Random Xpat Rantings

Contemplative dominance for the modern man

Life is not a hedonic treadmill, it is a strategic war for fullfillment, happiness, bliss and contentment.

Posted by xsplat on July 9, 2014

the judge said: There are times when I feel nostalgic for a life I never lived but wanted to where I fell in love and had the high school love that frankly was impossible for my high school self and want to make the decision to attach myself to someone and affect that persons life for the sake of it but then I read testimonials like this.

This all seems..exhausting.

Risk/reward.

There are four basic categories of ways to increase happiness and avoid suffering

1) influence and change external situations
2) mind training
3) pharmaceuticals, supplements, diet and hormones
4) fitness

Within the category of mind training is a sub-category of philosophy, which includes internal narratives.

Your narrative seems to be that high reward is not worth high risk.

For the last several years I’ve been mostly pretty happy. Happy enough that it seemed noteworthy to me, and I’ve been trying to systematize how to create and maintain this happiness. For me a lot of this happiness involves relationships and sex and money. And chi-kung.

My narrative tells me that it’s not enough to just lower expectations and accept things as they are. That would be working solely on mind-training. That had not worked by itself for me – the external situations are hugely influential, no matter how much our philosophies tell us that they SHOULD not be.

Philosophy is useless in the dentist chair.

The external situations have huge effects.

I find that when things are well set up, I am learning and growing and enjoying and can not only be warm and content but have times of bliss and even extreme bliss.

But I can’t have that without risk.

The rewards that I’ve been personally experiencing are profoundly important to me.

I’m getting back on track to that bliss and wellbeing even now.

The down and difficult times are simply part of the process.

Buddhists have a conceptions of “samsara”, which is the fact that situations are interdependent and cause and effect is constantly causing flux and changes. Since happiness IS relative to external situations, happiness within “samsara” changes. The Buddhist “solution” to this is to try to detach from being affected by external situations through mind training.

It doesn’t work. Mind training is so helpful that I consider it essential to the good life, however as a philosophy of happiness it doesn’t work.

You need the externals. For me I need love in my life, to be at my best. That’s a fact.

Being happy is a strategic war. It’s not a series of battles, it’s a full out strategic war. You must plan, craft, put in the work, and win. Happiness is largely due to circumstance, and affecting circumstance is a life long strategic process.

As is mind and body training.

When people talk of the “hedonic treadmill”, mostly they are just making excuses for not wanting to try hard.

The concept of a hedonic treadmill is one of those dangerous partial truths. It’s just accurate enough to be dangerously wrong. The wider territory is that we can HUGELY affect our own happiness, and that happiness can grow and grow over time, with mind training and circumstance improvement. You can deliberately create and maintain not only an ongoing feeling of contentment, but even move into times of great happiness and bliss, and even extreme blisses.

That is not done on the couch thinking about “is it worth it?”

It’s done through Pavlovian training, one small step at a time. Giving yourself rewards and learning to feel and amplify those rewards for behaviors that you have chosen to use to win your war. Feel the happiness for the dollar earned. Feel the contentment for love you generate. Feel the pride for the music you make. And so on.

Rather than deaden these feelings so as to never feel loss, you feel them, and accept that samsara is the game. Use samsara. Use the fact of interdependent cause and effect to your advantage. Don’t detach from life. Evolution gave your fore-bearers attachments just so that you could have the opportunity to use them. Pleasure and suffering are foundational tools without which we could not win. Use your attachments as tools to win the war.

Life without love is losing at life.

To win any war you have to plan for the losses. You can’t avoid battles in order win. Heartbreak in life is a sign that you are out there fighting properly.

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10 Responses to “Life is not a hedonic treadmill, it is a strategic war for fullfillment, happiness, bliss and contentment.”

  1. […] the judge said: There are times when I feel nostalgic for a life I never lived but wanted to where I fell in love and had the high school love that frankly was impossible for my high school self and want to make the decision to attach myself to…  […]

  2. Bill said

    I don´t think many people say that life is a hedonic treadmill. Normally it´s used to make people aware of traps. Think about some bad habits which become addictions in the end. Drugs, ads, peer pressure can trick one into some place where they can not find out.

    Love is just another evolutional trick of nature. Yes we have to acknowledge it´s power but we should not think of it like it´s the best thing in universe. I think for the guys who know the game and think they can live with the consequences it might be a good thing to be open for it. But the vulnerability part is important. One should think many times about the consequences or it can end badly.

    As you see you have only shown one side of the story. Looks like a kind of rationalization. No problem if you love to love and be loved but no need to hype that stuff imho.

    Love is your obsession that´s it.

  3. invcit said

    Samsara is fertile ground for nirvana.

  4. Kate said

    Honestly, xplat, you are such a breath of fresh air :) Sometimes I start to lose faith in humanity and then something convinces me not to give up hope.

  5. zehrgut1 said

    Nice post. I especially like the concept of hedonic treadmill, which I am constantly trying to jump off of. But yes it is a strategic war and the first step is to identify your war goals. I picked: financial and carreer success, long term relationship success, and successful children. There are obviously other choices and everyone is different, but if you don’t have any goals, you can’t achieve them.

  6. Ken said

    From what I have encountered, there are people who are so envious in the world that they will go out of their way to disrupt your peace of mind when you have attained it. If you try to remain detached in those moments, your subconscious mind is still picking up on it and recording it and it will view you as someone who allows and permits that kind of behavior from other people. And that is not a good thing. People may say that the Buddha experienced enlightenment while sitting and meditating beneath a tree. But I can readily and easily imagine someone or other flicking a pebble at the back of his skull in the very next moment. That is simply how people are.

    • xsplat said

      Equanimity can be anti-seductive. Sometimes a guy has to be so firm with his boundaries, that we had to come up with the term “pimp hand”.

  7. t said

    Not sure where to post this, but you mentioned before that you feel we should pursue as many avenues that will be of benefit in terms of attraction, such as money, looks, game, lifestyle, etc.

    As someone with a lot of money, and someone who tries various nootropics and other enhancements, have you ever considered a hair transplant? You mentioned a few times that you are balding, so why not try to optimize that?

    • xsplat said

      I doubt I have enough hair left to transplant.

      But I’m considering a facelift. And occasionally I look online at wigs. Both will likely happen sometime in 2015. I was just looking at eye-lift before and after pics on google last night. And there are injectable collagens that can work wonders also. I even flirted with a makeup girl the other day and had her do half my face. I was surprised. Makeup really works. So ya, a combination of all those things could take off 10 years.

      Wigs and toupees are usually made in SEA, however I can’t seem to find a place here for a fitting. Most retailers import into European and North American markets and make a great markup. I’d rather visit the factory and deal with the knitting girls directly.

      In the meantime my body is looking about as fit as it ever has. I started squirting HGH again and that’s helped a lot in putting on some weight.

  8. […] | Life is not a hedonic treadmill, it is a strategic war for fullfillment, happiness, bliss and conten… | xsplat.com […]

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