This matches my experience: I have, at various times, found techniques that I know would make me happy, but then I find myself just not using them. Right now, I have available to me some mental motions for reaching inside myself and accessing a source of happiness, but it would require a bit of an active effort, and I find that just being neutral is already good enough, so I can't be bothered. It seems like, despite us (me included) imagining that we would like to be happy, that is not actually the thing that our brains are optimizing for.

> Consider this: what if I told you that people don't actually want to be happy?

> Me!2016: Wait, you can't be serious. People clearly do pursue happiness, I see evidence of this all the time. That's what I've been doing for as many as 10 or 15 years. It's also a part of your memories, so certainly you understand.

> Current Me: Ahaha. That's exactly the part which makes me feel like I've "run out of cynicism". See, the human activity you describe as "pursuing happiness", from my current perspective, seems to be in the same category as other common activities such as "acquiring education", "helping people", "talking to friends" (or should I say "talking" to "friends") and so on. Which is to say, people do them in a way which is outwardly convincing enough to allow everyone to keep up the social pretenses. This is way different from what you'd see people do if they actually cared. The simple matter of fact is that the human brain is a kludge, and people are puppets dancing on the strings of a mad puppetmaster. Almost anything they claim to be doing isn't for real. This is true even when they themselves know about this. The best you can do is gradually nudge yourself in the right direction, gaining new footholds in consistency and consequentialism painstakingly and precariously. [...]

> My models of improving happiness have enough gears, and I have seen these gears turn enough times, and I have enough justified meta confidence in my ability to build models. I have felt levels of happiness which are far above the upper limit of your mental scale. I know exactly how to be happy. And yet I find myself not consistently applying my own methods. Do you realize how impossibly mind-twisting this situation is? What happens in reality is that I enjoy and see great value in happiness when it happens, but when it doesn't I only work on it grudgingly. It's like with exercise, which is great but I'm rarely enthusiastic about starting it. The problem is not that I don't value happiness enough. The problem is rather that there is no gut-level motivational gradient to get actual happiness. There are gradients for all sorts of things which are crappy, fake substitutes. Once you know the taste of the real thing, they aren't fun at all. But you still end up optimizing for them, because that's what your brain does.
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