Less about happiness

“He told us to use this to practice making money so we can be rich like him.” Probably a lot less popular than actually giving large amounts of money, but also probably more effective in the long run.  I suspect the same for happiness.

I realize that my previous post, “Can happiness be shared“, was a bit rambling and branching into diverse topics. What I really wanted to say was this:

We can try to share our happiness with others through a smile, a gift or some friendly words. But how well this works depends greatly on the person who receives. Each person has a “capacity for happiness” of their own. This capacity seems to be partly inborn, possibly influenced by upbringing, and slowly altered through our life choices over the years.

If the other person has a high capacity for happiness, your “gift of happiness” is likely to ignite happiness in the other person as well.  That happiness can then continue to burn for a long time. Eventually as they gather happiness they may become “permanently happy”, throughout their life (and even beyond, but I cannot possibly prove that even if it should be true.)

If the other person has only a moderate capacity for happiness, the happiness you share with them will only burn briefly, like a matchstick (for those old enough to remember them).  After a little while, it is gone.

If someone has a low enough capacity for happiness, they may get envious at seeing you happy.  So your happiness actually makes them unhappy.  And even if it is not quite that bad, they may quickly get used to your gift of happiness and become angry if you don’t keep “feeding them happiness”.

It is this “capacity for happiness” which I believe cannot be given away, but is like health or stamina, part inheritance and part lifestyle.

I hope it was clearer this time around! It was to me, at least.

A liver am I!

Have you ever thought about this: Someone who loses is called a loser, someone who wins is called a winner, someone who quits is called a quitter, but someone who lives is never called a liver. What were the people thinking who named our internal organs?  Well, they seems to have had high thoughts about the liver, and so do I.  Anyway, here I am again to live the day, Light willing.  Yess!

Sick

As can be expected after the sneezing, coughing and hacking bus passengers, I now have a head cold.  I am also lightheaded and having small chills, but so far no clinical fever, so there is some hope that it is just a rhinovirus and not the Pandemic. I’ve also had a cold sore for a couple days, not sure where that fits in.

In unrelated news, one of my old fillings fell out. Well, I am not going to the dentist until I know whether or not I have the flu.  That should be clear tomorrow sometime. If I don’t have a broad range of flu symptoms by then, it is likely to be a cold.

Sims 3: Life and death

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Sims 3 is not a matter of life or death, except for the Sims.  Here is the pink cowboy ghost Gaylord, in animated conversation with a random passerby at the graveyard.

You may say that the original Sims game was personal, Sims 2 was generational, and Sims 3 is communal. Focus is now on the community. As such, life goes on even if your Sim passes on. Except the Sims don’t exactly pass on, they just die. And then hang around as ghosts.

Starting with Sims 2, the small characters aged through a number of life phases and eventually died. After this they would return as ghosts, scaring the living, often to death. Apart from that they mostly just moped around. I always found it more convenient to get their gravestones to a cemetery the sooner the better and never go there at night.

In The Sims 3, the ghosts have a lot more personality. Actually, they retain their original personalities. So when your loving, caring grandmother dies, she won’t return to scare the grandchildren to death. Instead, she will look after the toddler. Well, actually it is somewhat limited what ghosts can do, but they do provide company. Actually, in extreme cases of company, male ghosts can beget babies, who stand a chance of being born as ghosts and grow up that way. I am not sure if female ghosts can get pregnant, they would have to die in their fertile age for that to happen, not of old age. Anyway, the ghost babies are affectionately known in the player community as “glow worms”. They grow up to ghost children. Children can now also die (in fires and such) but those ghost children are not controllable.

The science lab is constantly looking for a way to bring back the dead, but usually the outcome is a playable ghost instead. A better alternative is to not die in the first place, something most of us will probably agree with instinctively. There are ways to achieve this. There is actually even a way to resurrect the dead, but it requires skill and an elaborate procedure. It may also not be possible in Riverview, the second town, as it does not have a graveyard pond. More about this soon.

In Sims 2, you could reverse aging with Elixir of Life, an aspiration reward that you could buy for aspiration points, which you got from fulfilling wants while avoiding fears. Aspiration points still exist, although they are now lifetime happiness points and you can get them from a couple other sources as well, such as living in beautiful surroundings and listening to music. The fastest way is still to fulfill wants, and not least the big lifetime want. Unfortunately, this has very little influence on your lifespan anymore, although you can have a better life while it lasts.

Instead you now have Life Fruit, which must be grown like any other plant. It requires some gardening skill. You can get it from working in the science career, or from picking up seeds. In the latter case, just pick up and plant all “special” seeds you find (requires level 7 gardening skill) and eventually one of them will be a life plant. Special seeds are usually found either near the science building or in the town cemetery. When mature, the plant gives two life fruits every other day. Each fruit makes you one day younger, so this is a stopgap measure at best. Fortunately you can plant the fruits, and they will grow into new life plants. Once you have a small garden patch for each family member you want to keep young, it just becomes part of the daily routine. Unless some other calamity strikes.

Sims with the highest cooking skill can however do something more with life fruit. They can combine it with death fish to create ambrosia. This is powerful stuff. It can rejuvenate a Sim to the beginning of their current age, it gives days of very high happiness, and it is said to give ghosts their bodies back. I have not tried this myself. From what I have read, you need to first fish a catfish, then use it as bait to catch an angelfish, then use this as bait in the cemetery pond after midnight to catch a death fish. Perhaps I’ll try it some day.

But in any case, as I said, the game is really as much about a community as it is about a family or any one particular character. So even if your Sim lives on a diet of life fruit, or even has a garden full to sustain a family, friends and neighbors will still pass on. Your boss will retire, and one day you meet his ghost while out jogging. Grandchildren grow up and find love, or perhaps become insane kleptomaniacs, and move out. Eventually they too grow old. Being an immortal in a world of mortals is, as literature teaches us, a bittersweet experience at best, an ongoing soft tragedy. That said, I would be willing to try. And so will my favorite Sims.

Meeting

Today was our first meeting in “Himitsu Corp.” (name fabricated for our protection). We don’t actually start there until June 2, and are supposed to continue working at our usual job until the Friday before.  Uhm, I believe that is THIS Friday. It is still hard to believe that I am leaving the only employer I have had in my adult life – even though I am actually following my job.

The meeting confirmed my impression that we are, at the outset, seen as crates, or lego bricks, or in other words, interchangeable pieces.  This cannot be helped, since we are new and it is a fairly large organization. Unfortunately it is wrong, however, and particularly so in my case. I am more different from them than the average Chinese or Arab, in one particular area that greatly affect our job. Namely the fact that I don’t talk. Hopefully there won’t be a lot of that, but there will be some.

Binaural fad not ended yet

Today I ordered a subscription to the LifeFlow program, the one with the hilarious website.  Their customer support is quite friendly and I like their sense of humor. They also have a slightly more relaxed community of users, which is definitely a good thing.

It is remarkable once you notice it: When people turn their back on traditional religion, many of them will fabricate a replacement from something else.  It may be a political movement (communism had many of the trappings of religion, for instance) but I also see the same in the brainwave entrainment community. People latch onto one of the technologies (more common with Holosync, it seems) and it becomes Holy.  There is no way anything  could be wrong except for outsiders, who are wrong by default.  If you don’t feel anything and the months go by and you don’t notice any effect at all, just believe in the system.  You know, this isn’t something we do for the afterlife, well most of us at least.

This should not really surprise me, since I have seen similar attitudes regarding Windows vs Mac vs Linux.  I have even compared it with the religious landscape here in Norway.  We have a state church that everyone is a member of unless they (or their parents) do something to avoid it.  That would be like Windows, which you get with your computer unless you go out of your way to avoid it.  Then we have the pentecostals which come across as easily excited and harmlessly fanatical, just like the Apple Mac fans.  And then there is Linux. Linux is like the Wiccans and Neopagans doing magic in dark places, the outsiders you avoid unless you are in serious trouble or want revenge on the System.

Well, that’s how I see it.  But the fact remains, there is a lot of religious-like behavior in the brain entrainment field. I already have a religion so I am not comfortable with that.  I don’t do this for my afterlife, really, but to explore more of what is possible in this life.  And not for the sake of earning money or attracting love, or even for my health (although that is certainly worth considering).  I guess the shortest answer is: Because I can.

Anyway, it is a series of ten tracks over as many months (I think) at $67 each.  So in the hopefully unlikely case that I leave the land of the living or the sane, whoever takes over should be aware that there is such an obligation runnin. And that it is not a porn site, although it does make me quiver with pleasure occasionally when I read their website…