Cute kitty!

Fist of all, let me apologize for the animation here. I usually dislike animated GIFs, as they tend to distract from what I’d really like to focus on – but this one is just too cute, and fits the subject somewhat.

I wanted to write a short follow-up to my previous post on learning, lies and trust, with an observation about happiness. Given that this previous post was already growing pretty long, I decided a new post was in order – let’s hope this one will be shorter1.

The model I laid out for learning in my previous post, summarized very briefly, states that we learn in order to better our chances for survival. It also includes that learning is partially based on truths, of which we don’t know whether they are or are not constructed by other people in order to manipulate us – in other words, we don’t know whether what we know is true or false, a truth or a lie. All we know is that it works.

But really, the above view is somewhat inaccurate. While our very early learning as a child is pretty much centered around survival – such as learning what’s safe to eat, learning not to put one’s hand on the stove, and so forth – for most of us2, survival isn’t the prime motivator for our actions anymore.

Rather, individual aspects of the greater goal of survival move to the foreground, while we consider others to be dealt with. Food and water are things we tend to think of as “just being there”.

What isn’t necessarily “just there” is our health – both physical and mental. The pursuit of survival turns into a pursuit of physical and mental health. When you have secured both, why do you still learn new things?

I suspect I already answered that in the previous post, but feel this point was somewhat lost in the barrage of words.

  1. No, at this point of writing I don’t usually know how long posts grow. I do reread post before publishing them, but don’t actually follow any structure rigidly laid out in advance. I like to surprise myself, I suppose. []
  2. At least most of us privileged enough to be wasting time reading and writing blogs. []