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Additional Information
 

Anger

Anger signifies that you are experiencing an injustice (e.g., your child stole money from you).

Anxiety

Anxiety signifies that you are feeling out of control (e.g., you don't know what you will do for a living, you don't know how to  manage your chaotic family). Anxiety is often a response to an unspecified situation, as opposed to fear, which typically is a response to a real danger which you can name and identify.
Hear an answer to an email about anxiety q5.

Depression

Depression or sadness signify a loss (e.g., loss of a friendship, loss of a job, loss of your own good self-image, loss of a  treasured possession).

Emotion

Emotions are lightning-like estimates of whether something is for or against you. They are the result of  the ideas you hold. Emotions allow you to respond quickly based on past experience and conclusions.
    Although emotions can be overpowering, the ideas and conclusions you hold which they result from can be wrong. They may be automatic but the ideas you hold which generate the emotion are not automatically correct. They are determined by the thoughts,  actions, and evaluations you have chosen to make over the course of your life. For more information Emotions

Envy

The emotion of envy is not the same thing as jealousy.
    ``Bill got a raise? I should have gotten a raise too. I'll just have to work harder this next year." The jealous person often wants to rise up to the level of some other person. He is satisfied if he is able to gain some particular thing he wants. This does not mean it has to come at the expense of another person.
    ``I should have gotten a raise too. Bill isn't so great. I'll show him. I'll tell the boss about the time he came in late for a meeting. Then no one will get a raise." The envious person wants to drag the other person down to their level. He is satisfied even if no one is able to have what they want.
     Jealousy says ``I wish I could have it." Envy says ``I wish you didn't have it." Notice how jealousy focuses on obtaining a value  whereas envy focuses on destroying a value.

Fear

Anxiety signifies that you are feeling out of control (e.g., you don't know what you will do for a living, you don't know how to  manage your chaotic family). Anxiety is often a response to an unspecified situation, as opposed to fear, which typically is a response to a real danger which you can name and identify.

Guilt

Guilt signifies that you have acted against your own values (e.g., you lied to your spouse).

Happiness

As an emotion in response to a single event, happiness signifies that you have achieved an important value (e.g., Tara Lapinski's radiant joy when she landed her triple jumps and her screams of delight when she won the Olympic Gold Medal).
    As a long term psychological state, happiness is the emotional response to a successful state of life in which you achieve fundamental values (not whims). This is why ``valuing" skills are important. In the header of the section of pages labeled ``Happiness", happiness is described as a state of non-contradictory joy which, in part, means a joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction. It is not the joy of escaping from your mind. This is joy, as opposed to a moments relief from an otherwise long term state of terror.

Honesty

Ayn Rand's thinking on honesty is especially useful in the context of finding happiness. She said that ``honesty is not a social duty, nor a  sacrifice for the sake of others, but the most profoundly selfish virtue man can practice...." Think of honesty as the refusal to fake reality, the refusal to pretend that facts are other than they are. For more information read Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand

Humor

"Humor is the denial of metaphysical importance to that which you laugh at. The classic example: you see a very snooty, very well dressed  dowager walking down the street, and then she slips on a banana peel. ... What's funny about it? It's the contrast of the woman's pretensions to reality. She acted very grand, but reality  undercut it with a plain banana peel. That's the denial of the metaphysical validity or importance of the pretensions of that woman.

"Therefore, humor is a destructive element - which is quite all right, but its value and its morality depend on what it is that you are laughing at. If what you are laughing at is the evil in the world (provided that you take it seriously, but occasionally you permit yourself to laugh at it), that's fine. [To] laugh at that which is good, at heroes, at values, and above all at yourself [is] monstrous. ... The worst evil that you can do, psychologically, is to laugh at yourself. That means spitting in your own face."

Ayn Rand, question period following Lecture  11 of Leonard Peikoff's series "The Philosophy of Objectivism" (1976).

Independence

Ayn Rand's definition of independence is especially useful in the context of finding happiness. It is ``one's acceptance of the  responsibility of forming one's own judgments and of living by the work of one's own mind...." as opposed to the ability to physically exist on a deserted island. Think of independence as a primary orientation to reality, not to other men. For more information read Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand

Integrity

Ayn Rand's thinking on integrity is especially useful in the context of finding happiness. She said that ``Integrity does not consist of  loyalty to one's subjective whims, but of loyalty to rational principles." For more information read Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand

Jealousy

The emotion of jealousy is not the same thing as envy .<=for more information

Justice

Ayn Rand's thinking on justice is especially useful in the context of finding happiness. She said that ``When one evaluates the nature or actions of inanimate objects, the criterion of judgment is determined by the particular purpose for which one evaluates them. But how does one determine a criterion for evaluating the character and actions  of men, in view of the fact that men possess the faculty of volition? What science can provide an objective criterion of evaluation in regard to volitional matters? Ethics. Now, do I need a concept to  designate the act of judging a man's character and/or actions exclusively on the basis of all the factual evidence available, and of evaluating it by means of an objective moral criterion? Yes. That concept is `Justice'." Think of justice as rationality in the evaluation of men. For more information read Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand

Life

Life is not the same thing as existence. A rock exists. The existence of inanimate matter is unconditional. Such matter can change its form  but does not cease to exist. A rock can be crushed but its components continue to exist as inanimate matter.

But a living organism can continue existing as a living organism only if it follows a specific course of action. A rose, a lion, or a human need to act differently to survive. They must act according to their nature. A lion can not survive on sun and water, like a rose does. A man can not survive by chasing down a prey, killing it with his bare hands, and eating it raw.

Man needs his faculty of reason to survive. The extent that he lives by reason as opposed to force is the extent to which he lives  like a human rather than an animal. To say that life is the reward of virtue means life as a human, not as an animal. Life as an animal does not lead to happiness.

Perfection

Perfection is the best of the possible. If you believe that perfection means to have the eyesight of an eagle, and the memory of a computer,  then perfection is impossible to man. And to attempt to achieve such a perfection would be irrational. The same holds for moral perfection. To set standards that demand a person never make an honest error is  also irrational. But as long as you recognize man's nature, moral perfection is possible to man.

Pride

Pride is the process of creating the values of character that make life worth living. It is the commitment to achieve one's own moral perfection. Think of pride as moral ambitiousness. For more information read Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand

Productiveness

Productiveness is the process of creating material values. Whether a club or a computer, bearskin or brain surgery, the values required for  man's survival must be conceived and then created. For man, who's means of survival is not force but reason, the only alternative to creativity is parasitism. Think of productiveness as the adjustment of  nature to man. For more information read Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand

Purpose

Purpose is one of the supreme and ruling values of your life. It is your choice of which other values you attempt to achieve.

Rationality

Ayn Rand's definition of rationality is especially useful in the context of finding happiness. It is ``The recognition and acceptance of  reason as one's only source of knowledge, one's only judge of values and one's only guide to action." Rationality includes never accepting the ``I wish" in place of the ``It is" and never attempting to get  away with a contradiction. For more information read Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand

Reason

Reason is one of the supreme and ruling values of your life. It is your only tool of knowledge; as opposed to hunch, wish, dream, drug trance.

Sadness

Sadness or depression signify a loss (e.g., loss of a friendship, loss of a job, loss of your own good self-image, loss of a  treasured possession).

Self-esteem

Self-esteem is one of the supreme and ruling values of your life. It is your inviolate certainty that your mind is competent to think and you as a person are worthy of happiness, worthy of living.
    What happens if a person has chosen to live an irrational life? They still must have a sense of self-worth to function in  society, so in defense of their failure they invent defense values upon which to base a psudo-self-esteem, a faked sense of competency. But such a mental policy will only permit a person to experience a short term escape from an otherwise miserable life. It will not help a person achieve happiness.
 Happiness and Self-Esteem

Selfishness

Selfishness is concern with one's own interests. The error most people make is to think that it is in their interest to follow any whim that crosses their mind. If you wanted to raise your child to have a life full of happiness, you would not teach them how to rob banks. Bank robbery is not in your interest and therefore is not a selfish act.

 The key here is that only rational ideas and actions are truly in your interest. The rational interests of men do not clash. According to Ayn Rand, ``There is no conflict of interest among men who do not  desire the unearned, who do not make sacrifices nor accept them, who deal with one another as traders, giving value for value." Read The Virtue of Selfishness and  The Rational Basis™ of Selfishness

Values

In discussing values, one must keep in mind several questions. What are they? Why does man need them? To whom is something a value? For what  reason is something a value?

A value is something that you act to gain or keep. You need values to live. The individual exerting the effort is the one to whom something is a value. It is a value because it furthers your life.

Technically, if you want something irrational, then that something is merely a short range desire, not a genuine value. Something irrational may satisfy the whim of a man living like an animal, but will not further the life of a man who seeks to  live in a civilized manner. Happiness requires that your values are rational.

What happens if a person has chosen to live an irrational life? Such a person still must have a sense of self-worth to function in society, so in defense of their failure they invent defense values upon which to base a psudo-self-esteem, a faked sense of competency. But such a mental policy will only permit a person to experience a short term escape from an otherwise miserable life. It will not help a person achieve happiness. For more information read Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand

"The three cardinal values of the Objectivist ethics ... are: Reason, Purpose, Self-esteem, with their three corresponding virtues: Rationality, Productiveness, Pride."-Ayn Rand

Some additional important values are a productive career, romance, friendship and hobbies. Achieving these values requires rationality and takes effort and skill. Two types of skills you can use are thinking skills and valuing skills.

Virtues

A virtue is the intellectual achievement of recognizing certain facts of morality, and acting accordingly. Notice that virtues involve both thinking and acting. There is only one basic virtue - rationality, and all other virtues are various forms of it. Some other virtues are: independence, integrity, honesty, justice, productiveness and pride.

Why be virtuous? Because of its reward, life (as opposed to mere existence) - and happiness is the goal and reward of life. See also virtue and happiness.

Whim

A whim is a desire experienced by a person who does not know and does not care to discover its cause

 
 
 
 
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Published Work
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Dr. Kenner has written many articles and courses

 
About the Radio Show
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About Dr. Kenner's talk show The Rational Basis of Happiness®. Hear it online and on these radio stations.
 
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Recommended Reading
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Dr. Kenner reviews books and audio she recommends on parenting, therapy, self help, career, romance, happiness and other topics.
 
Definitions
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Explanations of various points discussed in this web site
 
Dealing With Terrorism
Osama
Sometimes the way we cope with terrorism in our own minds and the way we deal with it socially have the opposite effect we intend