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Attached in the sense where one feels happiness when "my team" wins or unhappiness when "my team" loses even though one contributes zero effort to the team's win/loss.

Happiness is the successful state of life, pain is an agent of death. Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values. Source

What are the rational values that I, the sport fan, receives when "my team" wins?

If a hunter demonstrates great skill and kill a prey, I may admire him for his skills; but for me to be happy doesn't make sense unless he shares his kill with me.

asked Jan 22 '12 at 02:34

Humbug's gravatar image

Humbug
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edited Jan 24 '12 at 13:29


Yes, I think it can be rational. It's reasonable to feel an affinity or admiration for some person or group, and be happy for their success even when you don't contribute. Especially over time, as you learn more about the sport and the people involved, the effort they've put in, the level of skill they demonstrate, and so on.

What I don't think would be rational is to feel pride or increased self-esteem as a result of a team's accomplishments (as well as the reverse if they lose). Being pleased, happy or satisfied is one thing. Feeling better about yourself because of the work of others is completely different.

answered Jan 22 '12 at 06:05

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Rick ♦
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"Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values." -John Galt

What values have you achieved by the team winning?

(Jan 23 '12 at 00:27) Humbug Humbug's gravatar image

Presumably, you value the team of (probably skilled and hard-working) athletes being successful in competition. When the team wins, you achieve that value, and are happy as a result. If you didn't value the team and they won, it wouldn't make you happy, right?

(Jan 23 '12 at 02:28) Rick ♦ Rick's gravatar image

How does one distinguish between simple happiness because we see another achieve vs. happiness resulting from second-handed pride/self-esteem? Surely the "my" in "my team has won" implies the second form of happiness.

(Jan 23 '12 at 12:52) Humbug Humbug's gravatar image

We can distinguish between them by understanding the source of our current happiness (through introspection) and by understanding the source and meaning of pride and self-esteem. Pride is the psychological reward that comes from living your values; from being just, honest, having integrity, being an independent thinker, etc. Self-esteem is fundamentally self-confidence in your ability to live and be successful given the facts of reality. "My team won" can mean different things. Do you really believe the team is somehow a reflection of you? Or is it just a team you like and follow?

(Jan 23 '12 at 18:37) Rick ♦ Rick's gravatar image

I don't follow any team so I can't say. I am utterly confused about why people become so excited or upset when a sport team wins/loses. I can understand if they're gambling but it doesn't make sense if they're not.

I suppose happiness can be derived from MORE than just pride & self-esteem?

(Jan 24 '12 at 03:19) Humbug Humbug's gravatar image

Do you understand why people enjoy watching sports in the first place? If you understand that, I think it's kind of obvious why someone would want the team they've put the most time into learning about, to win. Winning means more games (the playoffs), more fans, more money, better stadiums, etc. If you're rooting for "the home team", which is quite common, it means these things plus a boost to the local economy. If you've got a team jacket, it means more potential for networking when you meet someone on the street. If you've got memorabilia (or season tickets), the monetary value goes up.

(Jan 24 '12 at 07:58) anthony anthony's gravatar image

Granted "excited" and "upset" are emotions. They are the automatic results of judgments. But I don't see any reason to assume they are anything other than pro-life judgments.

Whether or not those positive feelings amount to happiness, I'm not prepared to say.

But you yourself seem to imply that these feelings can be derived from gambling. Is this only sports gambling, which is somewhat of a game of skill, or does one feel happy when one hits the lottery?

Not a rhetorical question. I'm not sure if "happiness", in the context that Rand used the term, is correct for a lottery winner.

(Jan 24 '12 at 08:05) anthony anthony's gravatar image

Maybe the reason why people like sports is because they want to experience the emotion of love. Not love of the game but love of the athletes. I once asked someone when they started liking sports and he said when he started paying attention to the players.

(Feb 29 '12 at 12:11) Humbug Humbug's gravatar image
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Asked: Jan 22 '12 at 02:34

Seen: 1,608 times

Last updated: Feb 29 '12 at 12:11