Atlantic article about enjoyment vs. pleasure

  • The only caveat for readers of this forum that I'd add is that all pleasure is (a) good (feeling), *but* not all pleasure (good feeling) is choiceworthy.

    Yes. The issue that some people still stumble over, despite the clarity of that sentence, is that "choiceworthy" is not an objective standard either. Phrasing with words like "worthy" rings of Stoic / absolute flavor, but only the person having the experience can decide whether it is choiceworthy - whether the pleasure that will be obtained is worth the pain that will be required. We can make generalizations and predictions about consequences, but there's no supernatural or objective standard that tells everyone to make the same decision. One man's trash is another man's treasure.

    Context and consequences are also fundamental parts of Epicurus's philosophy.

    And that's the reason only the the person experiencing the pain or pleasure is in a position to make the decision on how to choose between actions.

    "If it feels good, do it" is Cyrenaic.

    I have to wonder if even the Cyrenaics were so short-sighted. Wish we had more texts from them too.

  • I have to wonder too. I've lived that lifestyle it just eventually leads to a lot of pain.

    And whenever a person or group is represented by a prevailing majority as having a position that seems so counterintuitive as to be apparently impossible for a sane person to believe, I tend to want to look more closely to see if the fault is in the accused, or the accuser! :)

  • Epicurean versus Cyrenaic happiness
    Epicurean versus Cyrenaic happiness

    Here's a Sedley paper on that topic.


    Aristippus…advised people not to pain themselves either in memory of what is past or in anticipation of future events (μήτε τοῖς παρελθοῦσιν ἐπικάμνειν μήτε τῶν ἐπιόντων προκάμνειν).…His advice was to keep one’s thought focused on the day, and in fact on that part of the day in which one was carrying out this or that action or thought. For only the present is ours, he said, unlike what is already over and what is still awaited, of which the former has perished, while with the latter it is unclear whether it will be.

  • If that truly expresses his full view then he was truly an idiot, so I wonder what else he held to explain how he himself lived long enough to be remembered as a philosopher. Perhaps some expansive view of what it means to focus on the present moment.

    I don't recall that his memory includes him being a supreme hypocrite(?)

  • Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,

    Old Time is still a-flying;

    And this same flower that smiles today

    Tomorrow will be dying.

    -Robert Herrick, To the Virgins to Make Much of Time


    Had we but world enough and time,

    This coyness, lady, were no crime.

    -Andrew Marvell, To his Coy Mistress


    carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.

    Seize the present; trust tomorrow e'en as little as you may.

    -Horace, Odes

  • It takes a balance. I might have already posted this before, but this is very good in that it shows that happiness is both short term and long term -- "the riddle of experience vs. memory".


    “We live and experience many moments, but most of them are not preserved,” Kahneman said. “They are lost forever. Our memory collects certain parts of what happened to us and processes them into a story. We make most of our decisions based on the story told by our memory.

    Read the article

    Watch a Ted talk:

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  • Well put, Joshua .

    I get the impression that the Cyrenaics felt that the only pleasure worth considering was the one you're experiencing *right now.* There's some nuance to that statement, but, by and large, that seems to be their position. In the immortal words of Janis Joplin, "get it while you can!" Epicurus's philosophy was a direct repudiation of the cyrenaic position in that he advocated taking pleasure in past pleasures as well as looking forward to future pleasures and mental pleasure like this was worthwhile. According to the Cyrenaics, physical pleasure experienced here right now is the only worthwhile pleasure, the only pleasure you're sure of. Mental pleasure -pleasure experienced only in the mind as memory or anticipation - doesn't count.