Why Doesn't Money Make You Happy?

Feb 4, 2015

Before I get started, if you're a programmer or hacker make sure you've downloaded my Reverse Engineering tool, JavRE and read the tutorial on how to use it.

Before you write a letter accusing me of class warfare and petty bourgeoisie anti-intellectual navel-gazing, read on. The title is misleading. No, I'm not going to make the opposite case either. Let's talk for a moment about happiness and money. A windfall of a small amount can make a poor person unimaginably happy. Gifts that make it easier for you to buy something you need or want are a big deal. A gamer who wins a challenging game becomes elated and euphoric. Some have called it the "epic" emotion. A gamer needs extra money to buy games and so without money they are usually unable to play very many games. For many gamers, their happiness subsides over time playing the same game. This is known as replayability and is very important for MMORPGs, online games, and even single player games. But the epic emotion is just one tiny sliver of happiness.

Happiness is the emotion that accompanies goodness. But does goodness equal happiness? In my opinion, no. I have for years attempted to argue that hedonism is a bankrupt philosophy and that doing something because it makes you happy is not the same as only doing things because they make you happy. Purpose comes not from happiness in my opinion, the reverse is not exactly true either. Purpose is often thought of as an old puritanical value that doesn't fit in with post-modern philosophy of life. But wait, why do we care about post-modernism? Because life matters. It takes almost no effort on the part of a philosopher to come to the conclusion that nihilism is incorrect despite the important lessons it teaches us. But post-modern philosophy goes much further than nihilism. Existentialism is a much more complex philosophy that post-modernism uses to deal with the major questions of life. Its opposition to positivism and rationalism in my opinion makes it unable to explain purpose that is ingrained into our soul, but I can understand how they would come to their conclusions. So how does this fit in with happiness? It is my belief that happiness comes from more than one thing. This makes it elusive. When you chase it, you lose it. When you have it you don't know that you have it, you just are. But that doesn't mean that you have to just be happy with your lot and not strive to make yourself happier. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Strive, knock, ask and don't stop until you look back and say that you were happy. Don't worry that you aren't currently happy, as Winston Churchill said, "If you're going through hell, keep going." What makes this so important is that you don't really know if you're happy now if you are happy. So you have to try to figure out what will make yourself happy and do that. But like I said before, happiness isn't everything.

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Shibuya Youth Clubs

Shibuya Youth Clubs
by Joel R. Voss aka. Javantea

Aug 31, 2006 13:00 PST
[permanent link]

Shibuya Crossing, before the crossing
My Japanese friend took me to Shibuya after our visit to Kamakura. It was good timing, the first holiday of Golden Week. In Shibuya, there are many clubs. In fact, if you don't want to pay a cover you can listen to music playing over loudspeakers in the streets of Shibuya. It's a sweet place. Since Shibuya is close to Harajuku, we made our way over to see the excellent fashion designers, models and cosplayers. It's certainly a sight to see any day of the week.
Shibuya Crossing, during the crossing

Shibuya clubs (they're actually very busy despite few people in the street)
Arriving at the club, I started meeting people. I met one of the performering groups, a rock band that played a very sweet mix of alternative and punk. They didn't want to be called punk or alternative, but we're simple over here in the States; we call an orange an orange even if it's a mikan (蜜柑 [みかん] /(n) mandarin). After a while of language incompatibility, I spoke in my best Japanese that I had visited Akihabara nearly every day that month. I was able to discuss favorite animes for a few minutes. We both like Irresponsible Captain Tylor, but I wasn't able to communicate Furi Kuri (FLCL), one of my favorite anime.
Street Art in Shibuya

Shibuya clubs (very busy)
I paid the cover of 700 yen (~$7), which came with one alcoholic drink or 1.5 soda-style drinks. The club was dark, but well-built like an amphitheater so that all people could sit on the stairs and have a good view of the performers. Two bands performed and were quite high quality. I would compare them to good indy bands here in Seattle. The music is definitely different from music in the States, though. I like it.
Javantea in a Park (Roppongi)

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Against Hedonism 2004-11-30

Skip to the bottom if you don't like philosophy.

The other day, I talked about Shameless. I give Shameless a capital first letter because the way that Shameless works is a philosophy. While Shameless is not an official religion, many people are willing to give it that status. In the same way that a person would give Title Case to Christianity, I give Shameless Title Case as a joke. But today, I'll give Shameless a new name that makes more sense to those who are not in on the Shameless. Shameless is Hedonism. I have talked a bit about Hedonism before. But I haven't gotten into exactly what I meant when I said things about hedonism. Here's the lowdown on hedonism as I see fit to explain:

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Spam is shameless, but I was willing to do it today. My brother suggested that it is the only way to get a job. I use my skills (programming) and honed new skills (Perl) to achieve this task, something that sets me apart from other prospective employees. It reduced the work of sending resumes by many times. While the idea of spam is technically wrong, used correctly, I do not believe that many people would fault me for it. I have been out of work for 4 years. That is too long. My debts are huge. So I went against my philosophy of not making a nuisance of myself and sent 100 emails in 15 minutes (10 seconds hard coded sleep between each send). Since I didn't route them through any single server, it could not hurt anyone directly. However, I have no idea whether it will have negative effects. Spam is assumed to be -- if not illegal -- immoral. But while situations like phishing, 419 scams, pornography, and male enhancement are very easy to condemn, getting a job is a totally different question. If I get a job from this, will spam be justified in the case of poor people looking for money? Not many people on slashdot are very sympathetic to a hacker who wrote software to exploit open relays. Slashdot is usually very kind to hackers. Why not Fahrenheit? Well, that is not very different from what I did. I wrote software that exploited corporation's lack of protection against open relays (specifically my own linux workstation running sendmail) and sent one e-mail to each corporation. I didn't even put a disclaimer at the bottom. Who needs a spam disclaimer when businesses ask for contact from prospective employees? This is the nature of e-mail: when you post your e-mail, you are inviting people to e-mail you. While you certainly don't invite people to talk about your miniscule reproductive organ, there is nothing beyond morals that stops a person. There it is! _MORALS_ -- In capital letters, it loses some credibility, no? That is because spam loves capital letters. While most netizens understand netiquette, newbies (n00bs) and assholes love to abuse netiquette. Is there a point to my current rant? Here it is plain and simple:

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