TDB&TB Question #6 - More on Mithra

by Jean-Dominique Bauby

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Unread postby Liz » Sat May 10, 2008 9:09 pm

nebraska wrote:What kind of life would it be if a person was to say "I am completely happy now; I have all I ever wanted. My life is absolutely complete." .......but not over.....years go by with nothing left to strive for because you already have perfect happiness. No more goals, no more hopes, just endless waiting for death. I think it would be a sad life that didn't have a few regrets.

But there have been times in my life where I was so happy that I never wanted things to change. Unfortunately, things do change. Life is fluid. It’s not realistic for life to be completely perfect or satisfying—at least not indefinitely. And I think our interests, desires and purpose can change over a lifetime. Those elements can change due to our own longings or due to fate (or chance as some might see it).
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Unread postby Parlez » Sat May 10, 2008 9:14 pm

nebraska wrote:What kind of life would it be if a person was to say "I am completely happy now; I have all I ever wanted. My life is absolutely complete." .......but not over.....years go by with nothing left to strive for because you already have perfect happiness. No more goals, no more hopes, just endless waiting for death. I think it would be a sad life that didn't have a few regrets.

:bounce: OhHO! I was hoping somebody would bring this up!! I've been chomping at the bit (racetrack parlance) for the chance to make precisely such a parallel between this story and Happy Days! Mods, are we going to go around that bend, or shall I take the inside track here??
"Belay that! ...Do something else!" ~ Hector Barbossa
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Sat May 10, 2008 10:27 pm

I don't see the definitive link between happiness and having regrets. I'm old :-| , have no serious regrets (because I can't be sure a different course would have worked better), but I still have plenty of goals and interests. A lack of regrets doesn't guarantee perfect happiness; I think it just saves one from wasting energy on a past that can't be changed anyway. Without the catastrophe, I think Jean-Do would have just had some minor regrets and loads of exciting plans for the future. :thumbsup:
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Unread postby trinni » Sun May 11, 2008 4:31 am

Parlez wrote
Ergo, the question arises: if happiness feels so ethereal, how come feelings like sorrow and despair and regret feel so permanent? As feelings go, are they not as fleeting as happiness? For some reason we tend to grab and hold onto the negative stuff and let those feelings take us over/down, and yet we easily let go of the good stuff as if it doesn't merit more than a whisper of our attention. People claim they have to 'deal with' depression, like it's a permanent state of being; but nobody says the same about happiness.

Maybe we just don't recognise happiness. Or rather we equate euphoria with happiness. I imagine that living with prolonged euphoria might be as difficult as living with depression. Perhaps we should use the word contentment instead.
I agree with BettySue in that most regrets Jean-Do had were because of his illness, his realisation that things would never be the same. Don't we all feel we are immortal?. I'm happy, or content anyway, with no regrets. But tell me I won't live till the end of the week and I'll have a list as long as your arm of things I wished I had done or not done or done differently.
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Unread postby suec » Sun May 11, 2008 5:17 am

I don't know if there are always regrets or not. I know there are always mistakes. But it is possible that not everyone responds to them in the same way. I think some people are more adept than others at living the life they want to lead. I get the impression about Jean-Do that he was one of those people, from little things he says. It seems to me he had many reasons to celebrate a successful life. But I have no way of knowing, really, how content in his life he was, how fulfilled he felt, before his accident. Prior to it, he had made some significant changes: plans to write a novel, leaving his family for another woman. I suppose they may be quite telling. Regrets are natural, and often for the things not done, rather than for the things that have been. But also for how we have treated others. It's an interesting word he uses: remorse. When he tells us of Sylvie weeping for their shattered lives, it is arguably not just the accident that shattered them, is it? However, he is quite circumspect about certain aspects of his life really.

Parlez wroteQuote:
Ergo, the question arises: if happiness feels so ethereal, how come feelings like sorrow and despair and regret feel so permanent? As feelings go, are they not as fleeting as happiness? For some reason we tend to grab and hold onto the negative stuff and let those feelings take us over/down, and yet we easily let go of the good stuff as if it doesn't merit more than a whisper of our attention. People claim they have to 'deal with' depression, like it's a permanent state of being; but nobody says the same about happiness.


Maybe we just don't recognise happiness. Or rather we equate euphoria with happiness. I imagine that living with prolonged euphoria might be as difficult as living with depression. Perhaps we should use the word contentment instead.


I agree that they are all pretty fleeting.To me, sorrow, depression, etc have not seemed longlasting really. But there have been times in my life where it has seemed like there were more of them than the good times. I wonder about the extent to which this varies from person to person. But it is good to recognise happiness while we have it. I once spent a holiday with someone who at the end of it asked us all to identify the "champagne moments" of it. It's a custom I have maintained ever since, and not just on holiday.
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Unread postby Parlez » Sun May 11, 2008 8:21 am

trinni wrote:Parlez wrote
Ergo, the question arises: if happiness feels so ethereal, how come feelings like sorrow and despair and regret feel so permanent? As feelings go, are they not as fleeting as happiness? For some reason we tend to grab and hold onto the negative stuff and let those feelings take us over/down, and yet we easily let go of the good stuff as if it doesn't merit more than a whisper of our attention. People claim they have to 'deal with' depression, like it's a permanent state of being; but nobody says the same about happiness.

Maybe we just don't recognise happiness. Or rather we equate euphoria with happiness. I imagine that living with prolonged euphoria might be as difficult as living with depression. Perhaps we should use the word contentment instead.


I like the distinction you make between euphoria and happiness, trinni ~ :cool: It's like the difference between feeling and sensation; if we could distinguish between those two we'd probably have a better shot at recognizing true happiness. And then we might find contentment...

Maybe Jean-Do lived most of his life according to the 'pleasure principle' and that's what he regrets...?
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Unread postby Liz » Sun May 11, 2008 10:58 am

suec wrote:
trinni wrote:Maybe we just don't recognise happiness. Or rather we equate euphoria with happiness. I imagine that living with prolonged euphoria might be as difficult as living with depression. Perhaps we should use the word contentment instead.


I agree that they are all pretty fleeting.To me, sorrow, depression, etc have not seemed longlasting really. But there have been times in my life where it has seemed like there were more of them than the good times. I wonder about the extent to which this varies from person to person. But it is good to recognise happiness while we have it. I once spent a holiday with someone who at the end of it asked us all to identify the "champagne moments" of it. It's a custom I have maintained ever since, and not just on holiday.


I like that you pointed out that distinction, trinni. Contentment is a good word. But I think I define happiness as a tad stronger than contentment. It's a fine line, though. I have to agree with you, Suec. I probably have more times of depression and angst than of happiness. But I'd say that overall, I've been content.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby Liz » Sun May 11, 2008 11:00 am

Parlez wrote:
nebraska wrote:What kind of life would it be if a person was to say "I am completely happy now; I have all I ever wanted. My life is absolutely complete." .......but not over.....years go by with nothing left to strive for because you already have perfect happiness. No more goals, no more hopes, just endless waiting for death. I think it would be a sad life that didn't have a few regrets.

:bounce: OhHO! I was hoping somebody would bring this up!! I've been chomping at the bit (racetrack parlance) for the chance to make precisely such a parallel between this story and Happy Days! Mods, are we going to go around that bend, or shall I take the inside track here??


Thanks for asking, Parlez. We don’t have a specific question on Happy Days but there is some potential crossover. At the end of the discussion we will be asking you all to post any topics you would like to discuss that weren’t covered. Can you hold on to the reins until then? :grin:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby Parlez » Sun May 11, 2008 1:45 pm

Liz wrote:
Parlez wrote:
nebraska wrote:What kind of life would it be if a person was to say "I am completely happy now; I have all I ever wanted. My life is absolutely complete." .......but not over.....years go by with nothing left to strive for because you already have perfect happiness. No more goals, no more hopes, just endless waiting for death. I think it would be a sad life that didn't have a few regrets.

:bounce: OhHO! I was hoping somebody would bring this up!! I've been chomping at the bit (racetrack parlance) for the chance to make precisely such a parallel between this story and Happy Days! Mods, are we going to go around that bend, or shall I take the inside track here??


Thanks for asking, Parlez. We don’t have a specific question on Happy Days but there is some potential crossover. At the end of the discussion we will be asking you all to post any topics you would like to discuss that weren’t covered. Can you hold on to the reins until then? :grin:


I won't say 'neigh' to that idea. :cool:
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Unread postby gemini » Sun May 11, 2008 2:04 pm

nebraska wrote:What kind of life would it be if a person was to say "I am completely happy now; I have all I ever wanted. My life is absolutely complete." .......but not over.....years go by with nothing left to strive for because you already have perfect happiness. No more goals, no more hopes, just endless waiting for death. I think it would be a sad life that didn't have a few regrets.

If we never knew sorrow how would you know what happiness is? ...
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

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Unread postby Liz » Sun May 11, 2008 2:36 pm

Parlez wrote:
Liz wrote:
Parlez wrote:
nebraska wrote:What kind of life would it be if a person was to say "I am completely happy now; I have all I ever wanted. My life is absolutely complete." .......but not over.....years go by with nothing left to strive for because you already have perfect happiness. No more goals, no more hopes, just endless waiting for death. I think it would be a sad life that didn't have a few regrets.

:bounce: OhHO! I was hoping somebody would bring this up!! I've been chomping at the bit (racetrack parlance) for the chance to make precisely such a parallel between this story and Happy Days! Mods, are we going to go around that bend, or shall I take the inside track here??


Thanks for asking, Parlez. We don’t have a specific question on Happy Days but there is some potential crossover. At the end of the discussion we will be asking you all to post any topics you would like to discuss that weren’t covered. Can you hold on to the reins until then? :grin:


I won't say 'neigh' to that idea. :cool:

:lol:

gemini wrote:If we never knew sorrow how would you know what happiness is? ...

So true!
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby fansmom » Mon May 12, 2008 7:57 pm

gemini wrote:If we never knew sorrow how would you know what happiness is? ...
I can't quote it exactly, but there's a Hindu saying about not being able to read chalk on a white board; you must have the black and white to understand what's written.

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Unread postby gemini » Mon May 12, 2008 8:09 pm

fansmom wrote:
gemini wrote:If we never knew sorrow how would you know what happiness is? ...
I can't quote it exactly, but there's a Hindu saying about not being able to read chalk on a white board; you must have the black and white to understand what's written.

Makes sense to me.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers



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Unread postby Parlez » Mon May 12, 2008 8:21 pm

gemini wrote:
fansmom wrote:
gemini wrote:If we never knew sorrow how would you know what happiness is? ...
I can't quote it exactly, but there's a Hindu saying about not being able to read chalk on a white board; you must have the black and white to understand what's written.

Makes sense to me.

And then the Buddhists come along and say: just make sure you keep the eraser handy! :lol:
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Unread postby nebraska » Mon May 12, 2008 10:28 pm

I still believe that 20/20 hindsight makes things different. Yes, I did what thought was right but in retrospect perhaps I could have done different/better. Yes, this part of my life was good BUT if I had only done XYZ it would have been even better. I can't imagine having no regrets......can a life with no regrets have been full? Or is a life with flaws still full?


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