus on the depression, your example of someone focusing on the hungry children and brooding over it for hours on end is a good example of that. you know, if you can't do something about it now, then don't worry about it now. if you can then go do it!

but yes I agree with the test for the most part, because most happy people will try to push negativity away, rather than letting the negativity jsut past by. you know, let the negativity through, don't deny it, but at the same time, don't put toooo much emphasis on it.

my question to you, who is better? the guy who lets himself be consumed about problems, or the guy who tries to push the problems away to keep his happy state. my answer to that would be neither


--------------------
Annnnnnd I had a light saber and my friend was there and I said "you look like an indian" and he said "you look like satan" and he found a stick and a rock and he named the rock ooga booga and he named the stick Stick and we both thought that was pretty funny. We got eaten alive by mosquitos but didn't notice til the next day. I stepped on some glass while wading in the swamp and cut my foot open, didn't bother me til the next day either....yeah it was a good time, ended the night by buying some liquor for minors and drinking nips and going to he diner and eating chicken fingers, and then I went home and went to bed.---senior doobie


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OfflineSole_Worthy
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Re: Happiness Delusion? Depression Sane? [Re: kaiowas]
    #2105244 - 11/14/03 09:22 AM (13 years, 24 days ago)

I think that test shows that depression may be beneficial in certain situations, or environments. 

It maye just be as simple as the depressive crew were more negative, and didn't think they had the control, where as the happy crew were more possotive "yeah I had control". 

What if the subjects did have control over the buzzer? Im sure the they would have all given the same answers, then the depression crew would have been the delusional ones.

I belive that any negativity in ones thoughts and feelings is a delusion.
Anything but Love is Psychosis :laugh:


--------------------
get it all together get like birds of a feather


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OfflinePhluck
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Re: Happiness Delusion? Depression Sane? [Re: Sole_Worthy]
    #2105262 - 11/14/03 09:29 AM (13 years, 24 days ago)

"What if the subjects did have control over the buzzer? Im sure the they would have all given the same answers, then the depression crew would have been the delusional ones."

Actually, there are some other similar studies that show depressed people are more careful and analytical in their thinking.

"I belive that any negativity in ones thoughts and feelings is a delusion.
Anything but Love is Psychosis"

How does that make sense? How is happiness less delusional than sadness, they are emotions, not perceptions or beliefs.


--------------------
"I have no valid complaint against hustlers. No rational bitch. But the act of selling is repulsive to me. I harbor a secret urge to whack a salesman in the face, crack his teeth and put red bumps around his eyes." -Hunter S Thompson
http://phluck.is-after.us


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Offlinefireworks_godS
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Re: Happiness Delusion? Depression Sane? [Re: Phluck]
    #2105283 - 11/14/03 09:36 AM (13 years, 24 days ago)

Well, I think I would be optimistic that I wasn't controlling the LED... :grin:

Seriously, though. I think it is definitely possible to keep an optimistic outlook without being delusional. I mean, I am usually optimistic. If someone punches me, I am not going to blindly think "Oh, it was just an accident. Just a mistake" and then start whistling the melody to The Simpsons or something.

I mean, I think it is just as possible to optimistic and tuned in as it is to be optimstic and delusional, just like it is possible to be depressesd and pessimisstic and be tuned in, and to be pessimisstic and delusional. Get what I'm saying? :grin:

I remain optimistic that people will understand what I just said while accpecting the fact that it is a possibility that they won't.  :lol:
Peace.


--------------------
:redpanda:
If I should die this very moment
I wouldn't fear
For I've never known completeness
Like being here
Wrapped in the warmth of you
Loving every breath of you

:heartpump: :bunnyhug: :yinyang:

:yinyang: :levitate: :earth: :levitate: :yinyang:


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Happiness Delusion? Depression Sane? [Re: fireworks_god]
    #2105363 - 11/14/03 10:07 AM (13 years, 24 days ago)

"Oh, it was just an accident. Just a mistake" and then start whistling the melody to The Simpsons or something.

What TV show theme would you whistle for that occasion? Andy Griffith Show?


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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Offlinefireworks_godS
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Re: Happiness Delusion? Depression Sane? [Re: Swami]
    #2105379 - 11/14/03 10:11 AM (13 years, 24 days ago)

Quote:

Swami said:
What TV show theme would you whistle for that occasion? Andy Griffith Show?




Actually, I would start whistling the theme to Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

now this is a story all about how
my life got flipped turned upside down
and I'd like to take a minute just sit right there
I'll tell you how I become the prince of a town called Bel Air

in west Philadelphia born and raised
on the playground is where I spent most of my days
chillin' out maxin' relaxin' all cool
and all shootin' some b ball outside of the school...


You all know the rest, I am sure.
Peace.


--------------------
:redpanda:
If I should die this very moment
I wouldn't fear
For I've never known completeness
Like being here
Wrapped in the warmth of you
Loving every breath of you

:heartpump: :bunnyhug: :yinyang:

:yinyang: :levitate: :earth: :levitate: :yinyang:


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OfflineSole_Worthy
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Re: Happiness Delusion? Depression Sane? [Re: Phluck]
    #2105782 - 11/14/03 12:33 PM (13 years, 24 days ago)

Perhaps depressive thinking is more in tune with this reality? What does that say about this place :P

"How does that make sense? How is happiness less delusional than sadness, they are emotions, not perceptions or beliefs"


Well I says unless you see with Love you are delusional.
The negativity I speaks of is anything that is not Love, so yes, happiness and sadness would be equaly delusional, although I think happy, positive thinking is closer to the true way of seeing than sad, negative thinking.


--------------------
get it all together get like birds of a feather


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OfflinePhluck
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Re: Happiness Delusion? Depression Sane? [Re: Sole_Worthy]
    #2105814 - 11/14/03 12:40 PM (13 years, 24 days ago)

"I think happy, positive thinking is closer to the true way of seeing than sad, negative thinking."

Is that how it is, or how you want it to be?


--------------------
"I have no valid complaint against hustlers. No rational bitch. But the act of selling is repulsive to me. I harbor a secret urge to whack a salesman in the face, crack his teeth and put red bumps around his eyes." -Hunter S Thompson
http://phluck.is-after.us


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InvisibleDoctorJ
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Re: Happiness Delusion? Depression Sane? [Re: Phluck]
    #2106242 - 11/14/03 02:20 PM (13 years, 24 days ago)

Quote:

What if the subjects did have control over the buzzer? Im sure the they would have all given the same answers, then the depression crew would have been the delusional ones.





Actually, I'm pretty sure they did do a follow up where the LED was controlled by the buzzer, and of course, both groups said they had control, because it was real obvious.

Quote:

I belive that any negativity in ones thoughts and feelings is a delusion.
Anything but Love is Psychosis




wow, I cant believe SWAMI let you get away with that one! Be careful about blanket statements like that!


--------------------
peace, pot, and microdot!


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OfflineSole_Worthy
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Re: Happiness Delusion? Depression Sane? [Re: DoctorJ]
    #2106354 - 11/14/03 02:49 PM (13 years, 24 days ago)

"Is that how it is, or how you want it to be? "

That is how I belive it to be at the moment, im sure I will come to change my mind.

I just feel as though there is a guiding light towards positive thinking. When I am optomistic I find myself happier. I like to be happy.


--------------------
get it all together get like birds of a feather


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OfflinePhluck
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Re: Happiness Delusion? Depression Sane? [Re: Sole_Worthy]
    #2106371 - 11/14/03 02:54 PM (13 years, 24 days ago)

"That is how I belive it to be at the moment, im sure I will come to change my mind."

You BELIEVE it, yet you're SURE you're going to change your mind?

That does not compute.


--------------------
"I have no valid complaint against hustlers. No rational bitch. But the act of selling is repulsive to me. I harbor a secret urge to whack a salesman in the face, crack his teeth and put red bumps around his eyes." -Hunter S Thompson
http://phluck.is-after.us


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OfflineSole_Worthy
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Re: Happiness Delusion? Depression Sane? [Re: Phluck]
    #2106408 - 11/14/03 03:05 PM (13 years, 24 days ago)

can beliefs not be tempory? I belive many things, yet I know from experience I will come to change my mind on many of them.


--------------------
get it all together get like birds of a feather


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OfflinePhluck
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Re: Happiness Delusion? Depression Sane? [Re: Sole_Worthy]
    #2106792 - 11/14/03 04:58 PM (13 years, 24 days ago)

Beliefs can be temporary, but if you don't think you're absolutely right about something, then you don't really believe.


--------------------
"I have no valid complaint against hustlers. No rational bitch. But the act of selling is repulsive to me. I harbor a secret urge to whack a salesman in the face, crack his teeth and put red bumps around his eyes." -Hunter S Thompson
http://phluck.is-after.us


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