A FUNNY THING HAPPENED

On My Way To Writing

A funny thing happened to me on my way to writing my recent blogs. Just after posting my current blog on happiness, the “Wisdom Group” I attend chose morality as our next topic. Then at breakfast my friend Gene Unger shared some quotes on wisdom for the two of us to discuss. The funny thing is that these coincidental events caused me to think about these three topics as interrelated.

Happiness, morality and wisdom share some interesting similarities. There is no agreement on the definitions; all three have been studied and researched for many years without conclusions; how much is innate or learned is still debated; all three basically involve mental interpretations.

What is agreed is that happiness is not enduring; a universal moral code doesn’t exist, and maybe can’t; wisdom is not knowledge. Apparently we know something about what these concepts are not, but don’t know what they are.

All of this reminds me of how much we didn’t know (but thought we knew) about decision making 60 years ago when I started studying it. A lot has been learned over the years and it involves the role of reason and emotion. We now know that human decision making is usually not a rational process, although we like to think it is. Emotion, intuition, gut feelings, cognitive biases and the unconscious mind play a significant role. And good decision making depends on the context.

Since happiness, morality and wisdom, like decision making, involve mental interpretations such as perception and beliefs, this makes me wonder about the role of context and reason and emotion in happiness, morality and wisdom.

I am not sure where I am going with this. Stay tuned.

 

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