Pursuing pleasure does not bring happiness
Posted 7/10/08 , edited 7/10/08
Summary: New findings indicate that pursuing pleasure does not bring happiness.
http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/newsletter.aspx?id=54



The American public and most of the rest of the world believes that happiness equals pleasure. A life that maximizes the amount of positive feelings and minimizes the amount of negative ones is a happy life.

Happiness equals pleasure?

So pervasive is this "hedonic" view of happiness that when I tell audiences that there are two other paths to happy lives--the Good Life and the Meaningful Life--that need not have any positive emotion at all, they are incredulous. "You are redefining happiness arbitrarily," they say.

The hedonic view of happiness convinces us that Goldie Hawn and Debbie Reynolds are the paradigmatic examples of being happy: smiley, ebullient, cheerful, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Two things wrong with this idea

But there are two things radically wrong with this hedonic view. The first is that smiley ebullience is highly heritable and very hard to get more of. This trait is called "positive affectivity" and identical twins are much more likely to share it than are fraternal twins. It is not very changeable, and the best that learning skills such as "savoring" and "mindfulness" can do is to help you to live in the upper part of your set range of positive affectivity. The fact that it is normally distributed means that half the population is not very smiley, cheerful, and ebullient, and not likely to become so--even with carefully reading and diligently doing the exercises in Authentic Happiness.

The second problem with the Hollywood view of happiness, as pervasive as it is, is a very poor intellectual provenance. When Aristotle spoke of the "Eudaimonia," the Good Life, he was not focused on the positive feelings of pleasure--orgasm, a backrub, and a full stomach. Rather he was concerned with the "pleasures" of contemplation--which do not reside in orgasmic thrills or sensations of warmth, but in deep absorption and immersion, a state we now call "flow." And during this state there is neither thought nor feeling. You are simply "one with the music."

[...]

Dr. Peterson devised three sets of questions, one about pursuing and having the Pleasant Life, the other two about pursuing and having the Good Life or the Meaningful Life, and gave them to 150 adult volunteers. You can complete a questionnaire with all of these questions at www.authentichappiness.org. His target was life satisfaction. He found that both the Good Life and the Meaningful Life were related to life satisfaction: the more Eudaimonia or the more Meaning, the more life satisfaction. Astonishingly, however, the amount of pleasure in life did not add to life satisfaction.


This is actually accurate according to my experience anyway.
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21 / F / My body lives in...
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Posted 9/25/08

Pleasurable experiences can give momentary feelings of happiness, but this happiness does not last long because it is dependent upon external events and experiences (example eating good food or having a good party). When the intent shifts out of controlling and not being controlled to becoming loving to ourselves and others, the heart opens for joy. Happiness and joy are the natural result of efforts on spiritual values of caring, compassion and kindness.
Posted 9/25/08 , edited 9/25/08
....if its temporary happiness then just never stop the orgy...
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Posted 9/25/08
I'm pursuing pleasure
My pleasure is my happiness
Therefore, I'm pursuing my happiness.
Posted 9/25/08
Pursuing pleasure really won't bring happiness. It is achieving pleasure and satisfaction that would bring about happiness.
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24 / F / Coffee shops, Tea...
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Posted 9/26/08
Economics: Man has unlimited wants.
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28 / M / United States of...
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Posted 9/26/08
The way I see it.

Happiness = Long Term Feelings of well being
Pleasures = Short Term Feelings of well being


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M / SoCal
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Posted 9/26/08
What a useless scientific finding. You don't need science to figure this out.
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26 / M / New York City, NY
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Posted 9/26/08
Happiness is a state of being in contemplation. Pleasure is mostly an immeadiate sensory reaction, not exclusively sensual.
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34 / M / Toronto, Canada
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Posted 9/26/08
YAWN
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24 / F / in my bf's arms
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Posted 9/26/08

shinto-male wrote:

YAWN


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Posted 9/26/08
Happiness is elusive, but thankfully we found a way to measure and identify it after asking 150 people.
I was kind of waiting for an "order now!" pitch
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23 / F / Charlotte
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Posted 12/31/08
There's a slight chance that when you persue happiness that in the end after trying to break it off with that person, you might have actually fallen in love with him. But I'd have to say you have about a ohm... 10% and or less chance of that ever happening
Posted 12/31/08
Pleasure is eating.
Happiness is food XD
I can see the large difference, I'm happy when sleeping too. OMG!

Well, it doesn't really matter for me if pleasure doesn't bring happiness as long as I feel happy with having pleasures.
Posted 1/3/10
User has nuked, but anyone is welcomed to recreate.
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