Can Pleasure Lead to Happiness?

Interesting question indeed.

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Happiness: the ultimate goal that all humans strive towards in their short-lived life on this planet we call earth, well not all humans of course, we don’t want to leave the nihilists out of the picture here on a funny note. While discussing the notion of happiness, you are bound to stir controversy, as different people have different perception on what makes us happy. This can be quite problematic while diving deeper into the situation we have at hand, which is: can pleasure lead to happiness?

If one is to argue that pleasure indeed, does not lead to happiness, I’m certain the scope is broader than arguing for the latter. However, I’ll be targeting both sides of the pendulum and hoping to find out a reasonable situation on which I can build my argument around.

First off, if you are to talk about pleasures, we need to understand the different forms of pleasure that can be achieved in this world. Some people might go for artistic pleasure, or some people might strive for bodily pleasures, and so forth, it’s a recurrent cycle just like the flipping of a coin when it comes to counting the different forms of pleasures that humans can try to attain in their lifetimes, or try to sustain in a broader sense of things. This talk about the abundant amount of pleasures available to us, prompts up the talk about Utilitarianism. Personally, I love to keep the definition of Utilitarianism sweet and short, it’s simply the greatest amount of utility (pleasures, benefits, …) for the greatest number of people realistically achievable to. Plain and simple. However, what is important of this mentioning of Utilitarianism, is its founder Jeremy Bentham. He’s highly important because he invented what I’m basing this argument on, which is the Hedonic Calculus. The Hedonic Calculus aims to statistically or mathematically measure the certain act you are trying to do on a pleasure and pain scale, and the comparison of the scores should afterwards prompt you towards venturing forward with the action intended or backing out of it. Now I know that this ‘scale’ was highly rejected in the philosophical realm, but I beg to differ. It offers a very pragmatic way to solving this swing-state that always seems to happen to people before indulging in a certain state of pleasure. Humans are quite good at knowing what can harm them, and what certain types of pleasures are not for them, so I don’t find this method to be problematic at all. Let me give a practical everyday life example on which I can base an actual function of the Hedonic Calculus. Let’s take the example of playing the violin on first hand. Playing an instrument is very intense, and can lead to a strong pleasure. Learning to play an instrument is pleasurable on the long run as well, so it’s going to last for quite a long time. If someone willingly goes for learning the violin for a choice, then the percentage of the pleasure to occur from the music played is likely. Like everything else, learning takes some time, but with patience, soon the learner will be able to get the attainable pleasure soon. There’s nothing as sensible and emotional as playing music, so concurrently, playing the violin will spark a lot of emotions in you. Also, playing the violin is the purest of acts, no bad pleasures I can think of that can occur because of it. By adopting the violin as your source of pleasure, you aren’t negatively affecting anyone, on the contrary, you can emit your pleasure by playing to other people. I just followed the seven different ‘steps’ on which someone can base a pleasure and what it radiates based on the Hedonic Calculus, and in terms of practicality, it certainly sounds very effective to me.

On this basis, pleasure can lead to happiness, but a problem is present. What if playing the violin stopped providing pleasure? What if at an older age, your fingers simply cannot handle the instrument anymore? What if at a younger age you simply gave? There’s always different things we must take into consideration with this literal measurement of calculating pleasure, and the rebuttal to it was very minimal and simple, and it was the few lists of questions that I provided.

In terms of happiness, let’s try to now deconstruct the notion of pleasure leading to happiness, since we already paved the way in the latter example of questionnaires.

The example of pleasure that I gave, which is playing a musical instrument, isn’t a type of pleasure that most ordinary people in the world would strive for. When talking about pleasure, the first thing to pop to one’s head is sexual, or worldly pleasures, and that’s actually very true in concern to pleasure. Most people view these generic ‘wants’ as pleasure, and they are entitled to do just that. For Plato, this is problematic, and he classifies those material needs as the ‘appetitive element’. The other elements in Plato’s Republic strive for being in line with your spirit, and achieving things that would fulfill you on a spiritual level. Plato here only proves that we need to strive or achieve a balance, on order to get to the desirable happiness that usually every human wants in life.

Deontological ethics in my opinion is the best weapon to fight against the argument at place. We simply have to take in the ethical codes of conduct and the rules at hand in terms of actions and their moralities. This applies because pleasurable actions usually have ethical boundaries to them, usually advocated to by a certain set of rules, and that’s only normal. Let’s say for example, someone achieves their pleasure that leads to their happiness by committing rape against young children. This is unethical, and the rules of society bind us with a duty to not commit such an act, even if it might lead to our happiness. I find this very appropriate while dealing with this type of pleasures, because often society rules in our favor against them, and people simply can’t indulge in such acts as rape, or they simply need mental help if they still insist on doing so, or being sent to jail.

We can also look in the scope of virtue ethics while dealing with the aspect of pleasure. Virtue ethics have to do with the person and his build up, and what makes us human. We should act in a way that shifts away from the deontological ethics of duty and act in a way that gets us closer to our characters, and to who we are, and lead us to a place where happiness is found in the bigger picture, not just in pleasures. For example, Aristotle (the father of Virtue Ethics), says that friendship can lead us to happiness, hence the pleasure of friendship. Our happiness doesn’t necessarily have to do with what is mundane, or simple pleasures that is. The enhancement and development of all these good virtues will lead us to the point of Eudaimonia, which is happiness, and this consequently leads us to a satisfying life.

For me personally, away from all the philosophical explanations of the fact that if pleasure can lead to happiness, my answer to that is that I’m simply still not sure yet. I know this doesn’t come off as deep, but I just don’t have enough experience yet in life, to determine what is it that has yet to drive me to reach my state of what I call happiness. Sure, I have desires like everyone else, but I still find it very early to even think of my desires having a long term effect on my happiness. Or maybe, I’m just a nihilist that sees no pleasure and seeks no happiness? Perhaps. I still think it’s early to tell for me.

As our technology advances, and as humanity grows, I think that happiness is something we will always try to strive for, no matter what the means of achieving it is. I find humans hard-wired or ‘programmed’ in some way to indulge in what they find can make them happy, and I don’t think humans will ever change in regards of that. Does indulging in what we find as pleasure worth it? All we can do is try if we really have to, and see where that takes us.

An Update.

Getting back to writing.

Hello there!

For anyone who follows this blog, or anyone who was at any point interested in my posts, I’m sorry for not posting more often.

I’ve been on a hiatus with posting here, not for any particular reason, just wasn’t finding the time, inspiration, or the proper motivation.

I’m hoping for this to change, and I will try to post more on a regular basis now.

 

Fool

Some things will never change.

The dripping stains I see them clear,
with every passing wave,
I stay still and feel,
the tears falling onto my shirt.
They plummet with a heaviness unseen,
unwitnessed and unfelt before.
Like the rain in October,
slightly felt and clearly seen.

With the foolishness of a fool
I tread heavily into maze,
full of despair and agony,
burning like indistinguishable fuel.
My heart clasped with a cumbersome
ashamed feeling of a daze.
I feel sick in my stomach
as I never fail to amaze,
the belligerent fool in me.

The same mistakes over and over again.
I get disgusted with myself sometimes,
from the pathetic, finicky heart of mine,
that never seems to give me any time,
to process things,
and tread with refrain.

I fall in love too easily,
and I will always remain a fool.
Someone please help me,
to find the fucking cure.

Gravity

Gravity is bound to catch you.

Your teardrops fall and drip,
blasting heavily onto the floor beneath
with gravity taking claim of the salty,
and heavy sadness.

Gravity carries your ample tears
anxiously and without doubt.
It is always there for you.

Grappling with a major calamity,
you tremble with mighty agony
as pieces of the puzzle around you,
fall and tumble down onto the ground.
They are carried by gravity.

Your knees tremble
and your hands shake.
Your entire being descends,
and crashes onto the surface,
with all your burdens,
carried by gravity.

Loneliness

Loneliness is bliss, sometimes. Not really.

Dealing with loneliness is tough. It creeps on your back, and feels like whips lashing on your fragile skin. It can be a slow and painful death, that makes you fade away, little by little. The story of my loneliness is unmatched, and unimaginable.

Spending your days, with patience and hopefulness is a tiresome lifestyle. The patience, of finally being relieved and uplifted from this ghastly burden laying on your soul is fucking miserable. A truly bittersweet feeling. It’s often said that patience is key, well fuck that. I don’t know how long one can last in this drivel. As for hopefulness, it only makes you hopeless. The fact that you know yourself, and the fact that everything you long for, comes back to bite you in the ass, is dreadful. I’ve been hopeful for so long that I lost track now.

Loneliness is something I don’t even wish upon my worst enemies. You know man, I keep trying. That’s the thing, I guess. I should just stop at this point. I suppose some people were bound to stay alone forever. I am sick and tired of cliche and trite relationships or hook ups. It’s unnatural to lead such a life. I truly feel like I’m missing the sincere part of feeling wanted, and this is a fundamental human feeling. It is one of the few things missing from my life, but it affects more than it should I suppose.

We live in such a weird time, and place right now. We’ve reached the point, where the mutual feeling of love and affection, is hard to achieve. This is what I’m witnessing every single day. People just keep drifting away from each other, in every single way possible. Be it love, family, or friends man. It’s just a vicious cycle of people dismantling the natural aspect of oneness and the desire to be what we have to be. Everyone is so fucking nihilistic, sarcastic, and intent on being the worst possible version of themselves. I don’t know what is sparking all this damn mania in everyone. I don’t know… Is everyone lonely as well? At this point, It might be the case.

All I know is that, one day, I want to fill in this tiny but huge gap right in the center of my soul. I truly hope this day can come quickly. I want my loneliness to go away. Or maybe I don’t. It’s said that satisfaction is the death of desire. Maybe my loneliness is what keeps me going. The thing that kills me the most, is what’s keeping me alive. That’s a pretty fucking wonderful life if you ask me.

Transition, #7

Transition and growth is always good.

I’ve been shuffling through life for the past three months now, and transition is alive and well. Many different aspects of my life have been changing, and are still changing. It’s crazy to recall back to almost two or three years ago, contemplating a miserable existence, while at the same time, I was convincing myself life was mine to grab. Things weren’t going my way, however life has been pleasant to me thus far, and I’ve been taking it by storm.

Many aspects of my personality are changing, which is something I didn’t quite honestly expect. Throughout my college years, I was someone who was weak, gullible and had no control over the nature of my choices, where I had to ask everyone around me for advice. There’s nothing wrong with asking others for advice, however it showed me clearly that there was something faulty in my own behavior, and in my own personality. Growth in a person usually takes time, and I feel like the past few years have all been building up to this moment, where I break the chains of the average, and transcend, ,and finally make something out of myself.

I have a job now, which was something I never had before. I didn’t anticipate or it never came up to me, that the responsibilities at hand, might actually be enjoyable. I understand the nature of growing up now, and taking matters to your own hands now. I don’t care that all this came late in my life, I’m just thankful to be alive, to have responsibilities, and most importantly, I’m thankful that there is a future for me to look forward to.

The Day I Knew It Will Never Be (First Poem I Wrote).

Memories.

WHOA what a throwback. I was digging around through the books I own, and out fell a piece of paper written on it the first poem I ever wrote. I remember I was maybe in the tenth grade, and it was about a girl, and let’s just say, things were quite messy. This poem made me realize that writing and expressing yourself, no matter the outcome, can be truly therapeutic. 

 

The day I knew it will never be,
Jasmine, I thought she would set me free.
My heart beating faster, waiting for a reply…
It was devastating, I vowed never again to try.

Overwhelmed with emotions I almost died,
never anticipating such a wry.
The girl you loved and dreamed about, day and night
never shared the same love for you,
what a surprise.

Tears filled up my eyes, my heart was broken,
every expectation turned out to be
a hallucination.
I was madly, insanely, deeply in love
and I linger…
But it will never be.

Knowing it will never be, I wait for the night,
hoping to see her in my dreams,
hoping it will turn into reality.
The night is a long way away,
and day dreams are stale, obsolete.
I dream…
But I knew it will never be.

Jasmine, I know you’ll be happy someday.
You’ll shine in the sky for your lover one day…
But why not shine for me, Jasmine?

Oh yeah I forgot.

It will never be.