May 2008

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« Happiness Formula | Main | Big Trouble »


Daniel Courtiade

Hi Scott,
Catching up on your blog as I don't get to read it every day but I enjoyed this one in particular. I wasn't sure whether to take it seriously at first due to the seemingly cynical nature of your blogs at first glance but now I see, you have a fair amount of time and experience to think about some of these matters of life apart from it's insanity i.e sex with a dead deer, what the hell is going on in the world?? It also stretches beyond your usual boundry of philosotainment.
My thought is that it is quite sad that only once a person has become really asthetically wealthy that he realises that money won't make you happy and as cleched as that is, you have given the general public a clear cut example of that.
So surely the poorest of the poor have the ability to be truely happy - this point seems to get rediscovered condinually? So then what makes us stubbornly choose the path of apparent unhappiness? Surely we serving the wrong greater purpose?
I am probably pissing in the wind by trying to be heard and I think I'll give this philosophy a try.
Can you also further explain your comment about "fixing yourself first"
Ciao for now


Wow - we have the sole arbiter of what is appropriate and inappropriate on Scott's blog. Pleased to meet you. Make sure you steer us all in the right direction in the future, won't you?


I arbitered because that idiot "Oli" seemed to call me an idiot. Scott claims that he moderates the posts so I bought that to his notice. Your sarcasm is wasted.


Oh, I would be glad to attend to your funeral, if the purpose is to make you happy, but I could not afford the expenses without sponsoring, including a little journey to Disneyland, to make my wife, children and myself happy too.


Thanks for being around, Scott! And THANKS for Blogging and Cartooning!


"Scott, That was an inappropriate post in your blog"

Wow - we have the sole arbiter of what is appropriate and inappropriate on Scott's blog. Pleased to meet you. Make sure you steer us all in the right direction in the future, won't you?



Apologies for the long post:

"You aren’t much good to anyone else if you’re unhealthy, a financial burden, or an emotional basket case." -- Scott

I think you are over-generalising here. Medical science benefits directly from the unhealthy, for example. We learn how to cure disease partly from studying disease. Some ill people have been greatly valued throughout history. Van Gogh wasn't the most emotionally stable of people, but his vision and talent - perhaps partly due to his torments - touch millions and may do so for generations. My own grandfather was a financial burden on me for a number of years, but his being forced to live with me was for the most part enriching to my life - I didn't regret it and I hope he didn't either.

Darwin was unhealthy throughout much of his life but contributed in a spectacular way to science and to culture. Stephen Hawking is 'healthy' only in the very specialised sense that he is unexpectedly still alive but has done some decent work in physics - more than I am capable of.

On all levels, those who are unhealthy, a financial drain or barking mad can be of use to the rest of us, sometimes *because* of those 'failings', sometimes in spite of them.

Russell defines what he calls 'the good life' in terms quite dissimilar to but not entirely incompatible with yours. You (everyone) might enjoy reading his work, as much for his dry sense of humour and genteel if slightly old-fashioned prose as for his no-nonsense, relentlessly logical and unapologetically liberal approach.

I hesitate to define 'meaning' at all. I'm not sure I can agree that it always necessarily involves 'reaching out'. Some people argue that introspection is the key to meaning and I have some sympathy with that point of view. It works from the moral perspective too - understand what you're about, understand where your morality *really* comes from and perhaps you are in a better position to understand meaning and be a good person. Who knows?

For my part, I see no 'meaning' in anything in and of itself. But this doesn't make me feel sad or unfulfilled - quite to the contrary. It also fails to prevent me from trying to help others or from reaching outward. I suspect the reason that kind of thing makes me feel good is an evolutionary one. I see no 'meaning' in this though and no reason to invent meaning where it isn't needed.

It's interesting, by the way, how many congratulatory comments you get when you write something people seem to want to hear (e.g. there is something larger) and how many vitriolic ones you get when you say something they don't (e.g. there is no free will).

Dilbert's Rabbi


You’re going to live a wonderful life and help a lot of people; your funeral will be well attended and your accomplishments may even merit mention in the national media… then what? What’s next? A hundred years from now, if you’re especially blessed, there will be SOME one, on SOME level, who will remember you for SOME thing. But what about YOU; where will YOU be?

You’ve clearly demonstrated that there is a purpose in life larger than ourselves… is it too much of a stretch to think that there’s something BEYOND this life? Think about it…


Jesus came on the scene and said something radical when He said, ‘Happiness is found in losing your life, in giving yourself away. Happiness is found in serving, not in being served; in giving, not in getting,’ (Matthew 10:39).


I work because it makes you happy.


"Oli" posted:

"Hi Scott,

There is no need to get obscenely rich to get the outward orientation you speak off. Intelligence, deep thinking could be good substitutes to obscene levels of material prosperity to achieve that outward orientation.

Posted by: Kiran | "

Hehehehe Idiot.

Scott, That was an inappropriate post in your blog


I'm reminded of a quote from a 19th century philosopher (sorry, can't remember his name) who said:

"Do good works in secret and be discovered by accident."

This is a rehash of the idea expressed in both the Bible and the Quran (and probably several other holy books as well - I'm pretty sure I've read it in the Bhagavad Gita too).

My point is that the cynical posters, such as Ed, Oli and Alexis, might like to consider that quote. If the idea appeals to you, then perhaps you are ready to look outward yourselves. However, if you think you need recognition and/or praise for your good deeds, or feel the need to complain when someone else mentions theirs as an integral part of their personal philosophy, then you need a bit more self-fixing.

And before you say that Scott isn't keeping his good works secret, remember he was expressly asked to explain his idea of meaning and that's what he has done. Scott's philosophy may make him self satisfied (and surely that is the point) but self centred - not a chance!

doesn't matter

diminishing returns applies to altruism.


I'd just like to say that i would attend your funeral if you were to die tomorrow.... but as i'm in England and you are rich (which i'm not) i would need expenses money. As the funeral would be tomorrow i would have to travel 1st class so i am refreshed when i get there.

Please contact me to find out where you can send the money to.....


"I need a second opinion. Is there a sociologist in the house?"

You might be better off with an evolutionist.


Just want to say that I'm one of those nearly extinct happy people...
Just a genuine happy, positive person...
Is it because I live in sunny, beautiful Spain? maybe...
But can't shove the grin from my face!

Sarah Sunshine

Scott - I've been a silent reader for a couple of years. Your site is one of the few I read every day. You usually either make me laugh, or make me think, or both.

This time I agree with much of what you said, although as others have said, looking outside oneself can definitely happen while still working on personal improvement. Life, by definition, is full of challenges, disaster and disappointment for everyone. I've noticed that I'm happier working on a project, especially if it helps someone else, too. It's really a selfish thing. But that doesn't make it bad - just human.


My favorite thing about reading your blog is witnessing the steady progression of the size of your ego.


This has to be the best time for you to write this post (or probably for me to read this at this time). I prefer not to get into any lengthy details but thank u for this post. It really cleared my mind over a few issues i have been screwing my brain upon.

PS: your funeral is going to have a massive turnout, Be prepared!!!!

you'd what?!

P.S. Reason I sponsored those two children when I was 17 was because I was at a Christian youth group concert, and when I saw the Compassion stand, all I could think was "what better way to show my faith than this? I can worship God with my voice all I want, but how much better to serve the poor, in the same way Jesus would?"

Wanted to add that because I don't want to attribute the credit to me for being some selfless philanthropist... its because of the impact Jesus has had on my life.

you'd what?!

At the age of 17 I signed up to sponsor 2 children through Compassion International. Best feeling ever.

(P.S. Scott, I hope you meant you had meaning in your life as well as the meaning you derive from writing Dilbert- right?)


Excellent post Scott....sends out good vibes.

My friends in New Zealand have a thing for's called "lifestyle" - meaning, a lot of what they do (careers, etc) has to do with the quality of their lifestyle - i.e. being close to nature, enjoying family and good food and good wine.

Step back...slow down, work smarter not harder and take some time to enjoy the wonders of our planet, time with friends and you will bring greater peace into your life.


Adams meets Maslow
Happy Day
Keep up the good work/production of meaning ;)

Daves not here

Sometimes, serving that "higher purpose" first, is what fixes you.



Basically once you made so much money that another dollar was no longer important to you, you decided to justify your existence by changing your motivations (though not necessarily your actions). Wow that is incredibly shallow. I like it!


That's how the old Greeks came to be philosophers; only the rhich ones that had slaves hat the time and the willingness.

On a critical note, I would like to oppose the notion that is often stated by succesfull people: that they owe it all to them selves because they have worked so hard and so on .. You did mention that you had a lot of luck, but then you go and say that everybody can 'fix' themselves and become happy if they're not lazy and follow a few simple rules. I could say that is arrogant.

(Besides, what if you're a recreational whiner? Then you can only be happy if you're unhappy.)

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