Journey to Elsewhen 01
The View from in Here 02
Outside Looking In 03
In the Blindspot of the Mind's Eye 04
The Hound of Silence 05
The Future Is Now 06
Time Bombs 07
Paradise Glossed 08
Immune to Reality 09
Once Bitten 10
Reporting Live from Tomorrow 11
The View from in Here
In Chapter 2, I begin an examination of the emotional experience we call happiness. The human brain learned to look forward in time so that it could steer us toward happy futures and away from unhappy ones. But is happiness really the only thing we should be aiming for?
Philosophers such as John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham answered that question with a qualified "yes" and their philosophy of "utilitarianism" explains why. Robert Nozick disagreed, arguing that no one would want to spend his life in a virtual reality machine that provided artificial happiness. But is that true? Psychologist Geoffrey Miller speculates about what might happen to a society of individuals who learn how to synthesize happiness rather than "earning" it the old-fashioned way.
Is happiness one of many things a person can value, or is happiness what "valuing" means? In other words, do we ever value anything for any reason other than its potential to bring us happiness in the short or long term?
"What Utilitarianism Is" in J.S. Mill "Utilitarianism" (1863), in On Liberty, the Subjection of Women and Utilitarianism, in The Basic Writings of John Stuart Mill, ed. D.E. Miller (New York: Modern Library, 2002).
"Happiness" in R. Nozick The Examined Life. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989, 102.
G. Miller, "Why we haven't met any aliens,"Seed, April/May, 41-43 (2006).
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