the power of the mind...

Imagine yourself finding your best friend dead and having to b… how do you feel? Now imagine yourself on a beach sipping a cocktail in the sun…

These are two completely different situations entirely in yor mind yet you [i]feel[i/]. Now the real question is how do people use this power. For real when a loved one dies and you do not kow yet you feel nothing and when you find out you think and you feel badly. I try to pick my attitude going into eveyrthing… even if something sucks I try to see what is good in it and usually the experience is much better. Pouting and whatnot kinda is a waste - but is it? Like I quoted in another post, 'the sweet in life is never as sweet without the sour."

Everyone has unlimet power to change themselves, its all mental, but at the same time, making yourself happy and such every day can also detract from your actual happiness each day because you ‘get used to it.’

Its almost like the apple in the garden of eden… at adam’s fingertips he held the key to knowledge and godliness even yet the consequences were possible not worth the risk.



I was wondering if you could elaborate more on this interesting topic. I am always fond of hearing optimistic views of the world. Unfortunately, most of the one’s I have heard were bogus. Not all, but most. Feel free to tell me how one should live life in order to be happy, even go into detail with examples of situations where one could take a situation badly but doesn’t have to. Remember, when someone close to another dies, that other person will feel pain because they care. Just like when one cares about a dead material thing, ie. Car - and they see this thing damaged or treated in some disrespectful way, than they get hurt, which usually follows up with violence or self-defence mental mechanisms. Now this is just a car, I don’t think people should get so attached to material things, but imagine a person. Imagine you parent, brother/sister, friend, spouse, child is hurt by someone else or is just hurt due to an accident, how does one not feel pain? Given that you care about this person, ofcourse?

I’m not trying to tell you that you are wrong, I want you to make me understand what it is you are trying to say. Most importantly, I am hoping there is something you know and can share with me that will help me to live my life in a more optimistic way. I hope I am not approaching the topic in a bad way.

What’s your take?

I’d just like to say that all emotions aren’t in your mind. You can’t change fear , pain so on. You can train yourself to accept them but it would lead to insanity and the like. Take war veterans for example. They were trained to kill and watch people kill and are very disturbed.

Yes, there are extremes, but take ‘pain’ for example… I know a guy who can down an entire bottle of tabasco without flinching. Now, to me that is just amazing because that stuff is hot. Hes a firm believer in ‘mind-over-matter’ and because of him I began to believe too. CBA, I somewhat agree with you on the war veteran part, because death and killing are two of the extremes and require complete detachment from reality which in turn detaches a person from life after the war and brings recurring nightmares, flashbacks, etc from all the things your mind has put away. I just don’t think we have the capacity to ignore such things because we are thinkers as humans.

I agree completely. Stuff will always just be stuff and your interest and attention will not always go to the same thing. As Tyler Durden said: “The things you own will end up owning you.” On top of a bad day a broken car may seem quite a tragedy, but looking back, it really doesn’t matter. It is just a car.

And about a hurt loved one and optimism… You should not repress, or manipulate, feelings about a human. I think that the biggest mistake people can make in their lives is to be unsympathtic. If my dad dies I will cry, I love him and care, like you said. Optimism, like almost everything I pick apart, has falws.

  1. If you always chose to look at things in a good way and be energetic and involving you will only experience one half of a spectrum of emotions, which, IMO, is the worst thing that you could do. Life, as said before, is about haveing experiences both good and bad, not just good.

  2. Mental capacity is also an issue here. Some people have made up their mind about things and never keep it open. You need to be able to really understand and respect yourself because someone who follows the pack follows to have decisions made for them on the outside. How could they possibly make decisions to change themselves on the inside? In a perfect world we would be above this all and use all of our brain and all that sort of stuff but unfortunately, or fortunately – depends on how you look at it, we do not live in a perfect world.

  3. I also think that other people that you interact with have an influence on whether you can change yourself mentally or not. Even things as simple as someone saying something like, “why are yo always in such a good mood?” Stuff like this will make you wonder if you really are in a good mood and they you question your motivations and ultimately make some decision which may be to stop being so optimistic. Does this make sense?

Anyways, overall I do try to look at life in an optimistic way. If my parents told me that we were moving to Alaska for the summer there are two trains of thought: The first may be, “why, why, why, why, why, why I hate Alaska I hate moving I hate my parents I dont want to move I dont want to leave my friends this sucks I hate my life!” the second my be more like, “Ok, this will be a great experience. I will meet new people, make new friends, see some really coll stuff!” These are obviously the two extremes. If you chose to be annoyed and angry you will waste time being annoyed and angry before you realize that it’s not too bad. You finally come around to liking the place, you make some friends, and far to soon you have to leave. When you go into this trip with a good attitude you start out in a good mood. Do all the neat stuff and have a good time and return better off than you were when you left plus you have a ton of great experiences to look back on. On the other hand, if my parents told me that my brother Eric died I would probably be miserable for a few weeks. Someone who I have grown up with, someone who is one of my best frineds, somene who I have shared so many great experiences with, I cannot let go of so easy. And that is how it should be. Optimism has an on/off switch… I chose when to look at things optimistically and I know when not to. I’m gonna pound this one home now: gotta experience everything in life to be well-rounded – both the good and the bad.

And as a little footnote here: if i’ve said anything about changing anything mentally, that is incorrect. I feel that optimism is just about your attitude, nothing more. I’ve also just realized that I am mixing optimism and mind-over-matter a bit. Sorry :wink:


I don’t believe we have an unlimited power to change ourselves. The world is partly as we find it, and partly as we can with luck make it. As Otto Neurath observed:

"We are like sailors who have to rebuild their ship on the open sea, without ever being able to dismantle it in a dock and reconstruct it from the best components."

We have the power to repeatedly reinvent ourselves, but we do not have the power to begin our lives anew. We must try to make our life as we can, from the world as it is, with the understanding that chance always has the last word.

I was reminded of this only last night in a book I’m reading Carnage and Culture, by Victor Davis Hanson. On this very day of August 2, in the year 216 B.C., Hannibal’s army met 50 thousand Roman Legionaires at Cannae, in southern Italy. Hannibal’s experienced troops quickly encircled and massacred the entire Legion of Romans. Hanson writes:

“Two centuries later Livy wrote that thousands of Romans were still alive on the morning of August 3, awakened from their sleep and agony by the morning cold only to be ‘quickly finished off’ by Hannibal’s plunderers. Roman corpses ‘were discovered with their heads buried in the earth. Apparently they had dug holes for themselves and then, by smothering their mouths in the dirt, had choked themselves to death’ (22.51). Livy goes on to record examples of extraordianry Roman determination discernable only through autopsy of the battlefield: a Numidian who had been brought alive out of a pile from beneath a dead Roman legionary, his ears and nose gnawed away by a raging Roman infantryman, who had lost the use of everything but his teeth. The Italians, it seemed, fought desperately even when they knew their cause was hopeless-a realization that must have sunk in among most after the first minutes of battle.”

The fate of the Romans was sealed for a variety of reasons, none of which had to do with each man’s individual determination to live to see another day. This battle was more an extermination than a military contest. A Roman soldier of incomparable strength. courage, and skill in fighting was as certain to die as the weakest of the raw recruits. He was entirely at the mercy of the situation at hand.

The course of our life is directed as much by chance as it is by our will. Sartre believed that, “Man is condemned to be free.” But I think man is no more completely free than his life is completely determined. Our life is partly determined by random occurances. What freedom we have should be directed by an understanding of probability rather than faith in certainty.

“Probability is the very guide of life.” Cicero


I’ve been thinking like that until lately. I take in to many bad things. If you live in an environment where everything is a bad thing and you are trying to experience both sides then even the good things seem bad. I think it’s an open way to think but not a totally effective one. I think if continued on that road it will lead to insanity. There is only so much good you can find in certain things.

CBA stated:

Yes actually all emotions are in your mind. Your sensory neurons send messages to your brain, it is in your brain where everything is interpreted. You can change fear! When I was really young and I had my first girlfriend, I was afraid of kissing her, now I am no longer afraid to kiss girls. I was once afraid of heights, but I am no longer afraid of them. I was once afraid of expressing my opinion but I am no longer afraid. Pain too can be stopped or I should say adapted to. Since when one first begins working out they find themselves (usually) in excruciating pain, but if they continually do the same work out each day they will no longer be in pain. The pain has changed and the body has adapted. If you want to take extreme examples as War Veterans to whom thousands of variables apply especially for those who become insane, and if you want to make claim that their insanity is due to the inability to change pain and stop fear - then you go ahead. Training oneself to accept pain and fear DOES NOT lead to insanity. Yes, in certain situations it can, but you cannot say GENERALLY that accepting pain and fear leads to insanity as you did. For we all accept pain and fear in situations in our lives, at some point, even yourself.

What’s your take?

That is exactly why I believe that optimism as a way of life is faulty – and it’s a good tobic for debate!


I didn’t mean that it’s not in your head. I just couldn’t think of a way to put it into words.

I mean extremes you can’t really train yourself to deal with. Excessive things like water torture you can’t deal with. I meant more a constant pain. Some things you can overcome beause you know the outcome won’t be horribly dangerous to yourself. Being alone you cannot train yourself to deal with. Not to the point of satisfaction anyway. Which is where I see insanity take place. But then you would have to consider what is insanity. Would talking to yourself and pretending an inanimate object to be a parter be insane?

I wasn’t trying to take the opposing I was just trying to state an opinion through my limited knowledge of my language. Possibly looking for a loophole. And posting them no matter how ridiculous because if considered could develop into something larger. But I don’t mean to use extreme words that generalize things. I don’t think anyone does which is why no one will agree that the point of life is experience.

books of interest (both sci fi)
double think: basic idea, tell yourself one thing then force the fact that you told yourself into your subconsciuos that way you full heartedly believe what you told yourself

dune (whole series)
worth the read, in the universe humanity was enslaved by thinking machines, then the jihad against machines so now computers are banned, bassically the series deals alot with what humans are capable off if they put an effort into it

Go insane to stay sane

what is happiness, i came from a dysfunctional home and my one attempt at a relationship was fucked up so now life is constant anger
so as far as i can tell happiness is a situation that allows you to momentarilly forget how messed your life is

smellsexcellent, you are my kinda people. i feel exactly the same way about life as you. i’m a bit more far out actually, at the mo i’m kinda searching for the ultimate truth and also not because of the no attatchment thing and each one acts as an anchor and yatta yatt yatta, but well in for having such a good look on life, it makes things a hell of a lot easier.

I’m sorry to digress of topic here but this really got my attention. I haven’t read catch-22 yet but this idea is something I myself have been wondering about. What I would like to know is if insanity can be the right thing to do givin certain situations. Or is it right no matter the situation one finds one self in to never resort to this possiblity?