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How can people be truly happy during the death of loved ones and in times of despair?

Is the world a happy or sad place only depending on your outlook?

closed as primarily opinion-based by virmaior, Swami Vishwananda, Keelan Nov 11 '16 at 9:24

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  • Consider en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depressive_realism. If they are right, then yes, optimism is a delusion. But it may be an adaptive, or even an absolutely necessary, delusion. – jobermark Nov 10 '16 at 20:56
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    By the dictionary definition, no. Delusion is "an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument". Optimist does not have to "firmly maintain", only hope. – Conifold Nov 11 '16 at 0:58
  • It seems that you're asking for our opinions, which does not fit in our format. You can read more about it on the tour and in the help center. If you can edit your question to make it fit, please do so and we can reopen it. If you have any questions about the working of this site, Philosophy Meta is the place to ask. – Keelan Nov 11 '16 at 9:24
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    So this site is more about asking question with a true or false answer? E.g. is Alan Watts dead? For a philosophy section that seems a bit bland. – user24113 Nov 11 '16 at 10:33
  • @user24113 metaphysicians, hermeneutics and solicitors of agreement with gossip, opinion and sentiment abound at any philosophy watering hole - don't get discouraged, keep asking questions and keep thinking. Their kind are legion, however, love of wisdom rejects false arguments, so don't take no guff from no one and don't let the bastards grind ya down with their confusion of respect for obtaining knowledge and merely advancing an agenda or world-view ;) – Mr. Kennedy Nov 11 '16 at 15:41
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Emotions are funny things. Funny odd, not funny ha-ha.

How can people be truly happy during the death of loved ones and in times of despair?

How? Easy, same mechanisms by which people have any emotion. We just don't have an adequate causal account to say or know much more than that.

What does "truly" add to being happy? Is the being or the happiness any less sincere if it is motivated by what others consider tragic? How would you verify a distinction between happiness and true happiness? By agreeing with the "truly happy" persons claim that they are truly happy? This is not verification of a knowledge claim. This is simply agreement with sentiment, opinion, perspective and such. The self simply cannot be rationally assessed. An individual can feel "truly happy" and sincerely state they are truly happy and that individual can even know that it is "true to them" that they are truly happy at the passing of a loved one, but self-knowledge of what is "true to you" is distinct from empirical knowledge of what is. Note as well that "truly" is an adverb and what exactly is it adding when happy is not a verb? Certainly adverbs can modify adjectives like 'happy', 'sad', etc... but I would posit that "truly" adds some grammatical confusion to "happy" or otherwise is just an emphasis like "really happy" or an unecessarily overstated qualifier like "sincerely happy" (Do we have any reason to be skeptical of this sincere happiness?)

Can you be happy and despair at the same time? Certainly. There is no law of non-contradiction governing the emotions.

The death of a loved one is not necessarily a time for despair. For some death is a release. For all we know there's just composting after death but for all we do know, after you die it might just be amazing. That said, if you are grieving the loss of a loved one, please accept my sincere regards and may they rest in peace.

Is the world a happy or sad place only depending on your outlook?

"The concept of world-view, which was first encountered among the Greek sceptics, is substantially broader in meaning than the concept of philosophy, moreover it has several different meanings."*

The world is neither happy nor sad. The world just is. A worldview* that the world is happy is just that: a view of the world you fit the world to. If, however, your outlook were enough to determine how the world is, then a mirage and an oasis would have epistemic and ontological equivalence. They do not.

As for your title, optimism is a mood. One can be an optimist at breakfast, an existentialist for tea, a nihilist at lunch, a pessimist over drinks and a hedonist at dinner with equal epistemic value: none. Optimism can dispose you to being deluded, but optimism is not necessarily delusion.

“Moods are not to be confused with emotions. Moods will dispose you to having an emotion. Certain moods you're more likely to get angry than others, as we all know, but emotion is not the same as mood. Emotions, I think, always have to do with agitated forms of desire. Whenever you're in an emotional state, you have some sort of agitated desire. So, emotions are fairly special -- I am not always in some sort of emotional state or other, but I think I am always in some mood or other.” - John Rogers Searle

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