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AGirlAlone comments on Are wireheads happy? - Less Wrong

108 Post author: Yvain 01 January 2010 04:41PM

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Comment author: AGirlAlone 10 February 2012 09:15:44AM 0 points [-]

I wonder. I grew up with experience in multiple systems of meditation, and found a way that works for me. Without electrodes or drugs or Nobel Prizes, I can choose to feel happy and relaxed and whatever. When I think about it, meditation can feel more pleasing and satisfying than every other experience in my life. Yet (luckily?) I do not feel any compulsion to do that in place of many other things, or try to advocate it. This is not because of willpower. While it lasts I like and want it, as if there's fulfillment of purpose, and when it's over I cannot recall that feeling faithfully enough to desire it more than I desire chocolate. Also, I cannot very reliably reproduce the feeling - it occurs only some of the time I try, cannot be had too frequently(no idea why) and cannot be consciously prolonged. So I consider it a positive addition to my life, especially helpful in yanking me out of episodes of gloom.

This of course raises multiple questions. There's such thing as ambient mood as opposed to current momentary pleasure, and if a person is pissed off too often to concentrate productively, would improving the mood be the right choice, especially if it has an upper bound and doesn't lead to the person madly pressing the button indefinitely? Hell, if there's any way to make people happier with no other change, without causing crippling obsession - maybe there's such a quirk in the brain (with want and pleasure detached from each other) to be exploited safely with meditation, maybe the button is in responsible hands, would it be acceptable? Though, the meditation sometimes make me wonder if the mind can directly change the world (I changed my emotional reality, and it felt real). Is impaired rationality an acceptable price then?