When you don’t think about, pleasure and happiness seem like the same thing, when you do think about it, their differences become glaringly apparent. There are a few major differences between the very essence of each one. Happiness is a mood, a state of mind that stretches across life, and enriches our experiences, it penetrates into everything and thus I can have a bad day, but still be happy. Pleasure comes in bursts, on it’s own it holds no worth, it relies on the richness of a premeditated level of happiness to work. Happiness is self authenticating, pleasure is not. Happiness can cause pleasure, pleasure cannot cause happiness. I get pleasure from seeing someone smile because I’m happy, I get no pleasure from the very same thing, because I’m depressed.
But can we be happy, without pleasure? It almost seems as though we need events that atleast have the potential of being deemed pleasurable in order to sustain a level of happiness. Although happiness is a state of mind, a cloud of glowering enlightenment, it is not inaccessible by emotions like pleasure. But if pleasure can’t cause happiness how can it sustain it? Maybe because pleasure isn’t a ‘thing’ in itself but is moreover an illusion that happiness has cast. So as you would say ‘money makes money’ it would seem ‘happiness makes happiness’. And so although happiness isn’t permanent, although admittedly stable, it can be slipped in and out of. When we slip out of our happiness less pleasurable illusions are cast, less pleasurable illusions equals less genuine happiness and the spiral continues.
There is no such thing as a soul, or a seperate ‘mind’ outside our brains and body. We are infact no more than the chemicals, atoms, and neurons that make us up, our conscious, our thoughts, these derive from our biological organisation. So defining a person can be problematic, surely if I take a paracetamol I am no longer the same person as I was a few minutes ago before I took it, because, ultimately my biology has changed since then. Furthermore without paracetamol or infact any kind of drug my biology changes constantly anyway, so my persistence as appearing as the same person is not as a result of me being the same person but as a result of people percieving me as the same person. Personhood is no more than an illusion, we are not people, we are just collections of atoms, and these atoms and our cells are changing all the time, we are changing all the time. Following this there is no objective explanation of what makes a person, because really a person is never in existence as that person for any length of time at all, in just a few minutes an element within me will have changed. Infact time can become an issue, time is infinite, it can always be smaller. So detecting when a change occurs is impossible, most people would accept that I am not the same person I was 10 years ago, but when exactly did I change? It’s impossible to know because there is always a smaller millisecond in existence so a better way to judge is when others begin to identify me as different. My only true claim to being a continuous person is a series of successful and similar actions I do that lead others to percieve me to be the same, I am not the same, but being perceived as the same is what defines me as a person, really the idea of a person is not more than an illusion. This idea of personhood and how it’s percieve relies on a holistic view, I am judged and I judge others holositically, I don’t scrutinise their individual elements but focus on them as a whole and so this almost vague attention to detail when it comes to percieving others allows for generalisation of the indictable components to be seen as the same, thus ignoring minute changes within biology.
It’s not a question I’ve pondered on a lot, that is until recently, I’m not sure what triggered me to even consider such a question I guess maybe the way in which we use our language to label almost everything. Everything including things we don’t understand or can’t claim to be ‘true’ I.e. God, love, pain etc. We can’t define these things and they are certainly subjective.. Are these traits applicable to the idea of a ‘future’?
If one doesn’t believe in any form of divinity or destiny then surely one must accept that the future doesn’t exist, for to exist it would be predetermined. For example one might claim that the future is say in two minutes time from now, the present. But to say with certainty that the future exists would rely on the concept of a greater being that had already put it in place. Something that had determined that there is going to be a ‘in two minutes time’. But surely if ‘in two minutes’ time is already determined it isn’t the future at all, because it is already ‘there’, it is currently, presently existing. Therefor it is ‘present’ but just not present in our current time.
Another argument is that we never experience the future, only the present. It is impossible for anything or anyone to ever exist in the future, because the present is inescapable, therefor the ‘future’ is unobservable by any of the senses, it is also, as expressed earlier unexplainable by definition. Or is it? A way of defining the future could indeed be ‘things still to come’. Although things still to come are in my opinion a continuous set of ‘presents’. However the ambiguity of the ‘future’ surely allows for interpretation, although ‘events yet to come’ are unanimously almost entirely ‘unknown’ why not label it with a word ‘future’ allowing future to vaguely assert a more conclusive concept. Although the future is arguably ‘nothing’ and never will be this doesn’t mean it can’t have a word to it. A meaningless word but nonetheless a quicker more efficient way of expressing ourselves.
Do I really have free will? Did I choose to write this or did billions of previous ‘choices’ I’ve made determine it inevitable that I would? But then my previous choices of course weren’t choices, I mean I wouldn’t have made a blog if I didn’t like writing and I wouldn’t like writing if I hadn’t enjoyed English classes, hmm. Or would i?
The deterministic approach assumes that behaviour is learnt, and our present behaviour is dependent on our previous behaviour, like a domino effect that’s out of your control. But let’s explore those ideas a little. Before, during and after any action there are almost infinite connections being made by neurons and chemicals within my brain it is the communication paths and patterns that these neurons make that determines the signal sent to my muscles that determines my ‘conscious’ action I make, that I either truthly or wrongly assume to be my free will. Are we really going to simplify such an immensely complex process down to a few previous behaviours? I mean did neuron B send a signal to neuron x after recieving a signal from neuron T All because I previously sat on my bed? It does seem immensely oversimplified.
At best I’d accept that off course previous actions have an effect on future actions but to not such an extent of innevitability. Due to the infinite actions possible to make but the finite amount of actions previously made it would allow for no progression. A finite number can only ever be a percentage of an infinite number, reducing the chances down to something finite out of something infinite creates an inevitability possibility of minuscule proportions and nothing more than a preference or persuasion to an action but never a determination. Off course I could be wrong, I may change my mind, but as long as I continue to perceive I have free will whether I am dillusional or not, I don’t mind because it makes no difference.