Anna Gregoline | April 14, 2005
For what qualities or achievements would you feel justified in calling an individual successful?

Kris Weberg | April 14, 2005
Wealth, influence, fame, and happiness in descending order of importance.

John E Gunter | April 14, 2005
Happiness, family and health.


Scott Hardie | April 15, 2005
Kris's answer. It's how society defines it and I have no reason to quibble; it's a useful term when used that way. The dictionary says: "Having achieved wealth or eminence."

That's not to say that success is a necessary result of having lived a good life, which is, I think, what the question is getting at. I don't get paid a fortune, and I certainly don't have much family or good health, but I consider myself successful for having enduring the droughts of my life and willed myself into a position that I love. But if I weren't me, I wouldn't call myself successful by any means. :-)

E. M. | April 16, 2005
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John E Gunter | April 18, 2005
You'll notice the question contained, 'would you feel.' Now unless I read Anna's statement wrong, I'm speaking from what I would consider success. Which is what I hope how everyone would answer! I'm not so sure about Kris' answer, whether it's how he feels or from an academic standpoint.

But my answer was what I considered success. Course, everyone else's mileage may vary. :-D


Scott Hardie | April 18, 2005
True, I know we're talking about opinion. And usually I'm one to step up and propose an alternative standard than the one society uses, because it's the hypothetical that interests me. But in this case, my opinion happens to agree with society's definition. And I suspect it's the same for Kris. :-)

As long as we're on the subject of words: While I disagree with most of Dave Sim's hostile misogyny (link) he has gotten me to bristle at use of the word "feel" when associated with an opinion. What you "think" about something has merit, because the implication is that you have considered various factors and made a logical conclusion that can be agreed upon by others. Who cares what you "feel" about something, since your emotion is not necessarily derived from anything except your personal experience, and can be of no use to others? But as Steve Dunn sometimes reminds us, feeling influences a lot more of our "rational" judgment than we admit it does. And besides, in the end, it's just a word.

Anna Gregoline | April 18, 2005
I use the words "I feel" far more often than I use the words "I think," because that's where my personality is seated - in emotion. I'm sure it's just a difference in how we all respond to the world.

Kris Weberg | April 18, 2005
Scott, I think that the use of "feel" actually speaks to something you've said in another discussion recently. It acknowledges that we often temper or even change our own opinions because we want to be socially accepted. That says to me that our desires, our feelings, can't be so easily separated from thought. Does anyone really think without feeling at the same time? And what is the difference between a thought and a feeling?

Scott Hardie | April 18, 2005
Exactly. I was thinking the same thing since I wrote one comment right after the other, saying that what one "feels" is essentially useless information to others, but then explaining to Erik that how I "feel" influences my judgment. I believe that in an idealistic sense, we should strive to eliminate feelings as much as possible from our judgments... but to eliminate hidden feelings, we must strive to become aware of them, and that effort can, in effect, make them stronger. If I can't stop myself from being illogical because of what my heart says, I at least want to be aware of it.

Erik Bates | April 18, 2005
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Scott Hardie | April 18, 2005
No. I'm home sick today, goofing off on my site between naps. What I should be doing is finishing the new FIN post. :-)

Erik Bates | April 18, 2005
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Erik Bates | April 18, 2005
[hidden by request]

Kris Weberg | April 18, 2005
I wouldn't want to eliminate feelings -- without them, the biases and opinions that drive us to examine information to start with would be gone. Curiosity is a feeling, but without it, no ideas would be possible.

To then claim that the resulting idea is somehow divorced from the feeling that led to it and influenced its formation seems like a falsification. At best, you end up with a logic that doesn't resemble reality; at worst, with actual practices that do harm rather than good.

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