The Basis for Happiness

In any case, the main point of this thread was to bring to light, for those interested, a potentially overlooked basis or foundation for successful attainment of those aims of actualism. Namely:

[Richard]: I did everything I could to be as happy and harmless (as free of sorrow and malice) for as much as is humanly possible. This was achieved by first putting everything on a does-not-really-matter-in-the-long-run basis.

Since my dim discernment of that long-run basis was applied to good effect, I perceive an advantage for maneuvering further in that direction so as to perhaps increase the odds (yes, with a bit of luck) that any dim discernment might materialize into a bright and clear insight.

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You had me (as in, you had me convinced) until this part :grin:

There isn’t any facts underlying these “I just can’t do it” or “I just don’t have enough energy” or “the energy I have isn’t enough” or “I just can’t see it clearly enough” beliefs you appear to hold. They are beliefs. They feel real and true, but they aren’t.

There is no factual, objectively existing thing, that is holding you back from having “enough to get the job done”. Such a thing simply doesn’t exist. There is no “it’s impossible” that is a fact.

In this case the issue isn’t a lack of vitality or energy, but this self-defeating belief. The task then is to dismantle the belief by seeing the fact. And the fact is that there’s no good reason whatsoever to let whatever it is take away from your enjoyment & appreciation of this moment of being alive! Nothing else is required than seeing this. And seeing this means looking at the specific thing that currently in this moment is preventing that full enjoyment, and asking yourself and seeing why you hold that specific thing so dear such as to allow yourself to let it take away from the full enjoyment that is possible!

There’s no “luck” to this, you just have to keep going and not stop with any “Just unlucky I guess” or “If it’s not enough to get the job done then the job just don’t get done”. Next time you find yourself at that point, just keep going! You will find something beneath even that, underlying that. You can go further. But it requires you to let go of something you hold near & dear to your heart, something about yourself you currently value more than enjoying and appreciating the ongoing fact of being alive.

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I’ll comment more on what you wrote once I have more time to do so.
In the meantime, a question for you: Do you fancy that you know me better than I know myself?

I fancy I know the human condition better than you know it. What I wrote wasn’t personal but a general thing that applies to how the human condition works in general.

I sense a reaction somewhat of defensiveness to this probing I instigated — this is a sign there is something there that is indeed worth exploring.

Of course I can’t do it for you, and if you just want to convince me that in fact indeed you are giving your all and your luck is simply not good enough or your total energy just isn’t working and that’s just the fate you have and there’s nothing you can do to change it, there’s really no need. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy so you only have to convince yourself about it for it to be ‘true’!

I won’t comment on the discussion unfolding, except to say I appreciate this thread. Part of my own current effort is getting back to the “devil may care” approach I had in my twenties regarding the nature of infinity and eternity.

Rick’s encyclopaedic knowledge of Richards words never fails to impress.

There has to be an angle from which all the otherwise sound and sensible AFT statements can be enacted.

This thread is an example of a very good starting point for exploring that.

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Yeah this is kind of circling what I keep coming back to recently. I was watching ‘one day’ on Netflix and there was 1 bit that kind of summed it up. It was a convo between the 2 main characters, one of which was an aspiring writer and doing anything but actually writing. The other character mentioned that as a writer you are either writing or you are wasting time.

So with actualism there are all these subsidiary things that you might end up doing but they are not the thing. And it seems the common trajectory is to put the cart before the horse with all those ‘extra things’ being confused with the application of the method.

So then it’s like - “I have ticked all the boxes and still it’s not working”, but there is 1 big thing missing here which is the actual doing of it.

It seems the same with any genuine pursuit, for example weightlifting, there are countless training programmes, exercises, diets etc and yet it seems that the guys who do well were always going to do well regardless of which specific approach they applied. Because there is something fundamental driving their progress, which is a full commitment to doing the thing over and over, actually doing it.

The problem seems to be that the rest of us who prefer to sit on the fence will look at these persons who succeeded and then try to deduce ‘things’ they did that made them successful. “Oh its because he always did A followed by B but never C on Sundays - this is the recipe”

And isn’t this specifically the master/disciple structure? That there is 1 individual who blasts through to something which others can only seek to emulate but never live. The best the disciples can do is to parrot the masters teachings and hope for a reward or get disillusioned when it is never granted.

But this is forgetting that the one who went all the way did not go through ‘the teachings’, they were always going to go all the way regardless.

This is something that I was always very poor at and still am, there is a cowardice to it of only being able to step forward if the way ahead has already been revealed. Then I am still not actually moving forward, I am just sitting back forever and playing with things in my mind.

I was putting this question to myself yesterday - “Why do I need to ‘know’ in advance as opposed to actually finding out”

For example I am working this new bunch of BJJ techniques and I was driving home and going over and over in my head, trying to imagine how they will gel together (even though I have not practiced these sequences before), there was this compulsion to feel (via imagining) like I know the answer already before the experience has been had.

Then there was this thought of, “why not actually find out, and then I can know with certainty”?

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Oh a good example here is Geoffrey mentioning that he never did the HAIETMOBA thing. But isn’t this a core aspect of the method? Isn’t this what Richard used etc? Geoffrey was going to do it HAIETMOBA or not.

And this makes more sense why all the people who have written and communicated about their success with actualism had a different ‘flavour’ to their writings. They are accounts of how these particular human beings went about the task of becoming free of the human condition. The problem is the account becoming divine, which is back to front. Then you can have the scholars of actualism agonising over some way to unify those accounts into 1 system, and still they are missing the main thing.

The funny thing is that when I am having success with the method I have no interest at all in any recipes, because I am too busy doing the thing. Sometimes I might miss all those ‘essential steps’ and I am still enjoying and appreciating, the recipe is not the same as actually doing the thing.

@Kub933 This projection nonsense you are doing is getting really out of hand.

OK well maybe if you can elaborate then I can actually understand and reply?

I intend to. But I thought I’d just suggest a stop to it before it went any further.

I just wanted to share a bit of experience here. Maybe it should be a new topic “Obstacles to Happiness”, but I think it fits with Rick’s reflections on “nothing really matters in an ultimate sense” and also with Claudiu’s response to Rick.

A few years ago when I was trying to feel consistently good and couldn’t get the hang of it, I came up with a question that gave me a key to the lock.

What conditions am I imposing on my own well-being? What conditions must life meet before I’ll agree to be happy?

Moment by moment, the answers came thick and fast. They were absurd. It showed me what kind of person I am.

“I am the kind of person who will not feel good until other people stop being irrational, unreasonable or unfair.”

“I am the kind of person who will not feel good unless everyone likes or respects me at all times and shows it.”

“I am the kind of person who will not feel good unless I’m always No.1 in her eyes.”

“I am the kind of person who will not feel good unless it’s always 15-25 degrees Celsius.”

I phrased things this way on purpose to highlight how ridiculous I am, because it’s actually true! I am. This is what eight billion people are doing most of the day. Variations of this.

“I won’t agree to be happy until [something impossible happens and something inevitable stops happening]”.

I know it’s not so easy to be glib and light-hearted about some things though. Maybe “I am the kind of person who will not feel good while people continue to get sick and die, especially if I’m one of them.”

Fine. Some things still feel worthy of suffering even if we know it’s irrational and it doesn’t help. If I draw a line somewhere, anywhere, I know can’t (yet) be unconditionally happy. In that case, I’ve agreed not to be, and I know it.

I think it’s useful to be explicit about it. See how it stacks up against the meaning of life in an ultimate sense. Otherwise I’m stuck struggling against myself at a feeling level, which is a drag and doesn’t work. Unless I drop the unreasonable conditions, I’ll never be happy because I won’t agree to it!

Even with more serious stuff, it’s still a choice. If there are some conditions I choose to hang onto, that’s up to me too. I’ll suffer on account of them until I don’t.


I discovered this the other night. I was watching a well presented video on weight training which cited scientific papers on the subject.

There is only one scientifically supported way of gaining muscle mass; 6 to 35 reps to failure!
Now that is a large number spread; one would traditionally think that it should be more specific, however the research says no; anything between 6-35 reps with a weight that will cause failure to lift more in that range will result in muscle growth.

So, I did it. 35 reps it turned out with 6 kg of lateral raises. (After a warm up set with 4kg to 20 reps).

2 sets later, 35 reps of 6kg to failure, and the next day it had obviously worked! There was an obvious increase in muscle size.

This flys in the face of decades of effort. Lifting much heavier weight, doing far more sets, and otherwise following the advice that pushing heavy weights to “near failure” was enough.

Nope. It’s failure.

@jamesjjoo I wonder if you can add something here? You mentioned that you have been enjoying and appreciating each moment again recently.

I know you wrote that the new drug played a part in the shift, was there anything else that played a role?

If yes then was it a ‘specific thing’ as per the above posts, some adjustment to the way you apply the method or was it that you simply committed to enjoying and appreciating?

My point being, there is evidence, and there is tradition and belief.

This wasn’t the first time I had good results from lifting weights, but it was the first time such a small amount of correctly performed lifting was so plainly obvious.

Back to the topic though.

Well, not quite, but almost back to the topic; what beliefs are a part of the actualism mindset which do not produce the results?

Let’s be very honest here; actualism has a lot of premises. Lots of things which are held to be facts. I wonder what is a solid “basis for happiness”?

What is actually the “science” of what works?

Surely, there is something (like the OPs presentation) which is universal.

Like the science of growing muscle.

Hey @Paul thats an awesome post! And it makes so much sense, how can I expect to be unconditionally happy and harmless if I continue to place conditions on it haha.

But that is the fact of the matter, as in right now I have placed a condition which (for whatever reason) I hold as more important than happiness and harmlessness, so be it! I get what I want, which is to suffer :joy:

But the takeaway here is that it is impossible to continue applying the method and not to get changed by it. If ‘I’ am the bar which has been set to whatever level then either happiness and harmlessness is blocked or the bar is removed.

This is a very sincere way of looking at it, I like it! The insincere way is to expect happiness and harmlessness whilst at the same time being unwilling to change myself, it is me who has set the condition after all, my values are the bar.

It seems from this insincere position I am then more likely to split myself and try to intellectualise a solution, then it’s off to the various recipes which never work because I don’t want them to work, I have already decided to suffer.

So I don’t get to have my cake and eat it after all. I don’t get to remain completely the same and still get to be happy and harmless. This is very useful for me because I have been trying specifically to accomplish this feat lol.

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I think the answer you are looking for is not going to be found in either belief or science, it’s the experiential aspect which is key. Looking for peer-reviewed articles on the basis of happiness would be just as far removed from this experiential aspect as is belief in a god granting happiness.

@Andrew so going back to lifting, there is a Olympic weightlifting coach named John Broz who put it in this way :

If someone locked you in a cell and told you that you have a month to increase your squat by 100kg or your family is kaput. Would you be following the latest scientific advice on the best ways to increase strength. Something along the lines of 5 sets of 5 reps and 2/3 times a week or would you be squatting heavy all day every day.

Richard seems like he was John Broz’s lifter but actual freedom was the goal.


A wonderful first post!

Hey @Kub933, thanks. I’m glad it struck a chord.

One of the things I found nice about this is it takes a lot of the seriousness out of my feelings once I see the absudity of my own conditions that keep them in place. It’s a nice way to be able to have a good laugh at yourself while still being totally sincere about it. Seeing the big picture while being in the midst of it, seeing my own contribution to it.

Like, there are a million situations that fit into the category of “I am the kind of person who won’t feel good until other people stop being irrational, unreasonable or unfair”. I can get really hung up on the specifics of a situation, but it’s going to keep on happening. There’ll be at least few thousand fresh instances of the same basic pattern this year. Am I going to make my well-being dependent on that not happening? Might as well slit my wrists now!

Not that specific situations don’t deserve attention sometimes, but it’s good to see it as a instance of a generic pattern.

Right now I’m dealing with a very concentrated form of this. I’m caring for a relative with dementia. If I got bogged down in the specifics of every unreasonable word or argument, I’d soon be as crazy as they are, but worse. I wouldn’t forget everything that’s been said five minutes later. Being the intelligent one in the situation, I’d stew on it and wrestle with my feelings. “Shouldn’t feel bad. Yeah, but she said… and I…” :smile:

What’s human intelligence for if it can’t see through repetitive patterns and keeps falling for the same thing again and again? It’s much easier to figure out my contribution to it than it is to deal with a million separate but similar instances, wrestling with the feelings in each specific instance as if they’re new and important. Recognising that “I am the kind of person who won’t feel good until people with dementia stop being unreasonable and forgetful” gets right to the heart of it. Better have a good laugh at myself instead.

It’s only an exaggerated form of a universal occurrence. People aren’t always reasonable. We/they won’t ever be. If I make my well-being dependent on them being so, I’m signing away my well-being right there. The same principle extends indefinitely outward in all directions.

Can’t ever expect to be happy if I won’t agree to it because “I am the kind of person who…”