Wednesday, February 24, 2010

unconscious happiness and positive affect

Flow (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi) is a state where one is entirely consumed in an activity. In such a state one is generally not aware of his very existence. Yet Csikszentmihalyi holds it is a central way to a happy life.

Why is not everybody trying to acheive as much flow as possible? (aside from the regular reasons why people do not improve their lives.....)

Possibly because in flow we are nott conscious of our very existence and therefore we are later less aware of the fact that we had so much fun (or positive affect ;-))

Being happy and not knowing about it is highly interesting idea. I had two periods in my life when I was very anxious etc. but other people thoguht that I looked as happy as never before and after. (I am still not sure how to accout ofr htese experiences....)

A similar idea is promoted by Daniel Kahneman with his observation that moment to moment experience differs from the way we think about our life.
One may similarly wonder what is the meaning and value of happiness at sleep.


Anonymous said...

Why is not everybody trying to achive as much flow as possible?In his book he says many people are in flow but they don't know, because they are using externals factor such as a Tv Game,internet,play cards,reading etc, what he calls optimal state is be in FLOW with out the necesity of external factors, such as meditating.

I personaly like cincemihaly(sorry his name is hard)but I didn't like when he says that rote learning would be optimal and better than montesory sistem. If we know how to multiplicate 5*8=40 it is not because rote learning, it is because it took us more than a year to learn how multiplicate (see fooled by randommness pg 179 what spitznagel says)lets say moren than 3 years and suddenly we know more about multiplication. This would be nonlinear learning.

And about happiness, I think sometimes we don't know when we are happy (would happiness be relative?)untill we experience a severe situasion, while I was working and doing the same thing every day I was depressed (boring) but suddenly somebody attackme and toldme that he was going to kill me one of this days, after that I felt very unhappy, I felt that everything went down and I regret myself of this situasion. I wished have felt what on my borings days I felt, yes those were happiers, than after the accident. Now everything is ok nothing bad has happened, but this experience tell me that happiness always is there, could be that we don't know how apreciate happiness? Is happiness relative?

Joe said...

Why we don't spend more time in flow?

Simple. We're too smart for that. We have to understand why. We have to think about it. We have to analyze it. We have to make sure that we have control mover it all.

All of this thinking and analyzing removes us from experiencing. Its the opposite of flow.

But we keep doing it. We need the contro. We need that illusion of control.

You know who has flow all day every day?


My 2 year old lives life to the fullest. She's completely involved at all times.

And guess what. She has awesome results. She has learned to walk, talk, and eat with a spoon, from scratch!

You try to learn to walk without the help of a therapist. Not easy at all.

And this tiny kid, she can't even think logically, got the job done.

Flow is powerful stuff.