Saturday, 30 July 2011

Hypothetical happiness gadget!

From the second half of the last century, there has been a trend toward human perfectionism. There have been movements such as "Transhumanism" and emerging sciences such as "Cognitive Science". The goal of Transhumanism is to enhance human intellectual, physical, psychological capacities among other thing. In short, its goal is to transform man into superman. One goal of CogSci is to understand the mind and its processes, and answer questions such as, how does brain shape mind?what are the neural correlates of  mental processes? how can we model these processes?
Other sciences, and other movements are still on, but the focus on the inside is now more intense. We have learned a lot about our surroundings. But that's not the case I'm intending to discuss. A reason for the recent interest in the inner, mental life, is that we have understood, no matter how much we learn about the outside, and invent different tools and machines to do our work and facilitate our lives, we are not necessarily happier.
Now, Transhumanism can help us live a longer, healthier and a more improved life. Still, it doesn't guarantee our happiness. This is when CogSci comes in handy. It's not very unrealistic to imagine a day when we find the neural correlates of happiness in the brain and can become happy just by pushing a button(or even just by wanting it). A perfect body, longer life, higher IQ, and happiness altogether. Seems ideal!
Now, the question is..that even if we have the option to consciously make ourselves happy, would we be happy? There is a conflict between happiness and being aware of it, i.e. once you think about it, it disappears. Now, how can you consciously decide to be happy and be happy?
The other question is that, even if there isn't a conflict, knowing that the reason we are feeling happy is pushing a button or choosing an option, would we still feel happy, what I mean is that, could happiness arise simply out of neural activity?