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2.7. Happiness

V. I. Melnikov

“All happy families are very much alike, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”. With this classical phrase L.Tolstoy began his novel “Anna Karenina”. It is not accidental. The great novelist knew the value of the word “happiness”. We all could know its meaning because make use of it very frequently and in the most important cases: wishes, congratulations, toasts, etc. But what do we suggest by applying it? This question was not an easy not only for you and me, but also for philosophers, scientists, writers, public men, political and religious figures over the entire memory of mankind. The concept of happiness proved to be as vitally important as hardly determined and perceived in its accurate, logical and consistent definition.

The fundamental significance of this concept for a mankind follows, first of all, from its nature as one of indices, one of motivations of a man behavior as a personality and a member of community. Hence, the notion of happiness is the element of controlling a man behavior and the community as a whole, i.e., happiness is the element of power. The cost of power is known as are known the results of its unlimited application. For these reasons the notions of happiness are directly related to ideology.

As far as the definitions of happiness are concerned, they proved to be too many [93]. It turns out that each individual perceive happiness in his own way. Each person has his own happiness. The most common definition of happiness represents the state of the highest satisfaction, feeling of life plenitude. However, as it turned out the conditions of such satisfaction and life plenitude are also different for each person. Ethics calls these conditions the factors of happiness. We now mention some of them, the most common: possession of welfare (values), delights, entertainment, bliss, positive emotions, intensity of emotions, psychic and physical health, wealth, personal significance, power, competence, happy family, love, struggle, serving to the idea, party, God, to be the light ray for others, composure, contemplation of God or world, moving to prosperity, benefit of one’s own and family, relief of folks’ suffering, creation, self-expression, communication and so on. Probably, each of us can supplement this list with factors of his own happiness.

Note, that in view of selecting one or the other factor as the single and basic one was given the name to the form of ethics: hedonism (delight), eudemonism (possession of all physical and spiritual welfare), utilitarianism (practical benefit), euthihiya (happy situation and fate) etc.

Scientists collect and analyze these factors to make their classification according to their significance and necessity in complement for specific situations. And again these classifications and these “sets” of happiness prove to be different for each ethical school, each trend, confession, social order, nationality, country, age, sex, social and professional position, culture, subculture, marital status, personal traits and others. A sufficiently detailed presentation of this variety has been given in the work [93].

The situation is complicated by the fact that people live in a community where some members are concerned with imposing the others with their own ideals or probably the ideals and concepts of happiness they need to manipulate somebody’s behavior for their selfish goals. Now as before on the one hand, the concept of happiness is the most important tool essentially determining our behavior and on the other hand, this tool is sufficiently uncertain and difficult to catch.

How to deal with a tool we have the slightest idea about? Trial and error method? It does not suit the scientific society which in the person of philosophers, psychologists, sociologists and sociobiologists does not stop trying to solve these problems. However, some modern philosophical directions like postmodernism and neopostmodernisn, probably, due to hopelessness or fatigue have come to the conclusion about impossibility in principle of creating a single model of human happiness and hence, a single ethics. From their representatives’ point of view there can exists only a variety of ethics. Again each is given his own. It could be like that. The ethics of a robber and a robbed one are diametrically opposed. However, the attempts to settle the problem are going on. This is the right evidence of the problem being unsolved and important.

What is the cause of the situation occurred? There might be a lot of them. However, there is a basic one. It is “infinite number of factors” rather than “a lot of them”. In this infinite sea of data about happiness so far one is not able to clarify a central idea which would consistently unify everything around.

The second one could be in the fact, that in frames of ethics as a philosophic science with its speculative methods of research in principle it is impossible to find an accurate monosemantic universal notion of happiness as well as the appropriate single way of its attaining.

It is for these reasons that the exact sciences or more exact ones like sociology, psychology, sociobiology, ethology, political science and others with their own law, concepts and methods, lately deal with happiness problem.

Due to these sciences and their methods of research involved in solving the happiness problem one has obtained numerous empirical dependences between indices of happiness sensation (or depression, disaster) of different groups of population, their characteristics, conditions of life and other parameters [5]. Happiness proved to be measurable, investigated by quantitative methods. It had been demonstrated by dependence of health sensation on age of men and women. With women aged 20 having 1,5 time more happiness sensation than men, by the age of 50 this dependence changes its sign for the opposite one, men becoming 1,5 time happier than women [5, p.231]. However, women live longer by 8-10 times! Does not happiness prolong life? For ethics, as philosophical science, such result has not been accessible for years. Further. Why is sensation of happiness far from a lack of disaster? [Ibid, page 3]. Why does not wealth bring happiness but create some premises for its attaining? Dependence between income and life satisfaction is quite illusive and corresponds to correlation magnitude in the range of 0,15-0,20 [Ibid, p.137]. A great variety of such questions came into being while accurate scientific investigations in the second half of the XX-th century. Scientists propose local answers on specific questions and dependences, but they are far from making serious global generalizations. There is no central generalized pattern and corresponding practical results either.

Currently the informational space of happiness problem can be compared with a bunch of chaotically gathered shreds for one to sew a blanket with unknown picture, unmentioned size and obscure shape.

Since a human being, a society and conditions of their life represent a complex system, then in this case the application of system approach is likely to be more expedient, for example to apply the general system theory or more particular methods of research. Encouraging results in solving this problem can be obtained by TCS.

According to TCS, a man as a complex object for the purpose of solving the specific problem can be conditionally subdivided into series of components of structural-spatial, functional or combined forms, for example, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestion, nervous, psychic and other systems considered as independent objects of research. Each of these objects has its own spatially certain environment completely characterizing a state and behavior of the object ( the system in the given case).

To solve the problem of happiness it is expedient to consider a combined functional-structural system of valuable suggestions or simply a value system (VS) as a research object. As the environment one should consider the aggregate of the corresponding external factors acting upon VS. In the simplified sketchy form VS in its most general form can be identified as everything desirable and VS environment as everything real of the desirable. With the difference between the desirable and the real, i.e., with availability of dissatisfaction (discomfort), between them will occur the interaction process directed to decreasing the difference between VS and the environment. With the difference of their states vanished, i.e. the desirable and the real coincided (all wishes came true), the interaction process terminates. This state of balance will associate with the state (sensation) of happiness.

In real-world problems the balance of VS and the environment, due to a certain inevitable working system disconnection will be violated and again the difference in states occurs and interaction process directed to attaining a new balance starts. Further the cycles recur. Whereby one can draw the following conclusions:

1. The state of happiness is not the state of balance of the entire man with his environment, but only of one of his systems (part of control system).

2. The state of happiness can be attained both by VS and its environment change.

3. There must exist a real mechanism of VS and its environment change.

There appears a question, what that mechanism is like? Judging from experience we can say that VS can be formed and changed by upbringing, suggestion, mass media effect and finally, it can be changed by life itself, i.e., living situations (training by life). A human being can deliberately or arbitrarily adapt in one or the other form to the environment changed. Undoubtedly VS is also formed based on a genetic information since many our wishes are instinctive and introduced in subconsciousness depths. This is love, pleasure, fear and others. There is no way of explaining to a man that he must feel pleasure. He just can feel it by himself.

From the same experience we know that one can change VS environment (the real) by active position in life, practical transformation actions, for example, by changing life conditions, his environment, whereabouts etc. Hence, besides VS, which could structurally locate in a man’s brain, CS specifying the state of happiness is to include the support system of this interaction, but VS is only a measurement, indicator part of CS, balance in which is determined by the state of happiness. Thereby there is a need in correcting the initial assumption on selecting the initial object and its environment. To VS must be attached an execution system, i.e., a functional part which changes the environment. It will be a real object of CS.

There occurs a question about sources and moving forces of VS formation. Why is it like that and not different? What is the mechanism of values formation? Where is the criterion of their truth or optimality? And what are their necessity and redundancy like in this case? And what is the necessity in the given case?

Why is it not expedient to train all the employees of any company or enterprise to have mentality of a head or a president? It might be pointless to raise kamikazes or a suicide bombers of members of entire nation or coreligionists. The list of similar questions can be endless. One point is evident, VS is not end in itself but facility in attaining other goals, the element to govern a man behavior. Where is he directed to by it?

Even with surface analysis of the most common natural values the fact has engaged our attention that their essential part directly or indirectly are focused on conservation of a man itself, family or community around (family, love, health, sexual delight, necessity in communication). One can also track more distant connection between certain values and conservation idea. To them one can refer benefit, power, wealth. All other values can be also correlated with the conservation idea but via a general expansion of a human possibilities or their establishment (self-expression, creative work, favorite work, etc.). Whence implies quite evident conclusion: all values directly or indirectly turn us to the goal of conserving a species or society.

The other eternal question is who introduced them to us? One eternal answer is God. The other answer is the mechanism of the human race survival. Environmental fluctuations by a principle of random-number generator could form any values but those of them survived, were conserved and remained along with their carriers who facilitated survival. Certain values helped a man to survive and he remained them inside as a reliable and approved tool. More precisely, they were kept by survival itself. Those who possessed them survived to fix them in genetics, mentality and subconsciousness as well. The analogous mechanism operates, for example, in clothes and hair style fashion, passions and so on. Fashion can be different, the most fantastic and wild, but in the course of time there remain only rational, necessary for every day live garments and occupations. This is the last key criterion of VS for all the living. The others, as you realize, have already passed away. Thus, survival is conservation, and conservation is balance.

The above reasoning can be equally extended to other systems and subsystems of a man, including physiological and psychical ones. In this case the balance state will associate with the state of physiological and psychical health. From here follow evident practical conclusions: to be healthy a man has to keep unchangeable the environment (or to imitate it) in which he matured. And the resulting common reasonable prescriptions: motion, nutrition, fresh air, avoidance of excessive stresses etc., (for details see sect. 2.8).

The proposed mechanism of interaction of an object and an environment can be extended to an entire human being. Their balance in a certain and admissible range proved to be our life. How simple and logical it looks! However, realization of this simplicity is as far as galaxy: one has to know our real state with its being created over many millions years of evolution in which there are so many blank spots. Currently this matter is not being stated this way. However, by means of TCS even now one can reveal the essence of some fundamental human concepts.

Since TCS is applicable to any systems (of different environment), to illustrate the above model of interaction one can draw the analogy of the described mechanism of interaction with operation of follow-up system well known from the theory of automatic control.

We describe a functional-structural pattern of the interaction model developed based on application of concepts and terminology of automatic control theory (Figure 4).

Fig. 4. 1) is the mode of EF change; 2) is the mode of VS correction; 3) is the mode of simultaneous change of EF and correction of VS; 4) is the mode of environmental impact (fluctuation) on the value system. VS – value system ( the desirable) – the control object in scheme 2, signal setter in scheme 1; EF – environmental factors (real) – the control object in scheme 1, signal setter in scheme 2; CU is the comparison unit of signals; AE is the actuating element; DAE is the differential actuating element; R1, R2 is the resistance in chain of corrections of VS and EF; EAE is the external action on environmental factors; EAV is the external action on the value system; а1 is the set signal; а2 – is the signal of control object state; a12 – is the disbalance signal; а1(2), а2(1) are the combined signal (the set and those of object state); Х1,2 is the reaction of actuating mechanism; Х3 is the impact of external action.

We consider the principle of operation of the above patterns taking as the example one index of value system – income magnitude. Let you have developed psychological suggestion for having income not less than 1 000 $ (VS). However, in fact for the present moment you earn only 700 $ (EF – environmental factors). You have a feeling of discomfort proportional to this difference. Signals а and а, are also proportional to these magnitudes, enter to the comparing unit (CU), from there the unbalance signal a12 enters to the actuating element (AE). You received stimulus to action which is also proportional to the magnitude of discomfort. According to the scheme 1 you start acting (X). For example, you increase duration of the working day, improve work organization, technical facilities and so on. Your efforts have resulted in your income having increased up to 1 000 $ (EF). As a result your possibilities and necessities became equal, thereby а1 = а2 and а12=0. You are losing the stimulus to increase your income (Х=0). You have a feeling of satisfaction (in maximum – happiness).

However, it could be that all your efforts fail to attain the desirable outcome (EF=const). In this case the scenario is being developed by the scheme 2. In the course of time you start reappraising values to descend (Х2) the bar of your needs, i.e., you are adapting to the reality (EF). Adaptation (Х2) is going on until the moment of VS and EF balance. You have made a decision that everything is not so bad, calmed down and again have a feeling of a certain satisfaction.

Variant of simultaneous counter change of VS and EF (scheme 3). The quantity of change is proportional to possible “easy” change of VS and EF. Changes (actions Х1 and Х2) are inversely proportional to certain peculiar resistances R1 and R2. The relation of the flows X1 and X2 is set up by differential actuating element (DAE). And again occur balance and state of satisfaction. Due to permanently changing external action (EAE), unbalance appears again followed by the appropriate actions and then balance again takes place. The system will continuously track the changing EAE. This is a natural follow-up automatic system of control of man’s behavior.

It is necessary to point out that VS is not a permanent in time complex and in its turn depends on a number of variable factors of both objective and subjective character. First of all it is a current psychic, emotional and physiological condition of a man, a situation occurred at the present moment, an age, dynamics and consistency of factors changing and other reasons. However, this matter should be given a close and serious consideration.

Now we have to establish, that according to the described scheme due to continuous change of corresponding environmental factors the state (feeling) of happiness cannot be long-continued and unchangeable and results from the process of the given man current VS permanent approaching the corresponding complex of environmental factors.

This implies that the concepts of happiness based on considering one or another historically accepted specific factors are quite rough and can serve as a certain guide for action in a certain case.

It is worth noting that, as a rule, as a happiness factor of habitat one takes the last missing link of EF to attain balance of satisfaction. The other elements of VS are usually forgotten. It is like the last bagel that had to be eaten immediately so that to be full. However, if for some reason one loses the other important value (for example severe illness), immediately occurs revaluation and starts comparing different VS and different EF.

Of importance is the matter concerning source of VS. We illustrate this by example of the same index of VS – income. Assume, that there exists a great deal of people with different VS, in the range of 10 $ – 1 000 000 $. Representatives of the row start are very poor degraded homeless people who have only one wish – to eat something and get drunk. It implies diseases, bad nutrition, lack of culture, insanitariness, etc. As a result of natural selection this category of multitude dies out along with its VS (EAV of scheme 4). Representatives of the other end of the row, those who have superhigh incomes possess excessive material possibilities. The goal of their life turns into eccentric entertainment, unnatural ways of leisure, all together, the way of life incompatible with healthy way of life and continuation of human race: alcohol, drugs, unwillingness to lose freedom because of marriage and necessity of raising children. This category of people in the course of time vanishes as well (conditional example) (EAV of scheme 4).

The optimal VS could be somewhere in the center of the row and it corresponds to survival conditions of the entire mankind. The number of this group grows with time and in so doing the stable VS is being formed. Hence, the source of VS formation is the survival process itself.

This intercommunication can be tracked not only by the example of individual personalities and small groups but entire nations and states. At present, everybody has realized the communication of value systems embedded in nations’ consciousness and population changes. In “highly” prosperous countries population decreases and in poor developing countries, which retained old mentality the birth rate is rather high regardless of low living standards. The combination of “well provided” mentality with temporal, over critical stages of development, descend of living standards results in the most intensive decrease of population, since the both factors “actuate” simultaneously and negatively.

As known, in nature the reduction of population magnitude depends on living conditions and in the first turn a forage available rather than ethical “mood”. It could be one of the most principle differences of a man as a psychobiological essence from his close and distant “relatives” in evolution of living nature.

The real life is certain to be infinitely various and complicated, the set of indices of VS is much bigger, but the principle of the above systems operations remains unchangeable. Only content of the scheme elements undergoes a change.

There is no doubt, our ancestors must be granted for their observation. They were able to encode the essence of balance mode of the above scheme in the name of the balance required. Russian interpretation of the word “happiness” suggests something that is going on at the present moment, i.e., happiness in etymological sense means the state of the present moment, the moment which does not concern the past or future. The entire life is concentrated at the given moment. Compare: “the happy do not watch the time” suggests one enjoys the present moment, or: “the moment, stop. I am enjoying”. Time termination means that of intercommunication, termination of change that in its turn suggests balance. Therewith in the concept “happiness” is encoded the balance state.

According to everything stated above we can present the following definition of “happiness”.

Happiness is the balance mode in the natural control system of a man behavior specified as the state of dynamic balance between his value system and the complex of corresponding acting factors of the environment aimed at a man conservation in this environmental conditions.

In such formulation the “happiness” concept (and the corresponding system of behavior) is really universal, with equal rights and just for any human being in any conditions.

The idea of “happiness” in concepts of ТЗС can be expressed analytically. In particular, one can obtain the analytical dependence for determining the time over which a man can feel himself in the zone of the highest bliss, the comfort zone. In the given case, since the interaction process of a man value system with corresponding real conditions of his existence represents a real process, one can use the dependence (15) for a general case of determining the real process time:


where for this particular case tc is the time of a human being’s staying in a spiritual and psychic comfort zone; Rc is a complex of methods and measures of emotional and psychic protection (isolation) from negative action of the environment upon a human being’s psychic system, including usage of psychotropic agents (alcohol, drugs etc. – anomalous measures), methods of suggestion, concealment of negative information on traumatizing facts, any ways of withdrawal from problems; ΔCc – psychic and emotional stability, difference between states of comfort and discomfort zones, “factor of safety” of a human being ante the environment’s negative action, psychic stability interval depending, in the first place, upon natural and acquired characteristics of a particular person; N0 – initial value of the interaction power of psycho-emotional system of a human being and the environment; П, В, – dependence function of N0 upon nature and type of values’ system components; У – dependence of N0 upon living conditions of a human being.

Hence, staying in the zone of spiritual comfort can be increased mainly by changing (increasing) resistance parameters and decreasing the gap between ideals and reality. The latter can be decreased by active change of reality via solving problems and lowering our demands, breaking or changing different psychical and psychological suggections. can be partly increased by expanding the range of psychical stability by means of appropriate training.

It is natural, that there are not enough means of expressing the factors that affect the process of attaining a comfort zone. The development of special terminology is likely to be the matter of the future. Quantitative solution of the problem is also a subject of further research, probably, with the use of grade system.

The described conception of happiness contains some elements of evolutionary ethics, G.Spencer being one of its creators. However, due to more perfect methodology TCS consider the problem on higher level and allows one to solve it without previous contradictions that were not overcome by evolutionary ethics and “synthetic” philosophy. In TCS there vanished, for example, the concepts of evolution, collapse, organism, level, etc., i.e., was developed more sophisticated qualitatively new conceptual apparatus. In particular, was synthesized the central fundamental concept of TCS – a closed system (in the limit – ACS) . Therewith, regardless of imperfection of evolutionary ethics (and the theory as a whole) and half-century’s oblivion, the interest to its ideas had been growing over the last decade. It resulted from development of modern system methods of research. In its time the evolution theory did not have sufficient scientific level and substantiation like Mendeleiev D.I. did not have a planetary model of atom at the moment of his discovery of periodic law.

TCS is one of variants of system approach. TCS is not reduced to reductionism due to extreme expansion of content of concept of state as an ability of any object to change its environment. The content of state concept can have an infinite volume. It is equally intrinsic to a society and abiotic environment to be changed and change the environment. Namely, the limit level of generalization allows one to synthesize a conceptual apparatus appropriate to investigation and description of objects of any environment and characteristics.

In its essence TCS is the ontological materialization of logic. In logic, for example, one cannot change in frames of one reasoning the content of concepts being used or arbitrarily take from nowhere new concepts or exclude them without their substantiation etc. As known, the laws of logic, which finally are the synthesis of the most common laws of nature are obeyed by elementary parts and living organisms, and societies and any space formations. It is for this reason that TCS is valid in investigating any objects. Due to TCS application one managed to construct the described model of happiness and obtain conclusions well adjustable with the known theoretical and empirical material concerning problems of happiness and health.

The described model of happiness can help in generalization of accumulated empirical material and development of specific practical recommendations. With these questions not being solved, individual persons and the entire society suffer. Modern science is just making first steps in precise scientific cause-effect perception and description of the level of our behavior motivation which is referred to as morality. At present a value remains an end in itself rather than means for attaining real vitally important goals. The depth and strength of their introduction create an illusion of their independence and adequacy. Moreover, we live in a world of false values, values that break marriages, peace, health, love but bring a temporary gulp of happiness. These are drugs, alcohol, extreme kinds of leisure, severe exploitation of sex instinct, violence propaganda, unnatural ideals and goals of life, religious fanaticism and many others. Probably, uncontrollable false ideals and values have always overwhelmed mankind, but tough frames of survival in prehistoric time taught on their own what good or bad suggested, what one could and had to do and what could not. Now the situation has changed in principle.

Excessive material possibilities of a modern man are no longer put a constraint on his behavior which needs a new mechanism of its control. For this purpose we must reconsider our attitude to ethics, the problem of its being studied and developed, introduced in consciousness and subconsciousness of rising generation. The ethics sufficiently high studied by specialist-philosophers at universities, could be branched off into a new science about happiness (it could be phoenixology) to be learned at elementary school before or simultaneously with reading and writing practice, as the saying goes “to start from the clean sheet”. A person must learn happiness as he learns reading and counting. The process of introducing ideals and values in subconsciousness of a human being to be raised is almost irreversible. The earlier we realize this the better it is. Otherwise, hereditary and moral inertia of a matured person behavior will be as hardly controlled as an ocean liner with a jammed rudder.

The above natural genetic automatic mechanism of generation of values as pointers, lighthouses of our behavior has been out of date for a long and does not correspond to necessities of modern rapidly changing world. We can witness what it results in. Paradoxically, but Decalogue of Solomon, Christ, Muhamad, Buddha and so on, proved to be more effective than a moral code of a communism builder not long ago and still more effective concerning the lack of any integer system complex of moral norms that we currently watch around. This problem has to be solved.

Thereby, the general scheme of attaining the state of happiness can be determined and sufficiently completely described by means of concepts and dependences of TCS under their appropriate interpretation via generally accepted modern means of describing a man and its environment. The above results can facilitate not only theoretical comprehension of the problem but also promote practical attaining the zone of generalized comfort as the synonym of complex of conditions of attaining the entire state of all wishes coming true, referred to as happiness.