What this blog aims to achieve (and for whom it may be interesting)

22
Jul
Nick

Since the age of 7 or 8, one of my key goals has been to help people and have a positive impact on their lives. At that time, I intended to become a doctor, so that I could go to Africa and help people who most needed it. Later I discovered that medicine is not my main interest, but rather business, so the means to achieve my overarching goal shifted from helping directly to helping indirectly. The idea was to become successful in business, thereby acquiring a lot of money to pay for doctors who could do the job (or something similar).

Well, the business path didn’t turn out to be that simple (although I am still trying to walk it). The reason for this blog is based on my hopes that there might be a third path: thinking about happiness itself, and about how it can be spread. My hopes are nourished by the number of questions on the topic which do not appear to be sufficiently answered/addressed yet. I find this surprising, considering the fundamental importance of the subject.

Here are examples of these questions to give you a better idea of what I am saying:

  • What is a scientific definition of happiness, which will allow it to be measured and compared?
  • Should happiness be regarded as the only thing that counts? If not, what other values are important enough to justify happiness is not always being maximized?
  • How does happiness relate to suffering? (E.g. can suffering be compensated by happiness? If yes, how many “happy moments” are required for compensating one “unhappy moment”? Etc.)
  • What can I do to spread happiness?
  • How can other people be made to care more about other's happiness?
  • What can I do to make myself happier?
  • Which charity should I give my money to if I decided to donate to maximize happiness?
  • What thinking tools/ framework do politicians/ government bodies need in order to make the choices that maximize happiness? What are the factors that hinder them making those decisions today?
  • Etc.

This blog will address those questions and initiate respective discussions; everybody is welcome to join the debate and contribute in the collective thinking process.

So who may find value in this blog? For one, people like me, who have a sincere interest in finding more happiness in the world, beyond our own happiness. Secondly, every government body, institution or charity with the mandate to increase happiness may want to join the discussions or take value from them.

Although the happiness of others is this blog’s main subject, it’s worth mentioning that it can also be very beneficial to us directly: maybe the feeling of helping people, having a substantial positive impact on their lives and knowing to be a value contributor to society is even the biggest and long-lasting reward there can be.

In order to ensure a minimum quality level, this blog’s posts as well as discussions should aim to stick to some basic principles. These are:

  • Applicable: Every post or comment should be connected to real life actions; no high-level philosophical discussions
  • Clear & non-emotional: Arguments should be clear, sharp and non-emotional; while emotions are important as a consequence of our actions (probably the only thing that counts), bringing them into the discussions themselves is, I believe, not beneficial to finding the best answers
  • Impartial: Discussions should be free from pre-learned value systems; there are no taboos; every thought, as long as it follows the first two principles mentioned above, should be able to be discussed in a level-headed manner

Furthermore, posts and comments should have a clear value-add to the readers. That’s why I will try to stick to the Spanish proverb to “only speak if you can improve on the silence” 😉 Enough waffling, now I look forward to posting and hopefully a lot of fertile discussions!

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