It is preferable to live one day with inner peace than a thousand years without.

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LuckyR
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Re: It is preferable to live one day with inner peace than a thousand years without.

Post by LuckyR »

Scott wrote: April 4th, 2021, 7:08 pm ***
LuckyR wrote: April 2nd, 2021, 2:38 am Sounds counterintuitive, but it is well established that bronze medal winners are much, much happier than silver medal winners, because (like this case) happiness is gauged relatively, not absolutely.
Scott wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 1:46 pm I agree that certain types of so-called 'happiness' (namely comfort, bodily pleasure, and fleeting emotional highs) are inherently relative to averages and also eroded by adaption. Thus, they strongly tend to be balanced in a yin-yang way, in some ways inexorably so. I think that idea you wisely point out is the usual intended meaning in common wisdom such as, the higher one climbs, the further you inevitably you falls.

However, those kinds of so-called 'happiness' are not what I refer to when I reference inner peace, spiritual liberation, contentment, enlightenment, or nirvana.

Inner peace is not affected by externals such as which medal one is awarded or whether or not one wins a million dollar lottery.

In some ways at least, inner peace is by definition stoic.

If the experience of yin-yang-balanced so-called happiness (namely comfort, bodily pleasure, and fleeting emotional highs) are like a roller coaster of ups and downs that net to zero (i.e. the roller coaster ends where it begins), then one's level of inner peace is something that is had in equal measure on the ups and the downs. By definition, it is had in equal measure when one wins the gold or the bronze or no medal at all. By definition, it is had in equal measure upon the pleasing birth of a new baby or the displeasing death of a beloved parent. By definition, it is had in equal measure whether one wins the lottery by sheer luck later today or one's house burns down causing one to go financially bankrupt. It is had in times of outer peace and outer war. It is had just the same when one is given a Trojan horse as when later soldiers jump out of the horse and start the stabbing and slicing.
LuckyR wrote: April 4th, 2021, 2:00 pm We are both correct. True, folks will seek improvements as you noted, yet I am also correct that you cannot miss what you have never experienced. And just as everyone seeks riches, the average person is not crushed that they are not wealthy, whereas a wealthy person who is now poor has additional psychological issues that the always poor do not.

As to the effect of a brief, one time exposure to a tremendous positive followed by the "seeking" you correctly catalog (that never is satisfied) in addition to the "missing" that I referenced, that sounds like psychological torture of an exquisitely twisted sort.
Yes, I agree that in terms of comfort, emotional highs, bodily pleasure, and fleeting happiness, peak experiences of those types (e.g. a shot of heroin, winning the lottery, enjoying the honeymoon stage of a new romantic relationship, etc.) can ultimately be torturous since they inherently tend to be fleeting, fickle, and adaptive (i.e. relative to average, which results in insatiability and the sense that the grass could always be greener). That is why I reference addiction to comfort in the OP.

By definition, I define inner peace as something that is not that. Inner peace is by definition a non-adaptive intrinsic quality like confidence or gracefulness. By non-adaptive, I mean that by definition it does not have the quality of being self-referentially relative to average and thus being inherently insatiable in the way that bodily comfort and wealth-chasing are. Unlike the fleeting so-called happiness of comfort, emotional highs, and sensual/bodily pleasure, inner peace is not a roller coaster where ups entail downs or where one needs to keep chasing a high or fighting to delay or prevent the ensuing low.

Inner peace is not the absence of those things either. One with inner peace will presumably still experience the emotional highs of gambling, sex, or whatever and the emotional lows of hunger pain or of tripping on the sidewalk and face-planting into the cement. Inner peace (or its lack thereof) is simply a different conceptual dimension altogether, like height is a different conceptual dimension than weight, or sound is a different conceptual dimension than sight. Being tall (or short) does not necessarily imply being heavy or thin. One can be bright and quiet, bright and loud, or dim and quiet, or dim and loud; it's two different things. Inner peace is different than the so-called happiness of comfort, emotional highs, and sensual bodily pleasures. At any given time, one can be said to have/experience both, neither, the former but not the latter, or the latter but not the former.

Inner peace is not like the emotional high of a gambling win, a sexual orgasm, or a good's nights sleep in a comfy bed. It does not share the fleeting, adaptive, and addictive quality of comfort and bodily pleasure. Nirvana wouldn't be a super-high on that one conceptual dimension; it's not on that dimension at all.

Inner peace (or its lack thereof) can persist through the day-to-day and year-to-year vicissitudes of one's life. It can persist and tends to persist. Inner peace or its opposite seem to have an inertia in that way.

By being non-adaptive and non-addictive, inner peace is roughly speaking more like intelligence or confidence. The seeming gaining of it isn't so tied to the losing of it. In fact, the opposite seems to be the case. Unlike comfort and bodily pleasure, inner peace and spiritual liberation seem to have an inertia, rather than a yin-yang-balanced roller-coaster-like pendulum quality that gravitates towards net zero.

Albert Camus wrote, "One must imagine Sisyphus happy."
Okay, you can't have it both ways. But I'll let you pick since it is your thread so you get to set the ground rules.

You can have the definition of Inner Peace that gives it special properties such that a single day's worth of exposure is functionally much longer in effect (perhaps as long as a lifetime). If this is the case it renders your comment about "one day of inner peace" misleading since it may as well be a life's worth.

Or if Inner Peace has the property of one day's worth actually only lasting one calendar day, then regardless of the specific properties you may try to imbue it with, my postings weren't addressing it's properties rather the memory of Inner Peace. Missing a past event is not due to the specific properties of the event, it is due to the memory of the event. If you agree that Inner Peace would be a positive thing (likely extremely positive), I would stand by my prior posting.

Of course there is a third option (that I alluded to above) and that is that Inner Peace isn't actually a positive event at all, it wouldn't create a fantastic memory and thus one wouldn't miss it if one only experienced it for one day. Some of your commentary seems consistent with this. But it is your call.
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Re: It is preferable to live one day with inner peace than a thousand years without.

Post by Belindi »

Non-transient 'inner peace'
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.…
Matthew 6-19

(I quote Matthew with no intention of preaching but as I may quote any other serious literature)
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Re: It is preferable to live one day with inner peace than a thousand years without.

Post by Count Lucanor »

Scott wrote: April 4th, 2021, 7:08 pm
Count Lucanor wrote: April 1st, 2021, 7:46 pm one can certainly not be addicted to a general thing, to a mere abstract concept
Can one be addicted to gambling?

Can one be addicted to a toxic abusive romantic relationship?

Can one be a sex addict?

Is being addicted to sexual gratification possible but being addicted to comfort not possible?

In one sense, everything is an abstract concept. Abstractness may simply be an aspect of thinghood.
Of course we can make abstractions of the things we can get addicted to. Gambling, toxic relationships, sex and comfort are general concepts that describe sets of complex and distinct situations. We can think of given sets of those as types, composed of concrete tokens of said situations. Two people might be addicted to betting games, but not necessarily to the same games. Two sex addicts will not be addicted to the same people and to the same practices. It may be that people get addicted to different situations that would fall all under the label "comfort", and we can identify typical situations of comfort, such as one that includes having a pool in your house, but ultimately, people will get addicted to the specific, concrete situations that they experience. The point is that when I mentioned concrete tokens (i.e. the pool) that work as indicators of typical comfortable scenarios, you replied that what you had in mind was addiction to comfort itself. That "itself" is the questionable hypostasis. It would be the equivalent to saying that people are not addicted to concrete instances of gambling, but to "gambling itself", not to concrete instances of sex or relationships, but to "toxic relationships themselves" or "sex itself". And so it is my contention that you cannot get addicted to these abstractions "themselves".
Scott wrote: April 4th, 2021, 7:08 pm
Count Lucanor wrote: April 1st, 2021, 7:46 pm As you can see now, inner peace means something different to me. It's not a nirvana, a definite state to which one arrives, but a rational account one makes at any given point of life, by comparison of the desired conditions vs the actual conditions,
When you speak of "desired conditions" versus "actual conditions", are the "conditions" you refer to outer things (i.e. externals) such as how much money one has or whether one is standing in a cold rain versus in a warm comfy house or such?
I try to very cautious in using the external/internal distinction. I prefer to think of subjects in a continuum where the so called "external" conditions are actually intertwined with the "internal" conditions. With that still in mind one can talk of objective conditions vs subjective conditions, and in that context, I refer to inner peace as a rational account (necessarily subjective) of the desired and actual conditions (both subjective and objective) in one's life at a given point. In other words, through introspection and understanding of the things that have been going in my life, I persuade myself that these are the conditions I would want to settle with. These conditions are unlikely things I just stumbled into, accidentally or passively, but things I actively pursued as the owner of my life. Going back to Ortega y Gassett, my life is myself along with my circumstances.
Scott wrote: April 4th, 2021, 7:08 pm To me inner peace is inherently by definition something that is independent of externals and thus theoretically invincible to outward changes in circumstances, analogously comparable to concepts like confidence, stoic-ness, and gracefulness.

In other words, inner peace is an intrinsic quality like confidence not an extrinsic quality like wealthiness.
As I just explained, I cannot make any separation between "internal" life and the "external" world, at best between objective conditions and subjective ones, acknowledging that it is precisely the subject who can intervene in the objective conditions and in the process, redefine themselves as practical beings oriented to goals. So I don't mind the difference if what gives you inner peace is a wealthy mansion on the slopes a Swiss mountain, distributing hot soup among the homeless, or having fame and commercial success writing romantic novels, or all of the above. It is where you want to be, feeling satisfied.
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Re: It is preferable to live one day with inner peace than a thousand years without.

Post by Scott »

LuckyR wrote: April 5th, 2021, 2:14 am
Okay, you can't have it both ways. But I'll let you pick since it is your thread so you get to set the ground rules.

You can have the definition of Inner Peace that gives it special properties such that a single day's worth of exposure is functionally much longer in effect (perhaps as long as a lifetime). If this is the case it renders your comment about "one day of inner peace" misleading since it may as well be a life's worth.

Or if Inner Peace has the property of one day's worth actually only lasting one calendar day, then regardless of the specific properties you may try to imbue it with, my postings weren't addressing it's properties rather the memory of Inner Peace. Missing a past event is not due to the specific properties of the event, it is due to the memory of the event. If you agree that Inner Peace would be a positive thing (likely extremely positive), I would stand by my prior posting.

Of course there is a third option (that I alluded to above) and that is that Inner Peace isn't actually a positive event at all, it wouldn't create a fantastic memory and thus one wouldn't miss it if one only experienced it for one day. Some of your commentary seems consistent with this. But it is your call.
Of those three options, I do think the third seems most consistent with what I have in mind. That also helps shed light on the opposite situation of a peak positive experience (e.g. winning the lottery or having the best sex of one's life one night), which would be a peak negative experience (e.g. the death of a loved one, getting in a terrible car accident, going through a hard divorce, etc.). There is a Sofi proveb that says, "when the ego weeps for what it has lost, the spirit rejoices for what is found." Similarly, Neizche wrote that what doesn't kill you tends to make you stronger. Those ideas where peak external misfortune can ultimately result in being a blessing in dismay be the inverse of your wise idea that peak external fortune or peak bodily pleasure/comfort can be a curse in disguise Nietzsche. One could have a person always chasing a peak high, cursed to say every day, "I've had better." One could have a person develop a habit of graciousness, and even on relatively unpleasant day say, "I've had worse."

With that said, I think my example in the OP may not have been clear.

I didn't mean to suggest that one day of inner peace followed by 999+ years of non-inner-peace would be better than 1000 years of non-inner-peace. Rather, I meant to suggest that one day of inner peace followed by death is better than 1000 years of non-inner-peace (i.e. 1,000 discontent). It's not necessarily the case that time spent in inner peace is functionally longer, but rather the main difference may be that if one is dead one cannot miss anything, for better or worse.

One thing I hope that example reflects is that longevity is not intrinsically as valuable as gut instincts might have us treat it. I think that's idea behind wisdom about how some people have many years in their life but little to not life in their years.

Belindi wrote: April 5th, 2021, 4:38 am Non-transient 'inner peace'
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.…
Matthew 6-19

(I quote Matthew with no intention of preaching but as I may quote any other serious literature)
A great quote. I do tend to interpret Jesus's words about heaven as being about inner peace and nirvana. Jesus is also quoted as saying that the kingdom of heaven is within you.


Count Lucanor wrote: April 6th, 2021, 3:29 pm The point is that when I mentioned concrete tokens (i.e. the pool) that work as indicators of typical comfortable scenarios, you replied that what you had in mind was addiction to comfort itself. That "itself" is the questionable hypostasis. It would be the equivalent to saying that people are not addicted to concrete instances of gambling, but to "gambling itself", not to concrete instances of sex or relationships, but to "toxic relationships themselves" or "sex itself". And so it is my contention that you cannot get addicted to these abstractions "themselves".
The concrete aspects of an addiction (e.g. the casino, the slot machine, a specific type of game or sporting event upon which one may bet, etc.) are perhaps tokens that help clothe or point to the addiction, but the addiction is not concrete.

Perhaps my use of the word "itself" was redundant and seemed to imply something I don't mean.

For instance, I'm not really sure I see the difference between being "addicted to sex" versus being "addicted to sex itself". I'm not sure I see the difference between being "addicted to gambling" versus being "addicted to gambling itself". However, if you do see a clear difference between those, I would appreciate you explaining that difference to me (e.g. the difference between being "addicted to sex" versus being "addicted to sex itself").

In any case, I think I was just using (or misusing) the redundancy of the word itself to emphasize that I didn't mean comfortable addiction but rather addiction to comfort.


Scott wrote: April 4th, 2021, 7:08 pm To me inner peace is inherently by definition something that is independent of externals and thus theoretically invincible to outward changes in circumstances, analogously comparable to concepts like confidence, stoic-ness, and gracefulness.

In other words, inner peace is an intrinsic quality like confidence not an extrinsic quality like wealthiness.
Count Lucanor wrote: April 6th, 2021, 3:29 pm As I just explained, I cannot make any separation between "internal" life and the "external" world, at best between objective conditions and subjective ones, acknowledging that it is precisely the subject who can intervene in the objective conditions and in the process, redefine themselves as practical beings oriented to goals.
I don't think the difference between intrinsic qualities and extrinsic qualities is controversial at all, nor that it requires a strong separation between "internal" life and the "external" world, especially if that entails dualism (I am not personally a dualist).

Rather, even if we are talking about unconscious simple objects in the world we can distinguish between intrinsic and extrinsic qualities, recognizing that the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic is not necessarily binary (i.e. black-and-white) but can be a continuum in which some qualities are much more extrinsic or intrinsic in comparison to each other, just like saying something is tall versus short, or that a quality is common versus uncommon.

A heavy red bouncy ball that radiates black body radiation may not be heavy on the moon, but may be much bouncier. We could in theory distinguish between (1) it's inner/intrinsic redness as a quality the wavelengths of light it reflects without regard to whether it is actually in light at any given time and whether or not any given person looking at is colorblind, versus (2) the extrinsic redness which is dependent on the external factors of whether the sun is shining or the person looking at is colorblind.

While there are many philosophical discussions (and disagreements) to be had about internal life versus external world and whether such a difference exists, I don't think that's necessary to resolve to categorize qualities such as sexual pleasure, confidence, physical pain or discomfort, financial wealthiness, anger, sadness, fear, cowardice, bravery or inner peace into those qualities that are relatively intrinsic versus those which are more contingent upon external happenstance and external circumstance.

Bravery and cowardice are both much more intrinsic than fear. The brave person is brave despite the extrinsic situation and despite the presence or absense of the feeling of fear. But the feeling of fear is more subject to how scary and/or dangerous the situation is. A coward can have persistent cowardly qualities even if hidden from superficial view by the happenstance of non-scary situations, like the color of an intrinsically red ball may be unknown or unseen in the dark or by the colorblind, but is revealed by light.

There is nothing inherently mystical about what makes bravery and cowardice more intrinsic, stable, and persistent than fear, or what makes inner peace by definition more intrinsic, stable, and persistent than more externally contingent emotional highs and emotional lows or bodily comfort or discomfort or sensual pleasure or pain.

Some qualities are highly dependent and contingent on the vicissitudes of day-to-day or year-to-year life, such as how much fear or sexual pleasure a person happens to be feeling at any given moment. Other qualities are more persistent and immune to changing external/situational circumstance, such as bravery, cowardice, confidence, and inner peace.

It's as conceptually agreeable and non-mystical as distinguishing between the inner redness of a ball versus the extrinsic redness of the ball. If you say the ball would be red in this room, but not red in the dark room over there, then I know you speak of extrinsic red. If you say the ball is red if I look at it but not red if my color blind friend looks at it, I know you speak of extrinsic redness. Inner red is the type of red that the ball is no matter who looks at it and no matter which room it is in. We don't have to assume that this difference between extrinsic and intrinsic qualities, and thus between inner red and outer red, are strictly binary or reflect a fundamental dualism or non-nominalism in the ontology of fundamental reality. The difference between inner red and outer red is generally compatible with any philosophy, just like the difference between cereal and bananas is compatible with any philosophy. It doesn't require a specific approach or answer to the problem of universals. In other words, I think everything I have said in this topic is as compatible with nominalism as well as non-nominalism and with dualism as well as monism.

Count Lucanor wrote: April 6th, 2021, 3:29 pm So I don't mind the difference if what gives you inner peace is a wealthy mansion on the slopes a Swiss mountain, distributing hot soup among the homeless, or having fame and commercial success writing romantic novels, or all of the above. It is where you want to be, feeling satisfied.

[Emphasis added.]
If you replace the word "inner peace" with "pleasure and comfort", then I agree.

However, by definition, what you say is not true as written if you use the phrase inner peace as I use the phrase. By definition, if you feel one way before getting a mansion, then feel a second way after getting mansion because you got the mansion, then go back to feeling the first way when you lose the mansion because you lose the mansion, that is not inner peace, ipso facto. That would be like saying someone is only brave as long as they aren't put in scary or dangerous situations. Bravery is not the absence of fear, and it is not so situationally contingent.

Inner peace is not based on where you are or similar external happenstance and situational vicissitudes. Like confidence and bravery, it by definition tends to be carried with you, and so too would its absence be carried with you wherever you go. A miserable person who is miserable because they lack inner peace would be miserable even in a cloudy heaven, for they bring their inner hell with them wherever they go. The same goes for inner peace. If one doesn't have it both when in the comfy mansion and when forced against one's will into homelessness on the cold street where great physical pain and hunger is felt, then one simply doesn't have it. Some things can not be taken so easily by the vicissitudes of life. One can have inner peace in a bloody war zone, and grace under fire. By definition, a comfortable mansion cannot provide inner peace.
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Re: It is preferable to live one day with inner peace than a thousand years without.

Post by LuckyR »

Scott wrote: April 6th, 2021, 8:16 pm
LuckyR wrote: April 5th, 2021, 2:14 am
Okay, you can't have it both ways. But I'll let you pick since it is your thread so you get to set the ground rules.

You can have the definition of Inner Peace that gives it special properties such that a single day's worth of exposure is functionally much longer in effect (perhaps as long as a lifetime). If this is the case it renders your comment about "one day of inner peace" misleading since it may as well be a life's worth.

Or if Inner Peace has the property of one day's worth actually only lasting one calendar day, then regardless of the specific properties you may try to imbue it with, my postings weren't addressing it's properties rather the memory of Inner Peace. Missing a past event is not due to the specific properties of the event, it is due to the memory of the event. If you agree that Inner Peace would be a positive thing (likely extremely positive), I would stand by my prior posting.

Of course there is a third option (that I alluded to above) and that is that Inner Peace isn't actually a positive event at all, it wouldn't create a fantastic memory and thus one wouldn't miss it if one only experienced it for one day. Some of your commentary seems consistent with this. But it is your call.
Of those three options, I do think the third seems most consistent with what I have in mind. That also helps shed light on the opposite situation of a peak positive experience (e.g. winning the lottery or having the best sex of one's life one night), which would be a peak negative experience (e.g. the death of a loved one, getting in a terrible car accident, going through a hard divorce, etc.). There is a Sofi proveb that says, "when the ego weeps for what it has lost, the spirit rejoices for what is found." Similarly, Neizche wrote that what doesn't kill you tends to make you stronger. Those ideas where peak external misfortune can ultimately result in being a blessing in dismay be the inverse of your wise idea that peak external fortune or peak bodily pleasure/comfort can be a curse in disguise Nietzsche. One could have a person always chasing a peak high, cursed to say every day, "I've had better." One could have a person develop a habit of graciousness, and even on relatively unpleasant day say, "I've had worse."

With that said, I think my example in the OP may not have been clear.

I didn't mean to suggest that one day of inner peace followed by 999+ years of non-inner-peace would be better than 1000 years of non-inner-peace. Rather, I meant to suggest that one day of inner peace followed by death is better than 1000 years of non-inner-peace (i.e. 1,000 discontent). It's not necessarily the case that time spent in inner peace is functionally longer, but rather the main difference may be that if one is dead one cannot miss anything, for better or worse.

One thing I hope that example reflects is that longevity is not intrinsically as valuable as gut instincts might have us treat it. I think that's idea behind wisdom about how some people have many years in their life but little to not life in their years.
I was starting to come to that conclusion (as you can tell by my description of the third option).

I see how you meant to set up the question. I agree that longevity is not intrinsically positive, ie that it has positives and negatives. Given your description I could see it both ways. That is, if looked at from one's own perspective (selfishly) I see the value of the inner peace. OTOH, if looked at altruistically, I think of the value I can bring to others in 1000 years and find that better.
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Re: It is preferable to live one day with inner peace than a thousand years without.

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Scott wrote: The concrete aspects of an addiction (e.g. the casino, the slot machine, a specific type of game or sporting event upon which one may bet, etc.) are perhaps tokens that help clothe or point to the addiction, but the addiction is not concrete.
Scott wrote: For instance, I'm not really sure I see the difference between being "addicted to sex" versus being "addicted to sex itself". I'm not sure I see the difference between being "addicted to gambling" versus being "addicted to gambling itself". However, if you do see a clear difference between those, I would appreciate you explaining that difference to me (e.g. the difference between being "addicted to sex" versus being "addicted to sex itself").
There are many possible combinations of particulars and general categories in our language, and it is hard to clarify what we mean if we don't get into all the nuances. An addiction, for example, is a term we use to describe a collection of particular symptoms and behaviors in relation with either specific or typical objects or events. The addiction to cocaine, for example, is about the particular symptoms and behaviors in relation to a recreational drug. But we could also talk about addiction to drugs, as a more general category that includes addiction to cocaine, and so on. All of the sudden, these particular addictions become types in relation to the general addiction to drugs, which become themselves a type of addiction in general. Since most of the time we see the same symptoms and behaviors across particular types of addictions and also across the more general categories, we can say they are typical for each type or for all. In any case, we cannot refer to the general concepts without referring to the typical properties, which refer themselves to particulars. If we are talking about comfort, we are referring to a general category that includes particular types or forms of comfort, which refer themselves to typical relations human have with objects, which can also be typical. Having a pool in your backyard can be a typical situation of comfort, and if one talks about addiction to comfort, one is necessarily including such typical situations, just as one is thinking of cocaine or opium when referring to the addiction to drugs. And the typical situations necessarily refer to particular situations that become common.

So there's no real issue when talking about addiction to comfort, I embraced the concept, and so I gave the example of someone having a hard time for missing a pool in their backyard because they are addicted to a typical situation of comfort that includes pools. But then you replied: "I agree, but I wasn't referencing an addiction to a specific comfort (e.g. a pool) but rather addiction to comfort itself." You're taking away the particular and typical situations that make the general concept, and attributing symptoms and behaviors of addiction to what is left, which is nothing meaningful.

Scott wrote: While there are many philosophical discussions (and disagreements) to be had about internal life versus external world and whether such a difference exists, I don't think that's necessary to resolve to categorize qualities such as sexual pleasure, confidence, physical pain or discomfort, financial wealthiness, anger, sadness, fear, cowardice, bravery or inner peace into those qualities that are relatively intrinsic versus those which are more contingent upon external happenstance and external circumstance.

Bravery and cowardice are both much more intrinsic than fear. The brave person is brave despite the extrinsic situation and despite the presence or absense of the feeling of fear. But the feeling of fear is more subject to how scary and/or dangerous the situation is. A coward can have persistent cowardly qualities even if hidden from superficial view by the happenstance of non-scary situations, like the color of an intrinsically red ball may be unknown or unseen in the dark or by the colorblind, but is revealed by light.

There is nothing inherently mystical about what makes bravery and cowardice more intrinsic, stable, and persistent than fear, or what makes inner peace by definition more intrinsic, stable, and persistent than more externally contingent emotional highs and emotional lows or bodily comfort or discomfort or sensual pleasure or pain.

Some qualities are highly dependent and contingent on the vicissitudes of day-to-day or year-to-year life, such as how much fear or sexual pleasure a person happens to be feeling at any given moment. Other qualities are more persistent and immune to changing external/situational circumstance, such as bravery, cowardice, confidence, and inner peace.
Abstract qualities like bravery, cowardice, confidence, etc., are properties that are attributed to subjects based on the interpretation of their behavior, their actions. No one describes someone as brave or coward if it is not in the context of concrete experiences in life. Behavior is always a relation between the subject and the environment, so even though these qualities are attributed to the subjects as "internal" predispositions, they are still mostly acquired dispositions towards actions (which can be mere responses). They cannot be described without reference to the "external" circumstances in which they take effect and acquire meaning. They can hardly be immune to contingencies, when it is the contingencies of life which develop them.
Scott wrote: It's as conceptually agreeable and non-mystical as distinguishing between the inner redness of a ball versus the extrinsic redness of the ball. If you say the ball would be red in this room, but not red in the dark room over there, then I know you speak of extrinsic red. If you say the ball is red if I look at it but not red if my color blind friend looks at it, I know you speak of extrinsic redness. Inner red is the type of red that the ball is no matter who looks at it and no matter which room it is in. We don't have to assume that this difference between extrinsic and intrinsic qualities, and thus between inner red and outer red, are strictly binary or reflect a fundamental dualism or non-nominalism in the ontology of fundamental reality. The difference between inner red and outer red is generally compatible with any philosophy, just like the difference between cereal and bananas is compatible with any philosophy. It doesn't require a specific approach or answer to the problem of universals. In other words, I think everything I have said in this topic is as compatible with nominalism as well as non-nominalism and with dualism as well as monism.
The problem, as it becomes evident, is the treatment of abstract qualities, such as cowardice, bravery, and so on, as if they were things (hypostatization or reification). Unlike the properties of a ball, they are not concrete and objectively defined. Secondly, the distinction you make between intrinsic/extrinsic properties corresponds to the classical distinction between essential and accidental properties, which is more appropriate to understand the relations involved. This will help us to clarify: for being a ball, an object requires the essential properties of ballness, or the set of properties that define ballness. Redness will be an accidental property, which is not necessary for ballness. And when you talk about "intrinsic redness" of a ball, which should correspond to an "essential redness" of a ball, you are clearly implying something quite different from intrinsic properties of the ball. Perhaps we could refer to the red color itself and then we would have redness as an essential property of that color, but not of the object displaying that color. Surely, we could start talking about "red balls" and pointing at the essential property of "red-ballness", but even so, nothing would allow us to claim a necessary, essential relation between ballness and redness, it is a completely contingent connection. Now, going back to attributes given to people, such as cowardice, bravery or confidence, they are not essential, but accidental properties, which is made obvious by the fact that a person could be either brave or coward, and not both at the same time, just the same as a ball could be either red or blue, and not both at the same time. Let's add now that they are abstract qualities and relative to behavioral contexts, reinforcing the notion that the fusion of any such qualities with the qualities of personhood is entirely contingent, accidental, not essential (what you would call intrinsic). To say that someone is brave or coward "in essence" just means that they usually display these qualities in concrete life experiences, that they have a proclivity to that mode of being in given situations, not that they possess some hypostatized power or virtue.
Scott wrote: However, by definition, what you say is not true as written if you use the phrase inner peace as I use the phrase. By definition, if you feel one way before getting a mansion, then feel a second way after getting mansion because you got the mansion, then go back to feeling the first way when you lose the mansion because you lose the mansion, that is not inner peace, ipso facto. That would be like saying someone is only brave as long as they aren't put in scary in dangerous situations. Bravery is not the absence of fear, and it is not so situationally contingent.

Inner peace is not based on where you are or similar external happenstance and situational vicissitudes. Like confidence and bravery, it by definition tends to be carried with you, and so too would its absence be carried with you wherever you go. A miserable person who is miserable because they lack inner peace would be miserable even in a cloudy heaven, for they bring their inner hell with them wherever they go. The same goes for inner peace. If one doesn't have it both when in the comfy mansion and when forced against one's will into homelessness on the cold street where great physical pain and hunger is felt, then one simply doesn't have it. Some things can not be taken so easily by the vicissitudes of life. One can have inner peace in a bloody war zone, and grace under fire. By definition, a comfortable mansion cannot provide inner peace.
As it may be obvious for what has been explained so far, we fundamentally disagree on this. Let me clarify, however, since my use of the word mansion might have given the wrong impression of what I meant, which is not about material possessions or particular things as ends in themselves. I could have used life in a humble log cabin on the Swiss mountains or living in a small town of fishermen: it's not about places, or things, which might be just indicators of a direction or point in life, but about the life situations themselves that give you overall fulfillment, to the extent that you don't have internal struggles and cravings for being somewhere else (life-wise). But clearly, that inner peace requires a balance between desired and actual conditions, measured against the real possibilities of one's life, so it is by definition situational. One has to go through experiences in life to achieve inner peace, it is not a power with substantial existence that one carries with you.

Of course, every life is different and not everyone acquires inner peace through the same path. It depends on each person's circumstances. And so, although not necessarily a comfortable life that includes a mansion will provide inner peace, it might do it for someone. By definition, nothing provides it for itself, nothing is necessary, but something will be sufficient. This is not to be confused with the case where people put themselves in situations that they have long craved for, believing that they would give them inner peace, but turns out they don't.
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Re: It is preferable to live one day with inner peace than a thousand years without.

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This would depend on my point of view. Ask me when I'm dead.
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Re: It is preferable to live one day with inner peace than a thousand years without.

Post by Scott »

Count Lucanor wrote: April 8th, 2021, 5:03 pm
Scott wrote: The concrete aspects of an addiction (e.g. the casino, the slot machine, a specific type of game or sporting event upon which one may bet, etc.) are perhaps tokens that help clothe or point to the addiction, but the addiction is not concrete.
Scott wrote: For instance, I'm not really sure I see the difference between being "addicted to sex" versus being "addicted to sex itself". I'm not sure I see the difference between being "addicted to gambling" versus being "addicted to gambling itself". However, if you do see a clear difference between those, I would appreciate you explaining that difference to me (e.g. the difference between being "addicted to sex" versus being "addicted to sex itself").
There are many possible combinations of particulars and general categories in our language, and it is hard to clarify what we mean if we don't get into all the nuances. An addiction, for example, is a term we use to describe a collection of particular symptoms and behaviors in relation with either specific or typical objects or events. The addiction to cocaine, for example, is about the particular symptoms and behaviors in relation to a recreational drug. But we could also talk about addiction to drugs, as a more general category that includes addiction to cocaine, and so on. All of the sudden, these particular addictions become types in relation to the general addiction to drugs, which become themselves a type of addiction in general. Since most of the time we see the same symptoms and behaviors across particular types of addictions and also across the more general categories, we can say they are typical for each type or for all. In any case, we cannot refer to the general concepts without referring to the typical properties, which refer themselves to particulars. If we are talking about comfort, we are referring to a general category that includes particular types or forms of comfort, which refer themselves to typical relations human have with objects, which can also be typical. Having a pool in your backyard can be a typical situation of comfort, and if one talks about addiction to comfort, one is necessarily including such typical situations, just as one is thinking of cocaine or opium when referring to the addiction to drugs. And the typical situations necessarily refer to particular situations that become common.

So there's no real issue when talking about addiction to comfort, I embraced the concept, and so I gave the example of someone having a hard time for missing a pool in their backyard because they are addicted to a typical situation of comfort that includes pools.
I agree.

A comfortable pool could be to a person's addiction to comfort what a specific bar or a specific brand of beer is to an alcoholic's addiction to alcohol, or what a specific sexy person is to a sex addict's addiction to sexual gratification.

They each are an example of a tool or object the addict can use to give into or feed their addiction.

Typically, we can say the the tool or object is tempting to the addict.

As I use the terms, anyone who experiences temptation is therefore on the addiction spectrum.

Thus, arguably every single human being is on the addiction spectrum. However, the antithesis of that is also arguable, meaning one could argue that some exceptions exist such as those human beings who have allegedly reached some kind of perfect state of nirvana, enlightenment, graceful salvation, or such. For instance, some might claim that Jesus or the original Buddha stopped experiencing temptation at some point in their human lives before human death, and possibly that others can or have achieved such a state. I wouldn't personally take a side in that argument, and would instead settle for the more agreeable idea that at least almost every human is on the addiction spectrum, some much more than others.

Count Lucanor wrote: April 8th, 2021, 5:03 pm The problem, as it becomes evident, is the treatment of abstract qualities, such as cowardice, bravery, and so on, as if they were things (hypostatization or reification). Unlike the properties of a ball, they are not concrete and objectively defined.
I am no so sure that balls are so different from people.

For instance, in terms of metaphysics and the philosophy of mind (i.e. consciousness), I am not a dualist. Are you? I ask only so I can more accurately interpret your words.

For me, the spectrum from ball-hood to people-hood is just another continuous spectrum that reflects our conceptualization, with the concepts being overly black-and-white and the concrete reality never being black or white but always infinite shades of figurative gray. Is an ant more like a ball or a person? Is a Roomba more like a ball or person? What about a Tesla car on autopilot? A dolphin? A monkey? A dog? A cat? A mouse? A tardigrade? The whole planet Earth? The whole solar system as a whole?

Count Lucanor wrote: April 8th, 2021, 5:03 pm To say that someone is brave or coward "in essence" just means that they usually display these qualities in concrete life experiences, that they have a proclivity to that mode of being in given situations, not that they possess some hypostatized power or virtue.
Yes, I agree.

In the same way, to say a ball has what I've called "inner/intrinsic red" versus "outer/extrinsic red" just means that it usually displays those qualities (of redness) in concrete life experiences, that it has a proclivity to that mode of being in given situations, but not that it possesses some hypostatized power or virtue.

Indeed, even a coward can become brave, and even an intrinsically red ball can still change color. The change required is less circumstantial, and involves more change to the referenced object.

For instance, to change the extrinsic redness of the ball one can just move the ball to a dark room with no light, or just turn off the lights. But to get rid of what I've called it's "inner redness" one couldn't merely move the ball to a different room, or merely turn off the lights, but rather would have to make much more direct changes to the ball, and generally speaking those internal changes would have to not result from the typical vicissitudes of its external circumstances (e.g. the lights being turned on and off).

A fourth option besides the terminology of inner/intrinsic/essential qualities (versus outer/extrinsic/accidental qualities) would be just use word persistent and non-persistent. To avoid falling into the typical overly black-and-white thinking of humans and computers (at least non-quantum ones), we can alternatively use the terms more persistent and less persistent. For instance, for a given red ball, when we compare the persistent redness that is inner red with the non-persistent redness that it outer red, we can recognize or explicitly acknowledge that the persistence is not absolute.

Indeed, anything that is born in time inevitably dies in time. Anything that is created is eventually destroyed. When thought of as existing over time, reality has an inexorably sisyphustic nature to it. The higher one climbs, the further one inevitably falls. I've heard many wise people say that nothing persists except change.



Count Lucanor wrote: April 6th, 2021, 3:29 pm So I don't mind the difference if what gives you inner peace is a wealthy mansion on the slopes a Swiss mountain, distributing hot soup among the homeless, or having fame and commercial success writing romantic novels, or all of the above. It is where you want to be, feeling satisfied.

[Emphasis added.]
Scott wrote: April 6th, 2021, 8:16 pm If you replace the word "inner peace" with "pleasure and comfort", then I agree.

However, by definition, what you say is not true as written if you use the phrase inner peace as I use the phrase. By definition, if you feel one way before getting a mansion, then feel a second way after getting mansion because you got the mansion, then go back to feeling the first way when you lose the mansion because you lose the mansion, that is not inner peace, ipso facto. That would be like saying someone is only brave as long as they aren't put in scary or dangerous situations. Bravery is not the absence of fear, and it is not so situationally contingent.

Inner peace is not based on where you are or similar external happenstance and situational vicissitudes. Like confidence and bravery, it by definition tends to be carried with you, and so too would its absence be carried with you wherever you go. A miserable person who is miserable because they lack inner peace would be miserable even in a cloudy heaven, for they bring their inner hell with them wherever they go. The same goes for inner peace. If one doesn't have it both when in the comfy mansion and when forced against one's will into homelessness on the cold street where great physical pain and hunger is felt, then one simply doesn't have it. Some things can not be taken so easily by the vicissitudes of life. One can have inner peace in a bloody war zone, and grace under fire. By definition, a comfortable mansion cannot provide inner peace.
Count Lucanor wrote: April 8th, 2021, 5:03 pm As it may be obvious for what has been explained so far, we fundamentally disagree on this. Let me clarify, however, since my use of the word mansion might have given the wrong impression of what I meant, which is not about material possessions or particular things as ends in themselves. I could have used life in a humble log cabin on the Swiss mountains or living in a small town of fishermen: it's not about places, or things, which might be just indicators of a direction or point in life, but about the life situations themselves that give you overall fulfillment...
I don't think we disagree. Or you could say I disagree that we disagree. :)

I think we are using the terms differently. I could be wrong but you seem to be falsely conflating what I would call "pleasure and comfort" (or "circumstantial satiation" or even "circumstantial happiness" or "fleeting happiness") with what I call inner peace. But they are not the same thing as I use the terms. They are very different. That's not to say you must use the terms as I do, but just to point out that then you are talking about a completely different thing than I what I am referencing with the term inner peace.

As I use the terms, if a person has inner peace when in their desired humble log cabin in the Swiss mountains but then through no fault or choice of their own loses the cabin and is forced to live in some bougie overly lavish mansion the person will still have inner peace in the mansion despite being uncomfortable in the mansion and being the kind of person who would prefer to be in the humble cabin if given the option.

As I use the terms, a person with inner peace will still have inner peace no matter where they are forced to live or forced to not live. Even if they are put in prison against their will, or put in a Nazi concentration camp, they will still have inner peace.
Count Lucanor wrote: April 8th, 2021, 5:03 pm clearly, that inner peace requires a balance between desired and actual conditions, measured against the real possibilities of one's life, so it is by definition situational.
I agree if you replace the words "inner peace" with "pleasure and comfort" or "circumstantial satiation" or even "circumstantial happiness" or "fleeting happiness".

Inner peace is not obtained by getting what one desires, be it a mansion or a humble log cabin, be it alcohol or cocaine, be it fame or riches, be it a spouse or solitude.

Inner peace is about a quality you have regardless of whether you get what you desire or not, regardless of whether the external circumstances match your desires or not.

In analogy, it could be compared to sportsmanship in sports in terms of how graciously one responds to winning or losing. One has just as much if not more potential to show good sportsmanship after losing than after winning. Likewise, one has just as much if not more potential for inner peace when deprived of what they desire, be it a mansion or a humble log cabin, a cupcake or a bottle of whiskey, good looks or a fat wallet, a sexy spouse or a desert island on which to live alone.
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Re: It is preferable to live one day with inner peace than a thousand years without.

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Scott's version of "inner peace" seems to transcend lack of ,or presence of, neuroticism. Neuroticism is an essential ingredient of divine discontent without which people could not change their cultures and seek the good life.

Scott's version of "inner peace" seems to transcend also tolerance of wrong doing, as tolerance of wrong doing prevents that divine discontent without which nothing could be accomplished.

Scott's version of "inner peace" is impossible to understand , because this world of suffering and loss is as it is and cannot be made into Utopia. No version of "inner peace" suffices to explain how we ought to live. The only way to how we ought to live is to set out on the voyage with total expectation of storms and calms.The voyage is the thing, not forever moored to a buoy in a quiet bay.
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Re: It is preferable to live one day with inner peace than a thousand years without.

Post by Count Lucanor »

Scott wrote: April 12th, 2021, 8:01 pm A comfortable pool could be to a person's addiction to comfort what a specific bar or a specific brand of beer is to an alcoholic's addiction to alcohol, or what a specific sexy person is to a sex addict's addiction to sexual gratification.

They each are an example of a tool or object the addict can use to give into or feed their addiction.

Typically, we can say the the tool or object is tempting to the addict.

As I use the terms, anyone who experiences temptation is therefore on the addiction spectrum.

Thus, arguably every single human being is on the addiction spectrum.
I could agree if addiction is not understood negatively, as something contrary to human well-being, perhaps only if understood as the ability to be passionate about things, which is not necessarily bad, unless one gets carried away and our passions start dominating us.
Scott wrote: April 12th, 2021, 8:01 pm However, the antithesis of that is also arguable, meaning one could argue that some exceptions exist such as those human beings who have allegedly reached some kind of perfect state of nirvana, enlightenment, graceful salvation, or such. For instance, some might claim that Jesus or the original Buddha stopped experiencing temptation at some point in their human lives before human death, and possibly that others can or have achieved such a state. I wouldn't personally take a side in that argument, and would instead settle for the more agreeable idea that at least almost every human is on the addiction spectrum, some much more than others.
The key word here is "allegedly". I don't think claims of such perfect states are realistic, and more likely they belong to religious legend. I don't even think Jesus existed.
Scott wrote: April 12th, 2021, 8:01 pm
Count Lucanor wrote: April 8th, 2021, 5:03 pm The problem, as it becomes evident, is the treatment of abstract qualities, such as cowardice, bravery, and so on, as if they were things (hypostatization or reification). Unlike the properties of a ball, they are not concrete and objectively defined.
I am no so sure that balls are so different from people.
What I meant is that one can ascribe physical properties to a body (such as a ball or a human body), and those properties are concrete and objectively defined. But properties like cowardice and bravery are not physical, concrete properties, but abstract qualities attributed to sentient beings with agency, as a result of observing their behavior. If one begins to treat those abstract qualities as concrete things or properties, one has reified them.
Scott wrote: April 12th, 2021, 8:01 pm For instance, in terms of metaphysics and the philosophy of mind (i.e. consciousness), I am not a dualist. Are you? I ask only so I can more accurately interpret your words.
A monist, but also very close to a nominalist. Cowardice only exist as an abstract concept, a label applied to a set of conditions that could have concrete representation, such as someone's behavior in a given circumstance.
Scott wrote: April 12th, 2021, 8:01 pm For me, the spectrum from ball-hood to people-hood is just another continuous spectrum that reflects our conceptualization, with the concepts being overly black-and-white and the concrete reality never being black or white but always infinite shades of figurative gray. Is an ant more like a ball or a person? Is a Roomba more like a ball or person? What about a Tesla car on autopilot? A dolphin? A monkey? A dog? A cat? A mouse? A tardigrade? The whole planet Earth? The whole solar system as a whole?
I would put Roomba, Tesla, planet Earth and the solar system on the same side of the ball. Ants, dolphin, monkey, dog, cat, mouse and tardigrade on the same side of the person.
Scott wrote: April 12th, 2021, 8:01 pm
Count Lucanor wrote: April 8th, 2021, 5:03 pm To say that someone is brave or coward "in essence" just means that they usually display these qualities in concrete life experiences, that they have a proclivity to that mode of being in given situations, not that they possess some hypostatized power or virtue.
Yes, I agree.

In the same way, to say a ball has what I've called "inner/intrinsic red" versus "outer/extrinsic red" just means that it usually displays those qualities (of redness) in concrete life experiences, that it has a proclivity to that mode of being in given situations, but not that it possesses some hypostatized power or virtue.
But the physical property of redness in a ball is not essential to being a ball. A cube could also have the same redness. There's no essential, intrinsic redness linked to being a ball, even if the ball stays permanently with the red color. If changing the shape from ball to cube and vice versa, caused the object to change colors consistently, then one would think its redness is intrinsically linked to its ballness.
Scott wrote: April 12th, 2021, 8:01 pm Indeed, even a coward can become brave, and even an intrinsically red ball can still change color. The change required is less circumstantial, and involves more change to the referenced object.

For instance, to change the extrinsic redness of the ball one can just move the ball to a dark room with no light, or just turn off the lights. But to get rid of what I've called it's "inner redness" one couldn't merely move the ball to a different room, or merely turn off the lights, but rather would have to make much more direct changes to the ball, and generally speaking those internal changes would have to not result from the typical vicissitudes of its external circumstances (e.g. the lights being turned on and off).
Pretty much what I just explained with different words. But it is precisely the fact that the object changes color when its essential property changes, that will indicate the presence of an intrinsic, essential property of color also linked to the same object. In any case, external circumstances affect the properties, either essential or accidental, for example: if the ball is crushed (an external circumstance) and transformed into a plate, it stops being a ball. That it stays red means nothing in terms of this being an intrinsic property, it is still the accidental property of redness in that object. If when converted to a plate (an external circumstance), redness is lost, then we might suspect this property is intrinsic to being a ball.

So, being coward or being brave can also be the result of transformation by external circumstances. The difference between one and the other could be a particular life experience, one that the brave person is not aware of and cannot fear, while the coward, having experienced it, can fear. Of course, one could talk about the "true brave person" or the "true coward", which no matter what circumstance, remains equally brave or coward. Could that be considered an "intrinsic property"? Maybe, but nothing bars the possibility that such personal character is the result of exposition to certain external circumstances in a person's life. In other words, one could grow to being a coward or being brave.
Scott wrote: April 12th, 2021, 8:01 pm A fourth option besides the terminology of inner/intrinsic/essential qualities (versus outer/extrinsic/accidental qualities) would be just use word persistent and non-persistent. To avoid falling into the typical overly black-and-white thinking of humans and computers (at least non-quantum ones), we can alternatively use the terms more persistent and less persistent. For instance, for a given red ball, when we compare the persistent redness that is inner red with the non-persistent redness that it outer red, we can recognize or explicitly acknowledge that the persistence is not absolute.
As I said before, a persistent or non-persistent redness will not be an indicator of redness being an essential or accidental property of an object, unless the object is defined essentially by its color, such as a red pigment, which requires persistence of redness in order for being the red pigment. That is not the case of a given red ball.
Scott wrote: April 12th, 2021, 8:01 pm
I think we are using the terms differently. I could be wrong but you seem to be falsely conflating what I would call "pleasure and comfort" (or "circumstantial satiation" or even "circumstantial happiness" or "fleeting happiness") with what I call inner peace. But they are not the same thing as I use the terms. They are very different. That's not to say you must use the terms as I do, but just to point out that then you are talking about a completely different thing than I what I am referencing with the term inner peace.

As I use the terms, if a person has inner peace when in their desired humble log cabin in the Swiss mountains but then through no fault or choice of their own loses the cabin and is forced to live in some bougie overly lavish mansion the person will still have inner peace in the mansion despite being uncomfortable in the mansion and being the kind of person who would prefer to be in the humble cabin if given the option.
It is more than likely that we are using the terms differently, but neither is my use the one you think I propose, nor do I think that what you mean as "inner peace" can actually exist. First things, first: maybe it is my fault that I have associated a particular life situation with inner peace as if in direct relation: you get a cabin on a Swiss mountain and you get inner peace. No, that's not my intention. What I meant is that you define a set of circumstances for which you can settle in and find fulfillment, away from practical necessity (which necessarily involves the stress of dealing with constraints), and closer to other more intimate needs, such as being surrounded and in more direct contact with natural beauty, or away of people and urban spaces (if you're an introvert), or just the opposite if you're an extrovert. Whatever makes it for you. These things can also often mean the successful culmination of a journey in life, which give you a deep sense of satisfaction. You feel "peaceful" inside, no more stress and worrisome struggles, because you have reached the state you desired. Not a fleeting happiness, but a sense of steady, persistent happiness. In any case, external circumstances are part of the equation, because you're making peace with life.

Now, about your concept of inner peace, it seems to be some kind of essential substance, some internal, autonomous force not affected by the social or natural environment, something that supposedly comes from within the subject. This is for me the equivalent of magical powers.

Scott wrote: April 12th, 2021, 8:01 pm
As I use the terms, a person with inner peace will still have inner peace no matter where they are forced to live or forced to not live. Even if they are put in prison against their will, or put in a Nazi concentration camp, they will still have inner peace.
I'm very doubtful of this. These situations imply stress, worries, struggles, unhappiness, it is very unlikely they could represent inner peace. Settling for such states perhaps could be more appropriately called apathy or indolence.
Scott wrote: April 12th, 2021, 8:01 pm
In analogy, it could be compared to sportsmanship in sports in terms of how graciously one responds to winning or losing. One has just as much if not more potential to show good sportsmanship after losing than after winning. Likewise, one has just as much if not more potential for inner peace when deprived of what they desire, be it a mansion or a humble log cabin, a cupcake or a bottle of whiskey, good looks or a fat wallet, a sexy spouse or a desert island on which to live alone.
Just as with inner peace, sportsmanship is not a force inside, but how we describe a particular social behavior, which is probably motivated by a set of personality traits (psychology) that develop through social interaction.
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