Lectures Watched
Since January 1, 2014
2400+ courses starting
in Feb-Mar 2019
Peruse my collection of 275
influential people of the past.
View My Class Notes via:
Receive My Class Notes via E-Mail:


Contact Me via E-Mail:
edward [at] tanguay.info
Notes on video lecture:
Three Theories on the History of Happiness
Choose from these words to fill the blanks below:
scientific, point, equilibrium, agriculture, psychology, necessarily, alienation, correlation, suffering, disease, bliss, urban, spiritual, annihilation, misuse, alleviate, romantic, fantasies, cruelty, better, child, increased, mechanistic, diet, touch, famine, dogmatic, collective, Africa, less, plague, Islam, convincing, 19th, farm, dark, transformed, miserable, enslaved, short, catastrophe, cautious, European, industrial, worse
much of humankind today enjoy a wealth that used to be the stuff of                    and fairy tales
science and the                      revolution have given humans superhuman powers and practically limitless energy
many aspects of human life have been completely                       
the social order
daily life
but are we happier?
did the wealth that humankind accumulated over the last few centuries translate into human happiness
do the seemingly inexhaustible stores of energy open up for us inexhaustible stores of           ?
did the 70,000 years of human changes and revolutions make the world a              place to live in?
if the answer to this question is in the negative
what was the            of all these changes?
historians rarely ask these questions
e.g. if the rise of            made the Egyptians more pleased with their lives?
did the European collapse of empires in              make people there happier or more miserable?
what is the purpose of all these changes if it does not make people happier?
few have studied in a                      way the long-term history of happiness
but we all have some vague conception of the history of happiness
the more power humans gain over their environment, the more happier they are
human capabilities have                    throughout history
since humans usually use their power to                    misery and fulfill their aspiration, we must be happier having more power than, say, our Medieval ancestors, and they, in turn, must have been happier than stone age hunters and gatherers
not very                      since:
more power and new kinds of behaviors and skills do not                        make life better and happier
e.g. when humans learned how to         , the collective power of humankind to shape the environment increased
but the living conditions of individual humans was in many respects           
peasants had to work harder than foragers and received in return a less nutritious diets
far more exposed to                than their hunter and gatherer ancestors
e.g. spread of                  empires increased the collective power of humankind
but this was hardly good news for the millions of Africans who found themselves                  by the Europeans
given the human tendency to              power, it seems very naive to believe that there is a direct correlation between power and happiness
more power leads to          happiness
as humans gained more and more power, this created a cold and                        world which is ill-suited to the real needs of homo sapians
evolution molded our minds and bodies for the life of hunters and gatherers
the transition first to                        and then to industry, condemned human beings to live unnatural lives that cannot give full expression to our inherent instincts and cannot satisfy our deepest yearnings and needs
life may be easier today, but nothing in this comfortable life in the            middle class can approach the wild excitement by a forager band on a mammoth hunt
this is, of course, a very                  view of happiness
this romantic insistence on seeing the          side of every invention and development in history is as                  in the inevitability of progress
it may be true that we are today out of            with our inner hunter and gatherer, but it is not all bad
e.g. over the last two centuries, modern medicine has decreased            mortality from about 33% to less than 5%
surely this increased the collective happiness of human beings
only since the scientific revolution have increases in power led to increases in happiness
until the scientific revolution, there was no clear                        between power and happiness
medieval people may indeed have been more                    than our hunter/gatherer ancestors
but throughout the scientific revolution in the last 500 years, humans have increasingly learned to use their power wisely to create more                      happiness
modern medicine including vaccines
steep decline in violence
recent disappearance of international wars and their likelihood
elimination of large-scale             
but this, too, is an oversimplification
this view bases its optimistic assessment on the modern age, and so it is a small sample of years
people only began to gradually enjoy the benefits of modern medicine in the middle of the          century
the significant drop in child mortality is a 20th century phenomenon
mass famines continued to              much of humanity until the middle of the 20th century
international wars became rare only since 1945 largely thanks to the new threat of complete                          by nuclear weapons
so even if the last 50 years have been an unprecedented golden age for humanity, it is a very            time, and it is too early to know if this represents a fundamental shift in the currents of history, or an ephemeral wave of good fortune
even if the last half century was a golden age, it may be that during this era we sow the seeds for future                       
we may be disturbing the                        of our planet
it may be that we are experiencing a number of good years or decades or centuries, but that we will be paying a high price for this behavior in the future
another reason to be                  about this optimistic view of modern happiness is our treatment of animals
we can congratulate ourselves on the modern accomplishment of homo sapiens only if we ignore the fate of other animals on the planet
much of the material wealth that we enjoy today was accumulated at the expense of laboratory animals, factory cows, and conveyor belt chickens
billions of animals over the last 200 years have been subjected to a regime of industrial exploitation whose                has no precedent in the annals of history
seen from an animal rights activists point of view, modern agriculture is one of the greatest crimes in history which has caused massive                    for animals living on this planet
when we come to evaluate global happiness, if can only see it as a success if we only include homo sapiens
problems with all these views
they consider happiness largely as a product of material factors such as your health, your         , and your wealth
according to this approach, if people are richer and healthier, they must also be happier
many philosophers, religious thinkers, and poets throughout history have indicated that social, ethical and                    factors have as great an impact on our happiness as material conditions
it is clear that material conditions today are much better than in the past
but if happiness does not depend only on material conditions, then it does not necessarily mean that we are happier today as people were in the past even though they had inferior material conditions
we know, for instance, that many people suffer today from                      and meaninglessness in their lives

Spelling Corrections:


Ideas and Concepts:

Rhetorical question of the day, via this morning's History of Humankind class: "A large percentage of humans today enjoy a wealth that was unthinkable throughout history, the stuff of fantasies and fairy tales. The global economy has grown exponentially, science and the industrial revolution have given us superhuman tools and powers to investigate other planets, communicate around the world in seconds, and cure the human body of otherwise fatal diseases. We enjoy practically limitless energy resources, and many aspects of human life have been completely transformed:our daily lives, our social orders, the way we interact, even our human psychology. But are we happier? Has the wealth that humankind has accumulated over the last few centuries translated into human happiness? Do the seemingly inexhaustible stores of energy open up for us inexhaustible stores of bliss? Have the last 70,000 years of human changes and revolutions made the world a better place to live in?"
The Context of History and Our Extended Human Family
How Walking Upright Led to Better Social and Cooperative Skills
The Importance of Fire and Cooking
Why Did Other Human Species Become Extinct?
The Cognitive Revolution and the Beginning of Human History
The Language of Homo Sapiens
How Fictive Language Enabled Larger Social Groups
The Power of Imagined Realities
How the Ability to Tell Stories Enabled Humans to Cooperate in Massive Groups
The Cognitive Revolution and the Variety of Human Communities
Spiritual Beliefs of Early Humans
Politics and Warfare of Pre-Agricultural Societies
45,000 Years Ago: Human's Decimation of Australia's Large Mammals
14,000 BC: Human Migration to the Americas
Agriculture: The Good and the Bad
10,000 BC: Agricultural Revolution
The Origins of Agriculture
The Code of Hammurabi and Other Imagined Realities
Inter-Subjective Reality and Romantic Consumerism
The Human Brain's Outsourcing of Mathematics
Unjust and Imagined Hierarchies
Imagined Hierarchies in History
Culturally Defined Gender
Three Theories of Gender Domination
The Direction of Humankind: Global Unity
The Essence of Money
The History of Money
The Historical Definition of Empire
The Relationship between Science, European Imperialism and Capitalism
Science, Capitalism and European Imperialism
Columbus: Last Man of the Middle Ages, Vespucci: First Man of the Modern Age
European Empires, Science, and Capitalism
How Capitalism is Based on Trust in the Future
On the Interdependence of Science and Capitalism
How Capitalism Enabled Small European Countries to Explore and Conquer the World
The Relationship Between Capitalism, the Slave Trade, and Free Market Forces
Industrialization, Energy and Raw Materials
The Second Agricultural Revolution and its Effect on Animal Treatment
The Ethics of Capitalism and Consumerism
On Limitless Energy Resources and the Hegemony of Modern Time Schedules
State/Market vs. Family/Community
Humankind's Rigid and Violent Past, and Flexible and Peaceful Present
Reasons for Our Current Unprecedented Era of International Peace
Three Theories on the History of Happiness
Psychological and Biological Happiness
Measuring Human Happiness
The Future of Cyborgs and Robots
What Do We Want to Want?