What is the Highest Form of Pleasure? | Page 2 | INFJ Forum

What is the Highest Form of Pleasure?

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by Ren, Nov 26, 2018.

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  1. Hostarius

    Hostarius Scooby Doo Villain of Fate

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    To answer the OP, however, I'll just work from personal experience here rather than get overly philosophical.

    I agree with @Fidicen, though, that the dopamine route is somehow an unsatisfying answer to this question. Especially since the question is, 'what's the highest form of pleasure'?

    I'm not sure how we're defining 'high' here (like a moral category or a question of magnitude?). Anyway I'll just add a few personal experiences that aren't love:

    1) I know I felt incredible when I got a very high mark for an undergraduate essay I wrote. It was after a period where the university doubted my ability to complete the course (personal problems), and my ambition at that point to become an academic historian would have sounded to them actually ridiculous (I'd had to retake both first year and second year). In any case, when I got the essay back, I had a feeling of the most overwhelming vindication and achievement. It was really quite 'triumphal', and to this day has its own soundtrack in my memory because of the music I was listening to at the time (Tchaikovsky's swelling finale to his 5th symphony).

    2) Eureka moments are always quite nice, especially those times where everything seems to 'come together'.

    3) Last winter, I suddenly realised that I was 'happy', after a very very long time of being unhappy. It was more a realisation that every aspect of my life was OK, but mostly the social side and the fact that I knew I was being true to my own principles (courage, integrity, &c.). It's not that I wasn't before, but just didn't get the opportunities of having them 'tested'. That realisation of happiness was very profound indeed. It had been about 8-9 years by that time since I could say it.

    Ultimately, I think the 'highest firm of pleasure' is something near to 'contentment'; the sense of general wellness you get when many aspects of your life are in order, when you're doing right by people, when you're working and producing excellence, when you feel that you have earned the genuine respect and friendship of others.
     
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  2. OP
    Ren

    Ren Pin's android and co-founder of Stoic Café

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    Well, this is the best way not to become resentful! If you want to criticize the world, you need to have your house in order. Because I’m telling you, man, resentment is one of the most catastrophic things there are. People who look away and don’t want to cope with the tragedy of life, they become resentful, and then all they care about is power, because it is easier to pursue power with other resentful people than truth, which is based on a hierarchy of competence! This reminds me of an anecdote... so, I've worked with young men for 30 years, to help them build confidence. One day, well... Anyway, I'm going on tangents here. With a team of experts, I have developed this programme, which you can access on my website...
     
    #22 Ren, Nov 27, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
  3. OP
    Ren

    Ren Pin's android and co-founder of Stoic Café

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    I'll answer this quickly, just to clarify things. (I've read the whole post by the way, and really enjoyed your sharing of those moments. I will get back to them a little later in the day, as I'm supposed to be managing my organisation's online community right now ^^).

    I agree with Fid and yourself that it would be important to agree on definitions to start with, to make sure the conversation is constructive. I toyed with the idea of providing a definition in the OP (of both pleasures and highest, say), but eventually decided to leave things open, to give people the opportunity to come up with their own proposed definitions. It feels a bit limiting for the OP to start a conversation and set the tone of it to that extent so early on. On top of that, having done so in the past, I have found that people were sometimes less responsive as a result, because they felt restricted, perhaps. In any case, the idea is not really to take either philosopher's side, but to discuss pleasure and pleasures in general.

    I will leave the OP as is for now, but if I see that the lack of a preliminary definition is proving to be a hindrance, I'll propose one. What seems clear to me is that there are different kinds of pleasures, or pleasure-inducing activities/situations, and that these may be organized into, if not hard categories, at least families of a sort. A eureka moment seems to be decisively different from the snorting of cocaine; sexual intercourse, different from the pleasure felt watching a horror film (though perhaps it isn't!). I am not quite sure how exactly to arrange those families of pleasures, but this is also something that can be part of the conversation.
     
    #23 Ren, Nov 27, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
  4. John K

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    Yup! It's possibly an oxymoron .......
     
  5. OP
    Ren

    Ren Pin's android and co-founder of Stoic Café

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    It is so pleasurable to come up with an oxymoron, though. :yum:

    But zeugmas remain my favorite.
     
  6. John K

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    ...... if I shut my eyes, I'm actually still there, on the hillside, overlooking a bay several miles across. It's night in mid-winter and I'm surrounded by mountains - everywhere is deep in snow and there are steep glaciers tumbling down the mountain valleys. It's very cold, well below freezing, very still, very clear and the sea is dead flat calm - it's covered with growlers and bergy bits. The snow under my feet is crisp with frost. The stars are brilliant and the Milky Way is bright across the sky. A full moon is just rising over a valley 8 miles away across the bay – it's clear of the horizon and shines straight down the valley; there is the most incredible moon river running for miles across the sea straight towards me. The air is like a chilled German white wine. A cloud cascade is pouring over the highest mountain ridge, 10,000 feet up, some miles away to the west, and it scintillates in the moonlight. I have a bottle of Grand Marnier with me, and I get slightly tipsy on it while watching. Everything is lit up by the moon, and it's completely magical, sacred: I am enchanted. After half an hour I am cold and go in, and I can’t remember any more.


    I think I left a bit of me behind and it’s still there.


    I don't know what you intend by the word "highest" really Ren - I think it will have different meanings for different people so perhaps there can be no consensus answer. For me, it is a synthesis of both these points of view and more besides - a meld of the physical, intellectual and spiritual, and a loss of the boundary that separates me from the rest of everything so that it is me and I am it. This experience is both timeless and instantaneous, it doesn't leave a craving to constanty replay the experience because the memory is sufficient. It pulls the divine and the ordinary together and makes everything sacred and profane at the same time - and then the words fail ...... If I ever came across a door that opened onto this without end I would walk through it and never look back as long as there was no-one left behind who depended on me.
     
  7. OP
    Ren

    Ren Pin's android and co-founder of Stoic Café

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    I think it's okay to begin with personal experiences. After all, pleasure is far from just a concept, it's something that each and every one of us can measure by reference to their own experience. And also place it in the wider context of their life. For example, I think Schopenhauer makes an interesting point about the relationship between the short-term pursuit of immediate gratification (which can be very intense) and longer-term pain or ennui.

    This is very vivid! I take it you're the author of that paragraph? :)
     
  8. John K

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    Yes, I wrote it for a post I made a couple of weeks after joining the forum.

    Perhaps there is no highest form of pleasure that isn't a personal view, but there could be a classification, a bestiary of different sorts of pleasure with different people valuing different creatures within it more than others and a rough agreement on ranking among large subsets of people.

    There are philosophies, such as those attached to Buddhism, that see pleasure as a trap that deceives and tricks people into a false mode of existence, so the question would be meaningless for them unless pleasure was defined to include detachment, serenity or peace (for example).
     
  9. Skarekrow

    Skarekrow ~~DEVIL~~

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    I think the highest form would be the total self realization of one’s existence being alive, and conscious.
    As it stands that could incorporate most everything within it.
    Keep in mind when I speak of this realization it isn’t just the normal thoughts we get when looking in a mirror - oh look, there’s me.
    That is not necessarily pleasurable unless you are really into yourself I guess, lol.
    And I apologize for wandering into the abstract with my recounting of ego dissolution and how intensely pleasurable that whole experience(s) was for me.
    I have never felt such powerful all-encompassing love...never seen images so beautiful that they bring tears to the eyes.
    Never felt so much kindness, forgiveness, and love toward myself as the deeper “I” could see how badly my ego was tormenting me with feelings of a lack of meaning and purpose.
    The feeling of the purest and most natural feeling of peace and love emanated from everything and everyone to the extent that I was overwhelmed by the sheer rapture of it and could only sit in awe crying with gratitude that again was deeper than anything ever felt by me.
    Overall though, the message that comes through is love.
    And I don’t just mean this kind of experience when I said love earlier either.
    To me, love is the highest form of pleasure...for instance...without love, sex is missing an element though it can be very highly pleasurable.
    To love another is to accept that person wholly for who they are flaws and all, to see the person within and see yourself reflected back in all your loved ones...to find that not only in those we are close to but in all humans - to see that to love is the greatest gift you could give another.
    But to wander back out again...it is our self-realization and how that is perceived by each person that determines how pleasurable something is to us or not.
    To glimpse the deeper “self” and to fully feel the pleasure of our existence is powerful and humbling.
    This is, of course, my subjective experience.
    I am by no means making an argument. ;)
    Much love all!
     
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    #29 Skarekrow, Nov 27, 2018
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  10. John K

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    That does it for me Skarekrow ... :<3green:
     
  11. Zoned Out Again

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    "For the latter, it is intellectual: spontaneous pleasures end up in boredom, and worse, they make us dependent on them, and expose us to the pain of lack until they are met."

    Hmm, this just made me realize something. Months back, I began experimenting with edible cannabis. One day, While I was in the "high mode" I decided to listen to some oldies on tidal. It was a mind blowing, brain pleasuring experience. I could hear every single instrument playing....Every single one! The moment Crusin by smokey robbison came on...I was in the clouds...I literally "ZonedOut". But then the moment the high was over all tracks on tidal sounded normal..."blank".

    Obviously, Cannabis gave me spontaneous pleasure, and it expected me to depend on it to keep getting that pleasure.


    Arthur Schopenhauer was right. Intellectual pleasure is far better.
     
  12. Lady Jolanda

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  14. Hostarius

    Hostarius Scooby Doo Villain of Fate

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    By total chance I'm currently listening to a podcast on Utilitarianism, and one of the contributors mentioned this:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felicific_calculus

    Bentham thought you could literally put a numerical value on pleasure, and thus turn ethics into a kind of science. I thought it was interesting in the context of what Fid had said about simply measuring dopamine. Again, though, it seems unsatisfactory.

    As Skare points out, there's an element of pleasure than cannot be reduced to identifiable experiences, and therefore might be incalculable.

    On the other hand, I do wonder what value Bentham's calculus would put on a general sense of wellness and contentment for decades over a lifetime (since duration is one of his variables).
     
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  15. Pin

    Pin "Magnificent Bastard" / Ren's Counterpart

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    You became Peterson.

    10/10 Method Acting.
     
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  16. OP
    Ren

    Ren Pin's android and co-founder of Stoic Café

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    Why thank you, sir! I guess I just felt inspired. :D
     
  17. wolly.green

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    Creation is the highest pleasure. It's not temporary, and never gets boring.
     
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  18. Wyote

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    So then the answer isn't 13 lines of cocaine and 7 women?
    I may have gotten this wrong on the test. Hmm.
     
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  19. Faye

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    Philosophy is the highest form of pleasure.

    No, not sex. It is philosophy.
     
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    Both at the same time tho.
    But maybe you can't truly appreciate works of Plato mid coitus.
     
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