My Final and Most Convincing Argument for Hedonism

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by MattMVS7, Mar 13, 2015.

  1. MattMVS7 Registered Senior Member

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    My Absolute Convincing Argument for Hedonism (Pleasure=Good, Suffering=Bad, Everything Else in Life=Neutral (Neither Truly Good or Bad)

    I have now come up with a new explanation as to how all our thoughts are neutral (neither truly good or bad) and how pleasure and suffering are the only true good and bad things in life. Let's pretend that you did not have the ability to perceive meaning, then words and phrases would be nothing more than words and phrases. One person you meet would not mean anything different from another person you meet. One shade of color would be no different than another, etc. The only difference would be that they would be different stimuli and nothing more. Therefore, this also applies to our own perceptions of meaning themselves since they are also nothing more than just different perceptions in of themselves and it has nothing to do with us attributing any neutral value or any other value to them. I am not saying that those perceptions are meaningless because they do have meaning since that is obviously what our perceptions are in the first place. I am saying something different here. Allow me to explain:

    Our thoughts/perceptions are no different than any other "neutral" part of our brain such as the parts of our brain that make us move, breathe, blink, etc. They are only different in the sense that they are different functions and nothing more. If you were to look at one shade of color vs another, then yes they would obviously be different. But they are the same in the sense that they both neither feel good or bad. Therefore, this also holds true for our thoughts and perceptions as well in that they are also no different than any other "neutral" part of our brain or any other object for that matter since they don't feel good or bad. But they are different functions and such nonetheless. What separates our feelings of good and bad (pleasure and suffering) from other "neutral" things in life and what makes them the true good and bad things in life is that if you were to perceive something as being good in your life without your pleasure, then you could obviously say that perception is good since that is what it is (a good perception). But like I said before, that version of good (perception) is no different than any other "neutral" part of our brain or any other object.

    Therefore, that perception would only be good in a neutral (fake) sense which means it is not truly good. But the version of good that comes from our pleasure in which we would be able to experience pleasure as a good feeling even if we had no knowledge or intelligence to attribute any value to that feeling, this version of good is the true good since it is the only other version of good there is besides the version of good that comes from our thoughts/perceptions and moral values. I said that the version of good that comes from our thoughts/perceptions and our moral values are no different than any other "neutral" thing in life which makes those said thoughts/perceptions and moral values neutral. Therefore, the true version of good would have to be the version that comes from our pleasure. Same thing for the true version of bad which would be suffering. As I said before, pleasure is a version of good since it always feels good. It always feels good even if you were to have no intelligence or knowledge to attribute any good values and such to it. Therefore, this means that pleasure is a version of good in of itself that is independent of our thoughts/perceptions and moral values. Pleasure always feels good and suffering always feels bad. People who say that pleasure feels bad or that suffering feels good, these people are lying. It is only the pleasure that is derived from their suffering that feels good to them and it is only the suffering that is derived from their pleasure that feels bad to them.

    Now one might say that pleasure and suffering do not feel good or bad. Rather, they might say something such as that they feel pleasant and unpleasant and that they are not what we would define as "good" or "bad." But how we define something as good or bad comes through not saying that those things are neutral. For example, one would say that his/her life is truly good even without his/her pleasure and that everything in his/her life including his/her own perceptions are not neutral. But since they are neutral as I've said before since they are no different than any other neutral thing in life, then they are not what we would define as truly good or bad. So the true version of good and bad would have to come from our pleasure and suffering since they are the only things in life that are truly different from everything else in that they are the only things that feel pleasant (good) and unpleasant (bad).

    One more given example here of how pleasure and suffering are the only true good and bad things in life is that if someone were to feel strong love for someone (love being a form of pleasure since it is a good feeling), then his/her actions and personality expressions would be genuinely expressed. But if you were to have anhedonia (absence of pleasure), then if you were to perceive love towards someone else and show actions/personality expressions of love towards that person, then those said actions and personality expressions would not be genuinely expressed. They would instead be "forced" (faked). For example, if you feel excited about something great in your life, then your expressions of excitement would be genuine. But a person with anhedonia would have to force (fake) his/her expressions. They would, again, be faked expressions and would not be genuine at all. Some people with anhedonia might claim that they have genuinely helped others and made the best of their lives. But this would only be because they have forced themselves to do so since they knew that it was the right thing to do anyway. Also, they are only fooling themselves into perceiving that things are good in their lives despite their anhedonia when the fact of the matter is that all those perceptions are neutral as I've said before. These people with anhedonia then act on those decoy perceptions and claim that their said actions/personality expressions are genuine when the fact of the matter is that they are also decoys. It's through our feelings that our personalities and actions are genuinely expressed and it's only through our feelings that our profoundness, innocence, and greatness becomes genuine. Otherwise, if we didn't have feelings at all, then we would be nothing neither truly good or bad and our lives would be neither truly good or bad either.
     
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  3. MattMVS7 Registered Senior Member

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    I am now going to keep all my arguments regarding hedonism restrained to this topic only. So here is one last convincing argument I came up with supporting hedonism:

    There are 3 pleasure states: negative (hopelessness), neutral (anhedonia), and positive (feeling pleasure). The negative state of pleasure (depression), depression is also a natural response by evolution to discourage our survival aside from it being something such as a chemical imbalance or the result of a brain abnormality. It warns us when something is going wrong in our lives which is the reason why we become depressed when something bad happens in our lives such as the loss of a loved one, etc. When we are encouraged for survival, that would be defined as having genuine good perceptions in life such as to want to live and make the best of our lives, help others, etc. This encouragement can only be defined through our pleasure since it is only our feelings that genuinely encourage and discourage our survival. They are the only things that genuinely make us perceive our lives as either being good and worth living or as bad and not worth living at all. But if you are in a state of anhedonia (absence of pleasure), then this should also tell you that your life is not worth living at all either since how we normally function as human beings would be through relying on our perception of good to make our lives good and worth living. That neutral perception should then send a depressive signal to your brain and then make you and your life bad and of truly even less worth now. As I said before, in a state of anhedonia, our good and bad perceptions are not genuine and is just our mind's irrational way of fooling ourselves into thinking that we are having genuine good and bad perceptions without having any pleasure or suffering in our lives at the moment.

    I said that our encouragement for survival in life can only be defined by having genuine good perceptions. Therefore, since depression discourages our survival, then this means that we cannot genuinely perceive us and our lives as being good and worth living while in a state of significant depression since depression shuts down our good perceptions. Therefore, depression shuts down our good perceptions in a negative sense in that we would have bad perceptions, anhedonia simply neutralizes our perceptions in which we neither genuinely perceive our lives as being good or bad without pleasure and suffering, and pleasure is what defines our genuine good perceptions in life.

    When a person is depressed, he/she might say to his/herself in a depressive mood (tonality) that his/her life is still good and worth living. He/she might very well continue on to pursue his/her dreams and goals in life even while still feeling depressed. But those good perceptions are all decoys without our pleasure as I've said before. The person's depression has shut down his/her genuine good perceptions in life. But he/she is now doing nothing more than just simply saying to his/herself that his/her life is still good and worth living anyway and just forcing his/herself to live life anyway. So now this person is just simply being fooled by words and phrases alone when there is no genuine good perception at all from those words and phrases while he/she is in a state of depression.

    On one side of the spectrum you have people who are so severely depressed that they don't want to do anything who find no good value in their lives. They can hardly function and can hardly want to do things in their lives at all. These types of people are so severe that they can never bring themselves to make the best of their lives and such. These types of people need electric shock treatment. But on the other side of the spectrum you have people who are so happy and excited in life that they are doing all sorts of great things in life. So based on that, you can clearly see how our level of pleasure defines our level of good perception in life. But even if it were somehow a proven fact that you and your life are truly good even in a state of depression/anhedonia, then what good is that going to do for you? What is the use of you and your life being good if you are not even allowed to genuinely perceive it as being good?

    Now our perceptions do define how we feel. But it's our feelings that make those said perceptions genuinely good or bad only from the perspective of those feelings alone and not from the perspective of those perceptions (thoughts) alone which are all neutral in of themselves as I've said before. So it's just how we feel independent of our thoughts that genuinely makes us and our lives good or bad. I also realize that there is one other emotion which would be empathy. There are also 3 states of empathy as well: negative (in which you feel bad such as you feeling sorry for hurting someone else), neutral (no empathy in which one might also just simply help others out anyway through just thoughts and such alone), and positive (which would be a feeling of pleasure in which you feel good for helping someone else). Here again, the negative state defines us and our lives as being bad and genuinely defines our perceptions as bad, the neutral defines us and our lives as being neither good or bad and our perceptions as being neither good or bad without our pleasure, and the positive state is what genuinely defines us and our lives as being genuinely good and defines our perceptions as being genuinely good.

    In conclusion, I am making these arguments to try and help find better cures and treatments or anhedonia and depression. If people would realize that pleasure and suffering are the only true good and bad things in life, then they would be much more inclined to find better treatments and a cure. Too many people are just accepting of suffering due to them thinking that they are still good people even with much suffering and/or an absence of pleasure in their lives. But I wish to change this mindset so that people would then truly realize once and for all the pleasure and suffering really are the only true good and bad things in life. Not only am I trying to find better treatments and cures for depression and anhedonia, but also for suffering in general. My hedonistic values would also encourage others to find better treatments and cures for suffering in general as well. This would also even include mortality since living in an eternal blissful life of no suffering is the one and only good and greatest life there is and is the one and only thing that would make you the greatest person.
     
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  5. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    . . . then one day MattMVS7 meets a masochist and his head explodes . . . .
     
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  7. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    The flaw in your argument is that there is some sense that pleasure is "good" and suffering is "bad" over and above how they just feel. As if the self-evident feel of pleasure corresponded to an extra moral goodness that makes it justifiable. But that judgement you are making itself assumes an intellectual distinction between pure pleasure as such, and an ethical justification or value for that pleasure. You are already assuming what you are arguing against--that pleasure is not justified in itself as just pleasure, but requires a moral justification that lies outside itself in the realm of value judgment.

    And indeed is this not the case? We do not go around in life simply maximizing our pleasure. We constantly evaluate pleasure as less or more worthwhile in proportion to how it helps us achieve a higher moral state of character or virtue. Likewise we evaluate suffering towards a higher value of achieving some goal we want to attain. IOW, the value of pleasure and suffering does not lie in the mere experience of it as such. We value or disvalue these feelings relative to accomplishing an end or purpose that is separate and above the mere experience of those feelings.
     
  8. MattMVS7 Registered Senior Member

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    Any values we attribute to our pleasure such as us saying that pleasure can be bad, that is the result of our intellect (thoughts). But me saying that pleasure is a version of good in of itself independent of our thoughts has nothing to do with me attributing a value to pleasure. Yes, I am having the thought right now that pleasure is a version of good independent of our thoughts. But that thought is not simply just some value judgement I am attributing to pleasure. Rather, this thought is just simply explaining a fact. It would be no different than if I said that it's a fact that the Earth revolves around the sun. But you then told me in return that this is just some value judgement I am making. It would not be a value judgement I am making. It would be me just simply stating a fact.

    I will go back to my example of someone experiencing pleasure without any thoughts, knowledge, or intelligence. This person might not have any thoughts such as that pleasure is good or anything else. But they will have this pleasant sensation that would drive him/her to do things in his/her life and such. I already explained how this sensation is a version of good in of itself since every other good thing in life besides pleasure are all no different than any other neutral object or function of our brains. All those other things would only be good in a neutral (fake) sense. What I'm saying here is also me stating a fact and not just a matter of me attributing a value judgement.
     
  9. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    But if you assert that the ultimate value is pleasure, you have no need to morally justify it. Pleasure remains just what it is, a self-evident end in itself. There is no need to further value it as good or ethical or of value beyond its immediate satisfaction. This is due to the fact, which you ironically acknowledge, that pleasure can't inherently justify itself. It is given value by us according to our own reasoned ends. Or it is devalued by the same means. If pleasure were an end in itself, noone would ever think to justify it. It wouldn't need justifying. We'd be like animals, lunging for one appetite-filling thing after another.
     
  10. Light Travelling It's a girl O lord in a flatbed Ford Registered Senior Member

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    You can apply the terms good or bad to anything you like . Usually there are social and cultural norms. But that is entirely subjective and sometimes arbitrary how and what they are applies to.

    We all spend our life seeking pleasure and avoiding suffering to greater or lesser degree. These can be said to be the balance of life in a way.
    As side from the more obvious short term pleasure activities, We work to bring more pleasure into our lives by earning more money we can have more pleasure; better food; wine; drive a nice car etc.
    We keep ourselves healthy to avoid the suffering of ill health and physically fit for the pleasure of attracting better quality mates.
    even mundane things like buying insurance or saving money are actually designed for providing future pleasure and avoiding future suffering.

    morals people assign are not to do with pleasure or suffering get themselves, but the things people choose to derive please from (or people's opinion of them)
     
  11. Waiter_2001 Registered Senior Member

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    ...but you cannot have hedonism (living for pleasure alone) without suffering or pain. It is by pain and suffering that pleasure is measured, and it is that pain and suffering that MAKES the pleasure. Without one, we cannot have the other.
     

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