The March Philosophy Book of the Month is Final Notice by Van Fleisher. Discuss Final Notice now.

The April Philosophy Book of the Month is The Unbound Soul by Richard L. Haight. Discuss The Unbound Soul Now

The May Philosophy Book of the Month is Misreading Judas by Robert Wahler.

Can you ever be sad over something positive?

Use this philosophy forum to discuss and debate general philosophy topics that don't fit into one of the other categories.

This forum is NOT for factual, informational or scientific questions about philosophy (e.g. "What year was Socrates born?"); such homework-help-style questions can be asked and answered on PhiloPedia: The Philosophy Wiki. If your question is not already answered on the appropriate PhiloPedia page, then see How to Request Content on PhiloPedia to see how to ask your informational question using the wiki.
Post Reply
Kane Jiang
Posts: 42
Joined: August 8th, 2019, 5:28 am

Can you ever be sad over something positive?

Post by Kane Jiang » August 9th, 2019, 10:59 pm

I'm pretty sure if I found out someone cared about me more than he or she cared about him/herself and I found SOLID evidence of it, I could potentially cry. I wouldn't be happy until that person did something for me, but just the thought would be enough for me to cry. Isn't that being sad over something positive?

Yes, being happy and sad are opposite emotions, and I would cry because I would think "why would a person be so selfless when they should be more selfish for their own good," yada yada yada. I wouldn't be happy until that person did something for me, so by that time I would be both happy and sad at the same time, happy over an action, and sad over a thought. And it would make me feel better than just being happy.

I'd rather feel sad than bored AND afraid (what a combination). Would you?

So, if sadness isn't the worst thing in the world (do you believe being bored AND afraid is worse?), how can happiness be the best thing in the world? How can pure happiness be the answer to the meaning of life (I don't think so?)?

Please no discussions about the chemical or compositional nature of emotions. That should be for another thread.

MAYA EL
Posts: 49
Joined: May 2nd, 2019, 11:17 pm

Re: Can you ever be sad over something positive?

Post by MAYA EL » August 11th, 2019, 5:33 am

Happiness is not "the answer to the meaning of life" by any means.
Happiness is like rich chocolate cake it's only good here and there but not for breakfast lunch and dinner .
The mind of man is complacated to say the least and so then I dont think you can use the same name of "happiness " that's applied to a moment where you can't breathe because someone just told a joke and your laughing so hard you might just pass out and apply that same title of "happiness " to a moment where you are overwhelmed with the realization that someone has the compassion to put you before themselves and also recognizing how much of a selfless and caring thing that is and being beside yourself because of it.

Try not to get to caught up in the names and what not because life is far to complacated to be put into words and it's much easier to just experience it instead.

User avatar
h_k_s
Posts: 794
Joined: November 25th, 2018, 12:09 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Aristotle
Location: Rocky Mountains

Re: Can you ever be sad over something positive?

Post by h_k_s » August 12th, 2019, 11:58 am

Kane Jiang wrote:
August 9th, 2019, 10:59 pm
I'm pretty sure if I found out someone cared about me more than he or she cared about him/herself and I found SOLID evidence of it, I could potentially cry. I wouldn't be happy until that person did something for me, but just the thought would be enough for me to cry. Isn't that being sad over something positive?

Yes, being happy and sad are opposite emotions, and I would cry because I would think "why would a person be so selfless when they should be more selfish for their own good," yada yada yada. I wouldn't be happy until that person did something for me, so by that time I would be both happy and sad at the same time, happy over an action, and sad over a thought. And it would make me feel better than just being happy.

I'd rather feel sad than bored AND afraid (what a combination). Would you?

So, if sadness isn't the worst thing in the world (do you believe being bored AND afraid is worse?), how can happiness be the best thing in the world? How can pure happiness be the answer to the meaning of life (I don't think so?)?

Please no discussions about the chemical or compositional nature of emotions. That should be for another thread.
Well, if you feel unworthy, then this is sadness in a sense, sure.

In romantic philosophy, which focuses on the nature and role of God in the Universe, it does seem to me that we are each and all unworthy of God's love. Yet He/She/They seems to love us by providing so many things for us, such as life, and a planet to live on, etc.

User avatar
h_k_s
Posts: 794
Joined: November 25th, 2018, 12:09 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Aristotle
Location: Rocky Mountains

Re: Can you ever be sad over something positive?

Post by h_k_s » August 12th, 2019, 12:03 pm

MAYA EL wrote:
August 11th, 2019, 5:33 am
Happiness is not "the answer to the meaning of life" by any means.
Happiness is like rich chocolate cake it's only good here and there but not for breakfast lunch and dinner .
The mind of man is complacated to say the least and so then I dont think you can use the same name of "happiness " that's applied to a moment where you can't breathe because someone just told a joke and your laughing so hard you might just pass out and apply that same title of "happiness " to a moment where you are overwhelmed with the realization that someone has the compassion to put you before themselves and also recognizing how much of a selfless and caring thing that is and being beside yourself because of it.

Try not to get to caught up in the names and what not because life is far to complacated to be put into words and it's much easier to just experience it instead.
Happiness is a temporary reward, not a life long mission, I agree.

Aristotle provides us with a mission however -- to be a "magnanimous man."

There are however times during life when it is brutal and cruel, and we must then endure it, without turning against our God or blaming anyone else for circumstances that have arisen outside of our own control. This is the essence of Stoic philosophy.

User avatar
Sculptor1
Posts: 947
Joined: May 16th, 2019, 5:35 am

Re: Can you ever be sad over something positive?

Post by Sculptor1 » August 12th, 2019, 1:01 pm

The use of the words positive and negative are often found in the mouths of weasels.
"weasel words"; "words or statements that are intentionally ambiguous or misleading."

If my boss commands that I spend the rest of the day standing on my head, and when I refuse tells me to respond positively to that instruction it is clear that to act positively would be to act in a way that would injure my ability to work.
Were I to respond negatively then that would have a good result on my ability to work.

So the answer to the thread question would be "of course", because positive acts can be terrible.such as responding positively to Hitler's race laws.

User avatar
SESMeT
New Trial Member
Posts: 2
Joined: August 15th, 2019, 3:45 am

Re: Can you ever be sad over something positive?

Post by SESMeT » August 15th, 2019, 4:19 am

One way of looking at it is to say that yes, you can be sad over something positive because although sadness is negative that doesn't mean that it can't come from something positive. Just because X is not Y it doesn't mean that X cannot cause Y.

But another way of looking at it is to say, no, you can't be sad over something positive because something truly positive can't cause sadness. It all depends on how you define positivity and negativity, really.

Haicoway
Posts: 199
Joined: December 11th, 2014, 7:29 am

Re: Can you ever be sad over something positive?

Post by Haicoway » October 12th, 2019, 2:01 pm

Carl Jung used the term enantiodromia to express the tendency of things in the mind to change into their opposites. Whether something is positive or negative depends on the emotional reaction of the person considering the idea. Many ideas make me happy and sad at the same time, as in being so happy I could cry.

User avatar
chewybrian
Posts: 480
Joined: May 9th, 2018, 7:17 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Epictetus
Location: Florida man

Re: Can you ever be sad over something positive?

Post by chewybrian » October 12th, 2019, 7:36 pm

I see that happiness and sadness are often in conflict when a goal is reached. There is happiness at reaching the goal, but also sadness at finishing the process. The goal chaser dies, and the goal achiever is born. The good feeling may not justify the effort, and may not last long. Also, one is thrown back into the real world, from which the chasing of the goal might have been an attempt to escape.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

Post Reply