By Bruce Barbour
Thank you for reading this site. I hope you find it interesting and gain some insights which will be useful to you both immediately and in the longer term.
The structure of the site is basically linear, much like
a book. It is intended that the pages be read in sequence
as the contents in the later pages builds on the ideas and
concepts developed in earlier pages. So I urge you to work
your way through the site taking the Parts, and the
subsections of those Parts, in order.
I, like many of you, have read many books about how to have a happy life or to increase happiness in life. What I have noticed about many of these books is that they usually do two things.
The first of these is that they tend to lock onto one idea or one approach to happiness and then sell it, sometimes with an almost religious fervour, as the only true approach to happiness - "Do this and you will be happy". I would read many of these books and in some cases would think that the approach had some merit. Then I would read another book advising another quite different approach and would sometimes form the same view - the approach had some merit. Over time I formed the view that there is no "one true" approach but many different approaches, some better than others, some with weaknesses and some with great strength, some which would be applicable to certain people or situations and some that would be more applicable to others. In fact many of the proposed methods are not mutually exclusive and can and in fact should be used in conjunction with other methods to make up for the weaknesses of individual systems, in order to provide a system of achieving long term happiness that is reliably available and resilient.
The second aspect I noticed about some books on happiness is that they don't give a theoretical framework for the happiness method proposed. While this would not be important to some people I found that I was not satisfied with someone giving me a simple rule - "do this and you will be happy" even if it did work to an extent. For long term and resilient implementation I wanted to know why.
So this is the approach I adopt in this book: I set up a theoretical framework for happiness and then look at a number of different approaches to happiness in the context of this framework, choosing some to establish what I have called the Happiness Strategy.
Part 1 of this book is all about the establishment of the framework. I look at the structure of consciousness. How consciousness works is vitally important in determining happiness because happiness is an aspect of consciousness. I propose two interrelated models of consciousness as the basis for the further understanding of happiness.
In Part 2 I look at the way the various aspects of our consciousness impacts on happiness and how each can be utilised to achieve happiness. I also provide a summary of various available approaches to happiness.
Finally in Part 3 I put this all together to develop a
personal Happiness Strategy that can be developed
specifically to suit your life in order to increase your
potential to achieve happiness that lasts over a long time
Aspects of Life Impacting on Happiness that this Site Does Not Cover
While this site offers a reasonable approach to achieving happiness I want to state up front that this site does not cover a number of significant areas that can impact on long term happiness.
Firstly the book does not cover life meaning and purpose. Meaning and purpose are intrinsically important for a personís happiness. They also are usually the basis for a personís ethics and many of their values, which are important for some of the personal choices made in determining an approach to happiness, as will be discussed in this book.
I have not tried to suggest any life meaning or purpose as many people will have already come to a conclusion on these issues that is satisfactory to them be that acceptance of a traditional religious belief system or some other life philosophy. The other reason I have not covered this topic is that any attempt to cover the subject would warrant a substantial book on its own.
The other area of life that is helpful for happiness is good health, which includes diet and fitness and also mental health. If you are sick it goes without saying that this impacts on your ability to enjoy life. Diet can and does impact directly on some diseases as well as a general feeling of well being. I have not covered any of these areas as there are many books already written on the subject.
While it is possible to have happiness without having resolved meaning and purpose questions or while sick, it is better to not have either of these items as issues.
With that said please read on for Part 1 where I discuss
the workings of consciousness.
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