Life Is All About The Happiness And Not The Hardships
Note to Reader: This packet has a conversation between me and someone else who gives in-depth responses to me.
Opening Statement: My positive emotions are the only mental states that make things, moments, and situations perceived as beautiful, good, amazing, and joyful in my life. No other mental state does this for me. In short, the only way I can see things in life from a positive perspective is through my positive/pleasant emotions and the only way I can see things in life from a negative perspective is through my negative/unpleasant emotions. Sadly, positive emotions are very fleeting things and they don't last long. This is a serious issue for me as I have struggled with many miserable moments in my life. It's also an issue for me because life is often times not a happy place.
Other Person's Response: Reality is almost never a happy place. I told you before that you've painted yourself into a corner and left yourself open to inevitable disaster. This is highly likely to lead to your eventual suicide. Think about the millions, billions of people and years that have come before you. You've seen movies depicting life hundreds of years ago, yes? People's lives have generally always been filled with extreme misery.
From hunger and famine, to brutal, hard labor, to medical issues and injuries, to wars and isolation, to the idea that we all become confronted by the fact that, one day, each and every one of us, yourself included, will die. I mean, the most immediate inevitable problem that comes to my mind is: what will you do when your mother, whom you claim to be so dependent on, dies?
To face such an inevitable reality must be terrifying. How could you even come close to be happy while having the capacity to know these things? I really don't know how you get through the day with the philosophy you put forward. It would take a strong will to live in a complete fantasy divorced of reality. Yet, that can only protect you until the point that an event actually occurs. At which point, you will fall into despair. I wouldn't want anyone to be subjected to that nightmare.
I say these things not to be mean, but to impress upon you that the answer to this question and the advice you are seeking has already been offered to you numerous times before in other parts of the forums. Your "worldview" your philosophy of hedonism is your undoing. It is the single greatest threat to your life and your happiness precisely because the world isn't fair, it doesn't care about your feelings, and every time reality hits, you will sink into an ever deepening well of depression that will eventually scar you so much that it consumes you whole. It will destroy you. Only by seeking knowledge and learning will you uncover better philosophies and better tools to protect yourself.
For example, Stoicism would be far more beneficial of a philosophy than hedonism. Especially for you. All the hedonists I've ever known were essentially bi polar, going from super highs of happy to deep depression, anger, hatred, and self loathing. It ripped apart their relationships, leaving them alone only to sink deeper into drugs and alcohol for an escape. Their intoxicating happy moments would lead others to follow them only to be destroyed by them when the happy moments run out. To me, it's an evil, harmful, dangerous existence. This is my personal opinion, experiences here, and justification for the advice I'm giving you.
In short, the only answer, the only protection, and the only advice myself or anyone else here could really give you on this particular question is to utilize whatever capacity you are able to in order to develop yourself as a person. You need to enrich your mind with knowledge and you need to understand that, unless you can find security and stability in the worst of life's moments, the best of life's moments will become less and less happy until all you're left with is darkness and despair. When that happens, you will kill yourself.
I speak from experience here, man. I've seen a lot of shit in my life. And this is a serious answer to your question.
My Reply: Maybe all I need is a whole new personal experience that can give my life beauty, joy, and good value. Perhaps there is a way for me to acquire this new personal experience (mental state). Therefore, maybe I really don't need to study up and learn things. Maybe I just need to do something new with my life or get the proper help from a therapist. Also, if I need help, I'll get it. I'm not just going to end my life.
One last thing. If there is a god, then why isn't he ensuring my happiness and well-being? I take personal issue with that and I think it's cruel, uncaring treatment. If you're going to provide a service for your customers, then you have to make sure it's a good service that makes the customers happy. Likewise, a loving god should have provided us with a blissful utopia life to make us all happy.
I would have expected this life to be a good service that provides us with immortality, eternal bliss, freedom of misery and hardship, whatever we desire, etc. But I didn't get that and I'm more than curious as to why an all-loving god wouldn't provide us with that. Who knows, it could be the case that there is no god and this is the only life we have.
In which case, I hope these immortality rings work for me so that I can live to see a better future. It would be a future meant for our longevity and happiness. Since there would be no god giving us a good service, then it's up to scientists to do the job. If these rings don't work for me, then I'm also out of luck. Not only in terms of happiness, but longevity.
Other Person's Response: Let me butt in here for a moment. If there is a god, then I think we were meant to serve him. I'm a Christian and I think life was meant to be filled with hardship because we were meant to bear our cross for Jesus.
My Reply: I disagree. I think an all-loving god would serve us and make this life free of hardship and misery. Especially considering that positive emotions are the only things that make life beautiful. It would be a caring, generous act of scientists to create a utopia life for us just as how it would be a caring, generous act of an all-loving god to create such a life for us.
Other Person's Response: If scientists do create this future utopia life for us, then what about those people who see value in a life of hardship, pain, disease, misery, and want that? There are people who value tough, brutal battles and character growth/strength. I don't think we should leave these people out of the picture.
My Reply: I mentioned earlier that a utopia life would also give us whatever we desire. So, for those who wish to live short, hard lives filled with struggles can choose to have that while people who wish to live blissful, easy, immortal lives can have that. I think having life one way isn't going to work out for everybody. For example, if this life were blissful and free of hardship and misery for everybody, then that wouldn't work out for those types of people who value hardship and misery.
Likewise, this being a life that's unfair and filled with misery, unhappiness, pain, disease, and hardship obviously isn't going to work out for everybody either. It clearly does not work out for me. To expect me to find value in a life of misery and unhappiness would be no different than expecting a tough, brutal person who values hardship to find value in an easy, happy life free of hardship. So, I think the best solution would be to create a life that is suitable for each individual. I think scientists need to make that happen somehow.
Other Person's Response: If, let's pretend, this utopia life were real and you got to live it, would you ever choose to live the life of hardship, pain, misery, and struggles?
My Reply: If I ever wanted to change and grow as a person, then I would choose that life. In the meantime, I would want to live the blissful life of my dreams all I wanted to. I'm not sure if I would ever want to grow as a person. A hedonistic lifestyle has always been the life I've been familiar with and found value in. It's like home to me.
So, it would be very difficult for me to prefer another way of life. Think of someone who's lived as a tough, brutal man in a life of hardship and misery. It would be very difficult for that person to prefer a happy life free of hardship if his tough, brutal life was the life he's always found value in.
Other Person's Response: I personally find your preference of an eternal, blissful, utopia life to be depressing and sad. It's a meaningless existence.
My Reply: I don't think it is. Think of a happy, carefree child living the blissful Disney life of his/her dreams and for said life to last eternity. I fail to see that as sad or a meaningless existence.
Other Person's Response: You wish life to be a happy, fun adventure that never ends. But that's the opposite of what life is. It's a life filled with misery, unhappiness, hardship, and people die whether it be sometime soon or when their lives are over. This life is very temporary and not a happy place.
My Reply: In a way, it would be like people are characters in a video game playing a war where they all battle, struggle, and die shortly. But I am the character in that game who just wants to be happy, have fun, adventure, never dies, and never struggles. I would, therefore, be playing the game in a way that it's not intended. But my method of playing the game isn't compatible with the game I'm playing because it's a war game where we all battle, struggle, and die.
That's why I would want to put in a new game cartridge, if you will. This new game would be a happy, fun, adventure game where it's free of hardship, death, and misery. Unfortunately, I'm stuck with this loathsome game. That means I have to play a game I don't like and don't want to play. I consider this game to be someone else's and not my own. I would want my own game to play if I had the choice. That's why I would choose to live my own blissful, eternal, utopia life.
Other Person's Response: If god made this life perfect, then there would be no learning and growing.
My Reply: If god couldn't make this life free of suffering for whatever reason, then he could have at least bestowed me with all the life lessons I needed to learn upon my very birth. If he did that, then I would have known to keep my thought processes healthy right from the start in order to avoid all that suffering I've been through.
All that suffering was nothing but a horrible life for me and it could have been avoided right from the start. I don't understand why god didn't choose this alternative and instead had me go through all that suffering to learn my life lesson later on. If there's a better alternative to things, then that is the alternative I think should have been carried out.
I think it would be better if god put knowledge in a person's head right from the start that, for example, smoking would definitely be hazardous to his health rather than allowing that person to smoke and have his health destroyed later on.
That way, this person would definitely see his future and avoid smoking in the first place. So, what I'm saying is that god should be like a fortune teller who protects us from future suffering and tragedies through his bestowed knowledge within us.
I think this would have been the right thing to do because any method that prevents one from living a horrible life of suffering is the right method. Any god who wouldn't carry out this method would have to be an uncaring god. Scientists are making our lives easier and preventing suffering and I think god should be like these scientists.
Other Person's Response: Clearly, I was too harsh last time. I'll try and say it more nicely.
1. At this stage, you really should seek help from a professional.
2. How can anyone help you if, when you go to a place for help, ask for help, and someone answers you in a meaningful way, you ignore them and refuse the help that was offered? So, please, seek professional help.
My Reply: Understood. But I think this change of my values would require a change in my whole personality. I am someone who wants life to be a beautiful, joyful, fun adventure that never ends. The most important things to me in life are longevity and happiness. Hence my yearning for the eternal blissful afterlife of my dreams. Longevity without the happiness (positive emotions) would be an empty, horrible life and I would not want to live that life. But happiness without the longevity would be a beautiful life for me.
However, I would really hate for a beautiful life to be something so temporary. That's why a combination of longevity and happiness would be the greatest life for me. Now, this worldview of mine is profoundly spiritual to me like a religion. Hence the reason why I refer to positive emotions as being a divine state of consciousness or a divine and holy inner light. Since my worldview is like a religion, then it would be that more difficult to change. But do you think it's still possible to change it?
Other Person's Response: You have every right to be treated with ridicule and scorn because this philosophy of yours is very selfish and childish.
My Reply: I am not who you think I am. I am a very kind person and I don't demand fancy things like a spoiled, selfish person. If you were to meet my mother, she will tell you that I am very kind and don't act like a spoiled person. My positive emotions are far more than just fancy things I want in my life.
As I explain later on, they are literally everything to my existence. They are what literally bring my life beauty and joy. Another thing. I've had special ed in my school years and I've had speech problems when I was younger. This means I'm a special needs person.
So, I might be mentally disabled here. This means that, if there are other values and emotions I can have in my life besides my primitive, instinctive ones (which, again, I am doubtful there are in the first place), then my mental disability might be preventing me from having that capacity. I might not be capable of what other human beings are capable of.
They say it takes more than a mere animal to have values founded upon intellect and character. I might not have that capacity. But I do have autism and it's said that autistic people are gifted. I think I might be creating really good music in my mind that I have yet to share to the world. Once people recognize its greatness, they should see me in a whole new light.
Other Person's Response: What if you are mentally disabled like you say and you can't ever obtain these intellectual based emotions or values?
My Reply: Again, what kind of god would allow that? I would be left with only one very fleeting thing (my positive emotions) to make my life beautiful.
Other Person's Response: Also, your idea of permanent happiness would be impossible without some sort of mind control device or highly destructive drugs which would strip you of all aspects of your person hood. How do I put it.....
Well, you would be sad if your mom died, yes? I mean, she's going to die one day and that is sad. When that day comes, would you really want to be smiling and happy, feeling nothing for your mother? Just happily dancing on her grave? How can you claim to love someone if they mean so little to you that their death doesn't make you sad?
What Im trying to say is, what you are trying to achieve isn't possible and if it was possible, choosing that would be the most heartbreaking thing I could imagine. I would cry.....
My Reply: I could instead feel happy that she was a good mother and I could feel happy that perhaps she is up in heaven (providing that heaven really exists which I'm unsure of since I don't know whether there is an afterlife or not). So, I think you can care about someone through positive emotions alone without the negative emotions. I see no need for negative emotions when everything can be accomplished in life through the positive emotions.
I think it was a tragic mistake for negative emotions existing because, if they never existed, then I wouldn't have struggled with those horrible miserable moments that I've struggled with much of my life. As for me losing every aspect of my humanity through an eternal blissful life, I'm not sure if that would happen. Some spiritual believers claim it wouldn't happen.
Other Person's Response: My heart breaks for those people precisely because they can't see what it is they are missing.
I would not advice you avoid pain, hardship, or sorrow for a few reasons:
1. Our shared pain and hardship brings us closer, forging stronger bonds and helping us to have more meaningful relationships. Shared hardship can forge bonds so strong that virtually nothing could tear them apart. You'll have people in your life that you know would never abandon you and leave you alone. Superficial relationships built on only "happy" feelings aren't that strong and they do shatter.
Your mom may not abandon you, but it's also possible and highly probable that she sees you as a hardship regardless if she admits it. To be fair, that's not entirely a bad thing if she does. She would seek out help from her community and forge other bonds to help her because she has to support you because you're not developed enough to support yourself. Also, this isn't an insult; just your reality, and you may not be able to help it.
But you see what's happening here? Your desire at forcing happiness comes at the expense of others around you. They can hide it for a while, but it can't last forever. Even your mom does have a breaking point and, by choosing to not try and grow as much as you can, you burden her more. Nothing about your outlook on life is good. Not for you or anyone in your life. People who tell you otherwise aren't your friends, they don't care about you, and they aren't helping you even if it seems good.
Ever watch Star Wars? Yoda: "Quicker, easier, more seductive." That's what he says about the dark side. That's kinda similar to the path you're on now. Those that choose the dark side think they have very good reasons for doing so, but, in the end, it destroys them. You think you have good reasons for choosing the path you're on and, yet, many people have told you how dangerous it is and how it can and will destroy you.
And you're not finding success in it at all anyway.... "Life often isn't a happy place." You said so yourself. It's not working for you. If it was working for you, why do you seek help? If your outlook on life was healthy for you, you wouldn't have ever come here and you wouldn't have come into the personal support section. Assuming you're being honest about all this, it's pretty clear even you realize that there's a problem with what you are doing.
Fear is the mind killer (to quote the book Dune). I would advice you to try and take the offer of help you're getting and see if maybe there's a better way. A way to truly be content with your life. The highs will be higher and the lows won't hurt so much. You'll be happier, you'll enrich the lives of those around you, and make their lives better. It's certainly better than draining them of their happiness to feed your own.
My Reply: I've taken this path and have remained with it because I was highly doubtful about this idea that there is more good and beauty to life than positive emotions. From my perspective, emotions are the only mental states that can allow us to truly perceive value.
Other Person's Response: You say this and, yet, emotions are fleeting, ever changing, and completely transient. They always have been and always will be for very good biological reasons. They are simply a natural process and nothing more. You aren't getting "value" or "values" from your emotions. You're just getting well understood chemical reactions from them that you either like or don't like.
I mean, look at it this way. Some drugs feed your brain exactly what you crave (take sugar, for instance, along with heroin). By your own standards, the things you should value most because they will make you happiest are sugar, heroin, meth, or whatever. Take your pick. They release chemicals in your brain that make you feel good and the sad reality is they aren't always effective.
Other sources of happiness whether they be people, toys, movies, books, etc., those make you happy. But their effectiveness will always diminish over time. Therefore, by your value system, you should be completely addicted to drugs and sugar (which I think is also a drug. But that's another story).
But what would happen if you just took sugar and had lots of it all the time? You'd have diabetes like I do. Wanna know how horrifying living with diabetes is? I can tell you. What about drugs? Ever seen a meth head? Do I need to describe to you how terrible their lives are?
Because I understand WHY you have feelings (since I understand the biology behind it), I understand why you can't achieve your goal of happiness long term. The brain gets bored of most things that cause happiness after a while so you would have to constantly be seeking new sources of happiness. But, eventually, you would run out. Then your brain would be bored and you would get depressed. You would feel empty and not even know the source of that emptiness. The word to describe that state is melancholy.
You go down this path long enough and you would find it near impossible to ever feel happy. Things that used to make you feel happy will just be hollow and empty. I know this because I've been there. I wasn't dedicated to the path you're on, but I took my own path that led to a similar place. This state is a state of depression. You could then turn to medical science for a solution. You could try antidepressants which aren't really the best solution.
But you've already destroyed almost all other options. Or you could turn to illegal drugs which will be a problem for you. In the end, there is no happy ending on the road you are choosing. Think of me as a road sign. I'm telling you that the canyon you're trying to cross has a bridge out and you're speeding towards it so fast that, by the time you can see it for yourself, it's going to be too late.
My Reply: I already realize that, according to my value system, getting high off of drugs would bring my life the greatest joy and beauty and that said beauty and joy wouldn't last me. Nonetheless, I am still going with my personal experience here. My personal experience was something powerful and profound. Thus, I am going with the idea that emotions are the perception of value. Besides, I can still make choices such as not doing drugs through just words and ideas alone in my mind despite the fact that it can only be my emotions that allow me to perceive value.
Other Person's Response: Well, I don't recommend this, but I can only give you one answer to achieve your stated goal. Meth.
It will make you feel good and your brain will never get tired of it. Please understand I'm not recommending it. I just know it is effective. That's a fact. Shouldn't that give you pause that the most effective (and, frankly, the only way) to achieve what you say you want is an illegal drug?
Shouldn't that suggest to you that maybe your feelings aren't always right?
Edit^ You know, when I was a kid in christian school, they always said "The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to think and reason."
My Reply: My personal experience was something so powerful and profound that nothing will convince me otherwise. As for your question, this statement already implies that emotions tell us things. They tell us that certain things are good, bad, horrible, or disgusting. Haven't you ever felt that someone or something in your life was beautiful, horrible, or disgusting? This is what I mean here when I say that emotions really are the perception of value.
Other Person's Response: ? I don't disagree. Emotions do "tell us things." But that doesn't mean emotions are always right. From a biological standpoint, emotions are critical to our survival as individuals and a species.
Example 1: I had to correct myself earlier because what you said I found offensive and I was snippy with you. Julep kinda corrected me there and I also realized it and corrected myself. That was an emotional response that I should not have acted upon.
Example 2: Numerous other biological responses can be deadly. As I recall (I could be wrong here) in the presence of fire, the throat can close up to protect the body. Problem being, it can do so in such a violent way as to cause the human exposed to this to suffocate from their own bodily response. Thus, effectively killing themselves before the fire can get the job done. There are other examples. The fight or flight response to danger can often cause problems that lead to pain injury and death.
Example 3: People get fooled all the time by con artists trying to take advantage of them, steal their money, or hurt them. They make these decisions largely because someone is manipulating them by manipulating their emotional responses.
Example 4: Ever want a toy? Ever want a toy so bad you think you might die if you don't get it? You want it and you think it'll make you so happy if you get it. You're so excited. Even more so when you get it. But then you start to play with the toy and are completely disappointed. Your emotions aren't always right.
To some extent, these are experiences everyone alive have faced and we know how they work. That is why I can give you thoughtful, meaningful advice on these issues even though I'm not you and I've never had your specific experiences.
Just because you feel something doesn't mean it's right or that it's the best path. It just means you feel something. What you choose to do after that, ideally, would be after careful consideration.
My Reply: But emotions are still the only source of value in my life though and I'm not sure if there are other ways I can perceive value besides emotions.
Other Person's Response: Matt, want to know where my values come from?
I don't draw value from something that can change on any day of the week because anything so easily destroyed isn't a stable platform to build values from.
I draw value from my integrity. You could say I draw value from my honor. This is something people have drawn value from for as long as there's been written history.
I honor myself by living consistent with the things I think are worthy of my commitment. Being honest with myself. Trying to be honest with the world around me. My commitment to never lying to myself means I can't be religious. It's a personal thing and something that wouldn't work for anyone else.
Or, rather, how do I put it..... Someone else could share my value to never lying to themselves and still somehow be religious. It's not the only reason I'm not religious. But it's one core reason. I don't rape, I don't steal, I try to never lie (though, let's be honest, everyone lies). I treat myself with dignity and respect and require that of others (though, I don't get offended by insults and am willing and able to insult back. That's a complicated issue, but something to be aware of.
My values are different from a religious person's. Lets just leave it at that). I strive never to derive value from arbitrary things. So, I don't derive value from old books or emotions since both are inherently arbitrary (emotions are good, but require thought to be worth anything. At least, from my perspective). And I am always willing to admit when I'm wrong. Both to myself and everyone around me.
These are the things I think make a person honorable. And this is where my value and values come from. These values are older than I am by far and will be around long after I'm dead. So, I think they are a more reasonable foundation than my blind emotions.
My Reply: But the good and beautiful things in life are often times fleeting things. For example, a colorful rainbow would only be there for a little while before it fades away. So, the good value in our lives might work the same way. The only way to live a beautiful life might be through positive emotions which are very fleeting things just like that rainbow.
Other Person's Response: As for what you said a while back which was that some spiritual people tell you that you wouldn't loose your identity, I've kinda agonized over sharing this cause I'm not entirely sure if it would be considered ok for the personal help section....
But the problem with what they are telling you are 2 fold. First, in order for you to be happy in heaven when people you love are suffering, your identity would have to be removed. You would be a mindless zombie or you would have to lose all your memories. I mean, otherwise, how could you be happy knowing people you love, possibly even your own mother, are being tortured in hell and, yet, you are up in heaven all happy forever...
I'm not going to embed this video. It's a youtube video that explains exactly the kinda thing Im talking about. It has bad words 'n stuff in it and isn't meant for everyone even though it's safe for youtube. It's a video by a guy named Darkmatter2525 and exactly details the issue described here. I'm going to share it in good faith. I really just don't know any other way to help you see the problems with what they are telling you.
My Reply: Me feeling negative emotions about my loved ones being in hell wouldn't save them from hell. If there was nothing I could do to get them out of hell, then feeling negative emotions would be pointless and my best bet would be to feel happiness for all of eternity.
But if feeling negative emotions could get them out of hell, then I would choose to feel those negative emotions despite the fact that negative emotions can only give my life bad value. Once me feeling negative emotions gets them out of hell, I would then feel positive emotions which would give my life good value now.
As for me feeling sadness and misery in regards to other people suffering in this world, I think it's personally up to the individual whether he wants to be a happy person living the life of his dreams or a miserable person caring and helping others. It would be no different than how it's up to a person whether he wants to pursue a given career or not such as being a dentist, a teacher, and what have you.
Just because the person chooses not to doesn't mean we should ridicule that person. Likewise, just because I choose to live a happy life rather than a miserable life of helping others doesn't mean I should be treated in a negative manner either. After all, my positive emotions are the only things that make my life something good and positive. So, why should I be subjected to a miserable life that only makes my life bad and miserable?
Other Person's Response: But life isn't compatible with hedonism since pleasure is something so fleeting. So, you must live your life like Spock.
My Reply: That's what really gets to me since this life imposes upon my personal religion with all of its hardships and misfortunes. I really wish life was a blissful utopia.
Other Person's Response: But having control and dominance over your emotions should give your life a whole new set of values.
My Reply: I'm not sure about that. Just because I would doesn't dismiss the idea that emotions are the perception of value that give a person's life value. People who have control and dominance over their emotions are fooled into dismissing their emotions as trivial when, in reality, they are the very source of value to our lives.
Other Person's Response: Positive emotions are not some divine perception or divine inner light. They are nothing more than a child's hedonistic desires.
My Reply: I vehemently disagree no matter what anyone says to me. My brain, in a spiritual/mystical universe, is a receiver that receives divine energy from the universe and I am powered up and imbued with mystical, divine life force. That mystical life force takes on a divine mental state known as a positive emotional state.
Me being powered up by this divine energy is like how an appliance in your home becomes powered up with electricity. If that appliance were to be unplugged, then it would die.
I'm not saying I would physically die as a person. All I'm saying is that the positive values in my life would die off as long as I don't receive that divine spiritual energy. So, I have a divine energy source that keeps the perceived beauty and joy alive in my life.
Other Person's Response: Words are very powerful things. I think they, alone, are enough to bring a person's life value. You don't need emotions to give your life value.
My Reply: Again, I disagree and I am going to give an example here. Songs have two aspects to them which would be the lyrics and the emotion. If you just had the lyrics without the emotion, then those words would be spoken like a machine. These words need something more in order for them to possess true beauty, joy, and greatness. They require a profoundly beautiful, joyful, divine life force to them. This life force breathes the power of joy, beauty, and greatness to these lyrics. That life force would be the positive emotions. Lyrics also require the force of darkness in order for them to possess the true power of misery, despair, hate, and suffering.
That force of darkness would be the negative emotions. But if you had the emotion without the lyrics or let's pretend the lyrics were gibberish, then those songs would still possess the power of beauty, joy, misery, suffering, etc. This proves here that it's about the emotion and not just the words alone. If we as human beings lived our lives by words alone without our emotions, then we would be like droids. We would be dead on the inside and words, our character, intellect, and morality alone would not bring our lives any real value. Our emotions are that higher power or force within us that brings the value to life in our lives.
Other Person's Response: But what about character development though? I think you just need to develop as a person and then you should come to realize there is more value to life than our emotions.
My Reply: Character development, by definition, is where a person perceives more value to life than his emotions. But if there really is no more value to life than our emotions and emotions are the only way we can perceive value, then there would be no such thing as character development. Rather, we would just be having people deluding themselves into believing there's more value to life than emotions. People who believe there's more value to life are already in denial because they claim their emotions aren't any real perception of value. So, they could also be in denial in believing there's more value to life than emotions.
Other Person's Response: I, too, find your worldview very offensive because you are saying that the lives of depressed, genius artists were empty and were nothing beautiful.
My Reply: This is just a claim I'm making. I'm claiming there's no more value to life than our emotions and I'm making all these supporting arguments. It would be no different than if I claimed that you can't have a healthy relationship as long as you live with an intolerant wife or husband and, from there, made all these supporting arguments for that claim.
Other Person's Response: Intellect really does allow us to experience real beauty and joy. Your life's experience and knowledge is just limited is all. Imagine a person who was born blind and I explained to him the color blue. He wouldn't be able to comprehend blue since he's never seen blue. It's an experience he's never had. But that doesn't mean blue doesn't exist just because this blind person hasn't experienced it. You are like that blind person since you've never experienced any real beauty and joy through your intellect. But that doesn't mean intellectually experienced beauty and joy doesn't exist.
My Reply: I can only hope you're right.
Other Person's Response: I don't care what your worldview says. I can assure you that positive emotions are nothing compared to my moral and intellectual based values. Positive emotions are nothing more than just pleasant feelings.
My Reply: Here is an exercise I would want other people to perform. This would actually be a great example for people who take psychedelic drugs. If a person took a psychedelic drug and experienced the most profoundly beautiful bliss of his life, then he might report that it was a profoundly beautiful experience that was out of this world.
If that same person later struggled with the worst misery of his life and did something with his life such as being there for his family or contributing to the world despite that horrible misery, then he might report that this was also a profoundly beautiful experience in his life even though he was unable to feel positive emotions.
I would want that person to actually think twice here. In other words, I would want him to compare the two mental states. If he pays close attention, then he should come to realize that mental state #2 (his intellectual/moral based values) is literally nothing compared to mental state #1 (the profoundly beautiful bliss he felt from being on that psychedelic drug).
Once he discovers this, then this should reveal that positive emotions are the real perception of value while our intellect, character, and morality alone is not the real perception of value. But if he still says to me that mental state #2 is the real perception of value in his life and that it's something far greater than mental state #1, then I have no way of knowing whether he is delusional and in denial or if he really is telling the truth. I am not inside his mind and I can't experience what he's experiencing to find out.
As for me, I have payed attention to my mental states and, for me, my positive emotions are the real perception of beauty and joy while my intellect is not. One last thing here. I don't think that both mental state #1 and mental state #2 are the real perception of value. Only one mental state can be the real perception of value and I think it's mental state #1 (the positive emotions along with the negative emotions since they allow us to perceive bad value).