A few thoughts lately.
This is also really rambly, but I tried to organize my thoughts. It's probably likely that many people have also drawn these conclusions, but making it clear through writing is something that is pretty fun.
I've had the time to think about a lot of things lately. There have been a lack of distractions to take away from me constantly thinking about random things in life. An absence of a constant mundane day job to constantly think about, or bills to keep up with, and even a lack of socializing, while maintaining life and doing what I think makes me happy.
So I keep on doing that, and what happens? You begin to question a lot of things about humans, human thinking, and probably start to draw conclusions that sound a bit much for someone who doesn't have the credentials, or research and evidence to back up these thoughts. But then, it is still pure at that point, after all, I'm human and surely my thoughts are valid enough reasoning to be generalized to a certain point. Anyways, I find this interesting to talk about, so I will.
I've written about happiness before in the past, and yes it does seem like everyone is trying some way or some form to make themselves happy. If any of the following makes you happy:
1. Getting a promotion at a job
2. Finding that you gained a spike in followers in social media
3. Having someone well known or you admire recognize your work / creation
4. Giving out gifts to other people
Then well, you're pretty much normal, and I'm pretty sure that pretty much everyone feels that they would get happy from this. So how about this instead, would any of these things make you happy as well?
1. Eating a really tasty meal at a Michelin star restaurant
2. Riding first class on a long flight
3. Winning a sizable sum from the lottery or a gamble
4. Buying the product you've been eyeing for the past few months and finally getting it
Of course, I would also say that you'd probably get a sizable amount of happiness in each of these scenarios. So what makes group A different from group B?
This is where I note my observations, and that from looking at both of them, you'd probably think that, ah yes, the top options are ones that you have been working for, and the bottoms are a nice treat and experience that you get to try out every so often. And indeed, that is certainly one difference. But then again, how different are the feelings you get after experiencing these two different groups?
Let's take a look at group C.
1. Watching a really good TV show or movie, and you find yourself binging to the end.
2. Playing a game you enjoy for hours on end with very few breaks
3. Talking with a significant other / loved one
4. Watching porn, suited to your tastes, or engaging in sexual activities
So as you might see, these activities may be deviating towards much more personally pleasurable things comparatively from more virtuous and things that make you happy, and are also productive. So yeah, it would make sense to separate these things, that hey:”I'm working, seeing progress in what I'm doing, and its quite enjoyable as a result”. Self satisfaction as well as seeing results will yield positive feelings. But therein lies what I find the most interesting.
How different are the feelings you get from any of these experiences?
In the general sense, it is different, but that's mostly just due to different intensities of experience. So you could say that all in all, all of these experiences are pleasurable, rather than ones that make you happy, more so the latter category in group C and group B.
So this distinguishing element is important, what is the difference between happiness and pleasure?
And that difference really will tell you why everyone does everything they do. Everyone is different, they feel pleasure from different things, even if its far away from what could be considered normal or something, but it is very likely that the feeling of pleasure is still the same.
And that's the thing, happiness can be defined as are more virtuous type of experience that you will find pleasurable, feeling happiness as a result of others, or making others happy- you still feel that same feeling of goodness, but the reasons are wholesome and positive, and thus it is good.
But that level of pleasure can never reach the likes of other things, in fact, it is quite literally the reason why people do things that would disadvantage 10, 100, or even thousands to millions of people. Thus this flaw that people find in others, or what you could call corruption, is really just people seeking pleasure above happiness, as odd as that may sound, because I am certain that a large number of people would prefer a 20% larger paycheck than making a few friends' day better.
You can argue that the money has utility! It can be used to lead to more things! Which, it leads to having more pleasurable things be possible to do, at the end of it all. Using that money to make more money, using it to buy something you have always wanted, go out on a nice dinner, so on and so forth. You can also can use it to manage funds and debt and relieve stress.
With that last point, living expenses is clearly part of the equation as well, where everyone should prioritize their basic living needs overall, it is why things are pleasurable in the first place.
But that's the thing, if people can prioritize pleasurable, unnecessary things over basic life, then how will society respond and function as a result? And this “If” is more like, it pretty much is the only thing people tend to prioritize. How can they make themselves feel better. How can they feel happy. How can they reach higher heights?
This sounds a bit presumptuous so far, but its just the way we are, isn't it? It isn't something that doesn't exclude myself or others in general, striving to reach for constantly higher heights seems to be just part of our nature. If there is a next step, we will always yearn for it. But therein lies a huge problem.
With this nature of always seeking the better, at what cost, at what point does this yearning end? When you have enough money to live your life in peace? Why is it that there are no clear examples of people calmly living out their lives? It may be that such people live low profile enough lives to not become attracted to the public eye, but it seems more often than not, there are those who keep on going, even after amassing millions of dollars, are still not satisfied with what they have. Its definitely because they always seek a higher level of pleasure-- after all, when you have that much wealth, you are likely to go around the world experiencing the best of what everything has to offer, instead of making do with all the experiences the world has at humble and practical levels at any stage of life, or spending what you have instead of aiming higher and higher.
With this extreme rise in wealth from already wealthy to filthy rich, it gets a bit more insane how much its like an endless competition that ends up destroying the goodwill of human nature, in order to fulfill self satisfaction and stakes placed by oneself. The damages caused by such things are so far reaching and self destructive, it is surprising how few people notice it. Or rather they do notice it, but allow it to continue, because it serves their self interest, and even for a greater good, despite having large drawbacks. Why do people overdose on drugs? Why do people become alcoholics? Why do people throw away their lives gambling? It's because the experience and thought of being able to obtain more pleasurable things is in itself pleasurable, the dream and yearning for experiences and feelings never had, comes at a cost; a market for pleasure.
So lets take a step back, and see why happiness is lost, left back, forgotten. Why people who intend to do good things and actually act on them are so rare and yet, so weak and helpless in comparison to the greedy gourmands of today.
The system, or rather, society, once it became a way for people to exploit others instead of rely on the goodwill of others, became this ecosystem of who can fulfill their desires most selfishly will be able to do so. Those with intent on taking every advantage they get, overcoming others, using those in a better position than themselves, those are the people that succeed, because of that burning desire. In comparison, those who also have a burning desire to succeed, but also take detours out of their way and even a sense of altruism, always will face roadblocks, and eventually, once such an individual encounters the selfish and crazy ambitious individual, guess who wins out in terms of resources by the end of it all?
The system encourages selfish and misleading behavior, because those who are supposed to maintain order and balance, also easily succumb to the allure of pleasure. That sounds a bit wrong, but that is pretty much how it is, the money can lead into such things, whether it is used to manipulate and whatnot, all who are involved definitely have the mindset of “How can it benefit me”, with obviously some methods being far more direct than others.
And so, you have large, huge corporations.
Of course, the CEO wants to expand, venturing out and seeking every opportunity to grow and reach every single corner that can be accessed. Otherwise, it may have never gotten good enough in the first place, exchanging thousands and billions of dollars in order to make thousands of billions more dollars. At this point, the goal isn't even money anymore, but the self satisfaction of endless success. Why do almost all these companies dodge things that may benefit humanity? Why are large scale things ignored? Because money and growth isn't to be found there, on an individual level. Having the characteristics of being able to create an extremely large and successful companies and altruism almost never intersect, as a result of individual qualities. It isn't impossible, but usually, it comes from the qualities of seeing humanity be successful be the primary motive to making them happy, or rather, feel pleasure.
I guess it can be said that feeling pleasure does feel a bit sexual in a way, but I guess it more refers to the chemicals released in the mind that stimulate that feeling that everything and everyone yearn for. It's quite interesting to think about in that way, since then its pretty much just finding the most stimuli with balancing with productivity. Its just that self improvement and selflessness feels among the lowest on these things, since you do feel good for doing something good, but the feeling and results of doing that good thing, really don't last that long.
Expanding on that however, is that dear god, does that sound depressing. The thing is almost every thing I see that points to that is true. I don't know why or when it began, but its just the natural ego of humans to feel this way. To more clearly illustrate this point,
You are a person who enjoys making music in your idle time, and make a few pieces here are there, getting maybe 200- 400 plays among all of them.
One day, you make one of the best pieces yet, and you find yourself really happy with it.
It also finds surprising success, and starts out with 10x the regular plays. You go to bed excited, and are happy at the end of the day, wondering what can result after making that piece. Thoughts of even more things fill your mind, more followers, possibly spreading out, getting out of your day job and pursuing music.
The next morning, 40,000+ plays are now on that piece, and you are quite astounded. A lot of new followers have taken notice to you, and you revel and start responding to the hundreds of positive comments, thanking everyone for their thoughtful and long comments on how they liked this part of the music, or that part.
Then, you notice one, not well thought out, negative comment “this sucks, why is this getting popular”.
Do tell, there are number ways that people can react, but certainly, you will feel a hit from this comment, unless you are jaded to such comments and have a lot of experience with dealing with negativity.
But it still hits hard, regardless.
This is one of the most dumbfounding things I have experienced and seen. Why do we attract towards the negative so much more than the positive? It's dumbfounding that people who are critical and negative can leave such lasting impacts that they get so much more attention than the people who were positive in the first place.
It's just backwards.
Let's say, you have ten thousand fans, and 5 people who are critical of you. I can guarantee that most people will pay more attention and get hung over those 5 people, than the collective positivism of ten thousand people. While the effect of these people actually effecting a work is really low, why does it feel that way? I can probably deduce a few reasons for this.
1. Self improvement, and seeking to grow better.
2. Attachment to your creation
3. Desire to defend and--hate on in return
Most people will respond irrationally to such comments, or at least, think about it irrationally before calming down, and then deciding to either ignore it, question it, or reason with it. Of course this is understandable... But really, the most interesting thing is that, of these 3 options, the one that attracts the most attention is probably the most likely, between the two parties.
I'm sure you've seen things that enrage yourself spread over the internet, and your desire to look more into it, is likely depending on how relatable the subject is to yourself. This is something of the same level, where people can even feign hate to attract attention. This is the most baffling of human behavior, but seeing all my points from before, starts to make A LOT of sense. Attraction and attention will beget pleasure to the individual, even if in a twisted way. After all, the way isolation goes is regressive and against general human conventions that tend to seek pleasure, so seeking attention, in any way possible, will become the more desirable option.
Although I don't feel this way in the slightest, I still can understand where all these people are coming from, and clearly see that everything has a pretty clear reason for the way it is. You can really see that some behavior can easily be explained by just the basic nature of how people are. Constantly expanding and growing, and going for everything that they possibly can is to find advantage over others and win, in a way that serves self interest over all. This is applicable to everyone, but in varying degrees and levels.
Anyways this may or may not have a conclusive statement, I really don't know. It's pretty much a first draft and I feel like when I write something like this, I feel like I may be coming off as condescending, even if I have no intention of doing so. But it was good practice, and I think its good to get it out there and see how other people feel about pleasure and happiness. If you actually read it. Either way maybe if I can condense this I would but owell, maybe it may be an interesting read, or really boring.
If I had more to add, it'd be about the acceptability spectrum of sexual stuff and more explicit pleasure things, and how that plays into it all, and how life is pretty much just a number game