Are we naturally selfish, or compassionate like rats and baboons?
Being happy is about self feeling good.
Meaning is derived from contributing to others in a bigger way.
And a life of meaning seems to be healthier than a “happy” one.
The unity [of self that] we experience, which allows us legitimately to talk of “I”, is a result of the Ego Trick — the remarkable way in which a complicated bundle of mental events, made possible by the brain, creates a singular self, without there being a singular thing underlying it.
Human bodies recognize at the molecular level that not all happiness is created equal … The sense of well-being derived from “a noble purpose” may provide cellular health benefits, whereas “simple self-gratification” may have negative effects, despite an overall perceived sense of happiness, researchers found.
“… understanding why so many religious rituals contain an element of suffering, and why extreme rituals persist for centuries.”
Taking part in extreme, painful rituals increases prosocial behaviours and attitudes, including making people more charitable.