Daniel Kahneman on theories of happiness

Around 48:50 LF is talking about the existential philosophers and asks DK “From the perspective of the two selves, what do you think of the existentialist philosophy of life, so trying to really emphasise the experiencing self as the best way to live life?”

DK points out that this is the emphasis in Buddhism. You have just got to experience things and not to evaluate and not to pass judgement and not to keep score.A life in which people don’t score themselves … it feels that it would be a better life.

Then he explains

“I got out of that field because I could not solve the problem. And that was because my intuition was, that the experiencing self, that is reality. But then it turns out that what people want for themselves, is not experience. They want memories and they want a good story about their life. And so you cannot have a theory of happiness that doesn’t correspond to what people want for themselves. When I realized that this was where things were going I really sort of left the field of research.”

At the very end of the recording LF quotes DK

“Intelligence is not only the ability to reason. It is also the ability to find relevant memory and to deploy attention when needed.”