Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Evolution and happiness

What is the evolutionary and biological basis for happiness?  It's easy to see the usefulness of being unhappy --  if you are unhappy, you seek to change your situation (if possible, and cases of clinical depression aside).  The new situation could confer survival benefits.

Unhappiness in a primal world might mean an environment with too many  predators, an environment without good odds for mating or social connections, or an environment without enough food.  Beings which were motivated to leave such environments would be more likely to survive and procreate.

So unhappiness guides us to change our situation if we don't like it.  But how do you  explain people who stay in unhappy situations (jobs, marriages) for years despite their unhappiness?

On another track, is happiness simply the lack of unhappiness? 

Should happiness be the driving force, and if so, whose happiness?

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