Being Happy: Leading a Good Life
People have a different idea and perspective of what happiness entails and how one can attain it. Feldman believes that the notion of happiness or fun is constantly misunderstood, which is why it has drifted from the love of music, wine, and women to rock n roll, drugs, and sex (Feldman, Heidoism: A Preliminary Formulation, 2004). The idea of leading a happy or good life depends on a person. Some people may feel that one thing makes them happy while it is the contrary to another group of people. The view about happiness is often misguided; thus, pleasure can be anything that manages to get a person from pain (Feldman, Heidoism: A Preliminary Formulation, 2004). This argument leads one to question whether what they refer as pleasure is duly so or it is just a misguided perspective that they perceive as so because it does not cause them pain.
Chapter two of the book by Fred Feldman poses a challenge to the definition of pleasure and happiness. It maintains that the idea of either depends on a person and it cannot be considered as rightfully so. The argument shows that there is a difference between pleasure and happiness. This shows that one can experience pleasure at a time when he or she is not happy (Feldman, Heidoism: A Preliminary Formulation, 2004). Therefore, there are times that people may fail to discern between the two. They may feel like they are experiencing both whiles, in turn, they are just experiencing one. This has presented a certain change in the view about leading a good life. This is because happiness is all around while pleasure can be specific. Therefore, it is important to try and attain happiness rather than pleasure.
Chapter three of the book offers a few objection and critiques about the issue of happiness and pleasure. This shows that pleasure and happiness are often misunderstood, and people may end up having different ideas on what brings about a happy effect or a pleasure feeling. One particular argument stands out, as it hits out on what most people believe to be true; there are some pleasures which are worthless (Feldman, Classic Objections to Hedoism, 2004). This argument is proven to be true in everyday life as people engage in activities that may end up having a disastrous effect on their lives. For instance, people engage in drugs for pleasure or to escape pain while these may prove worthless in the long run.
Some people find pleasure in bad things, and thus they may experience what they love in an activity that may, in turn, offer bad results. One may feel a certain notion of satisfaction and momentous happiness by doing something which may be regarded as bad. However, this does mean that finding pleasure in the bad is right (Feldman, Classic Objections to Hedoism, 2004). Therefore, the idea of happiness is supposed to be all round. It does not often regard to the happiness of one person on the expense of another.
This chapter shows that there are limitations to both happiness and pleasure and presents an argument proving that pleasure may not necessarily offer happiness as it is temporary. Sexual enjoyments can often cause pleasure, but that does not mean that they will eventually lead to happiness. This shows that life is not merely made up of happy moments. A person may have the feeling that they are happy while doing something, while the consequences may cause them remorse and sadness.
The book by Chaffee poses a great challenge on the issue of happiness and freedom. People often feel unhappy if their freedom is restricted. However, outside sources tend to influence how people act and react and thus they may eventually be the major determinants of happiness (Chaffee, 2008). Other forces often guide people, and that is why people are granted the opportunity to consider and reconsider before they do something so as to ensure they do not harm others. It is possible to attain happiness at the expense of others, but this will eventually lead to a guilty conscience.
People are granted with the chance to choose what they want to do and how they respond to certain things. Therefore, people can be the determinant of their happiness. The argument about social dynamics states that people are a social creature and they are greatly influenced by the people around them (Chaffee, 2008). This brings out the feeling that people can be happier if they manage to make the people around them happy. This means that people will feel more satisfied if they have a good relationship with the people around them. It also implies that people will embrace happiness more if they manage to implicate it on others.
These readings show that happiness depends on both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. People have the chance to choose their happiness, but they can only achieve this if they can consider all factors. Therefore, people should understand that pleasure differs from happiness and that individuals are not the sole determinant of their happiness.
Chaffee, J. (2008). Are You the Master of Your Fate? In J. Chaffee, The Philosopher’s Way (pp. 158-175). Pearson.
Feldman, F. (2004). Classic Objections to Hedoism. In F. Feldman, Pleasure and the Good Life (pp. 38-43). Oxford.
Feldman, F. (2004). Heidoism: A Preliminary Formulation. In F. Feldman, Pleasure and the Good Life (pp. 21-34). Oxford.