The search for pleasure is the search for god

Is there a God? If so, what is She like?

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Nikolai
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The search for pleasure is the search for god

Post by Nikolai »

The search for pleasure is the search for God, and the taste of pleasure is the taste of God.

Some pleasures are brief and related to specific situations – we call these ‘pleasures’. Some pleasures last long and are felt in many different situations – we call this ‘God’

Normal life is a long, laborious attempt to gain pleasure in as many specific situations as possible. We go to great lengths in order to experience what we and others around us view as pleasurable. The normal person is therefore stupid and unskilful…but they understand pleasure, therefore they understand God.

The spectrum of normality spans between two poles:

1) Those who gain shallow pleasures from a wide array of situations. We all know these people. They have fun but no delight. They have many interests but no passions. They are well adjusted to society. Extremes of this type find nearly everything ‘quite fun’. Their pleasures are of quantity not quality.

2) Those who gain deep pleasures from specific situations. These are enthusiasts who are devoted to one abiding passion. Here it is about quality, not quantity and the extreme of this type is the alcoholic or drug-taker.

These two poles represent the searching and the finding of God in normal society. All people already know God in their own way.

Normal life also encompasses what we normally consider the religious life. The type 1 normal person who happens to belong to a religious community will live a constant round of nice services, cake sales and edifying activities for the youngsters. The type 2 normal will be shut up in his flat, arousing his kundalini and experiencing pure bliss.

None of this has anything to do with the life of expertise. The expert is the person who can combine the euphoric depths of the drug-taker with the breadth of the fun-seeker. The expert is the saint. The saint has found God in his depths wherever he happens to look.

To become the expert you must become bored and disgusted with all your pleasures. This is very rare – people are normally having too much fun.

For the type 1 to become a saint they must ask themselves “is there more to life than this?” But few receive the grace to ask that question.

For the type 2 to become saint they must ask themselves: “are there other ways of getting this bliss or must I remain closed off all my life?” But to explore this question means walking away from their bliss and few have the grace to do that.

In summary, normal life IS the spiritual life. Cultivation is simply deepening or broadening what we already have and know.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: The search for pleasure is the search for god

Post by Immanuel Can »

You forgot the indefinite article in your heading.
duszek
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Re: The search for pleasure is the search for god

Post by duszek »

One could see it that way, yes.

Let me try something similar:

One needs a balance between sensuous pleasure (food, drink, etc.) and intellectual pleasure.
A balance between Dionysos and Apollo.

If you overdo one of the two you suffer.

Thomas Aquinas used his brains and did not neglect eating, drinking, walking etc.

He was not perfect, of course.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: The search for pleasure is the search for god

Post by Immanuel Can »

Is your view a form of deontology or a form of consequentialism?

If it's a deontology, from whence comes our "duty" to believe in it or practice what it requires?

If it's a consequentialism, is it a material consequentialism, or a so-called "enlightened" consequentialism? i.e. Does it identify material pleasures as the objective, or so called "higher" pleasures like the delight in philosophy, or does it deny that dichotomy altogether?
Ginkgo
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Re: The search for pleasure is the search for god

Post by Ginkgo »

Immanuel Can wrote:Is your view a form of deontology or a form of consequentialism?

If it's a deontology, from whence comes our "duty" to believe in it or practice what it requires?

If it's a consequentialism, is it a material consequentialism, or a so-called "enlightened" consequentialism? i.e. Does it identify material pleasures as the objective, or so called "higher" pleasures like the delight in philosophy, or does it deny that dichotomy altogether?

I guess you last question would be very difficult to answer. It would depend on the consequentialist you asked. So many variations on a theme.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: The search for pleasure is the search for god

Post by Immanuel Can »

Indeed. It is a complex field. I'm just trying to figure out where Nikolai, Duszek et al are happy to position themselves on the spectrum. No point in discussing if we don't discuss what they actually want to advance, right?
Ginkgo
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Re: The search for pleasure is the search for god

Post by Ginkgo »

Immanuel Can wrote:Indeed. It is a complex field. I'm just trying to figure out where Nikolai, Duszek et al are happy to position themselves on the spectrum. No point in discussing if we don't discuss what they actually want to advance, right?
Sounds fair enough
duszek
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Re: The search for pleasure is the search for god

Post by duszek »

It seems like I have opened a can of worms, Mr Can.

De-ontology ? :|

Consequentialism ? :|

A hierarchy of pleasures, yes, let me pitch into this one.

A eats a fifth ice-cream and puts on weight.
Or he suffers from the frustration of not eating a fifth ice-cream and enjoys being slim.

The pleasure of eating something sweet conflicts with the pleasure of moving swiftly and in a good shape.

One cannot serve two gods at a time. One cannot enjoy two conflicting pleasures at a time.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::

With some kind tutoring I will help to place myself in the spectrum. :D
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Immanuel Can
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Re: The search for pleasure is the search for god

Post by Immanuel Can »

Sorry. I didn't mean to be obscure. My fault.

Let me put it in common language:

Deontology: The means justify the ends -- do the "right" thing now, and leave the outcome to chance. Do your duty, don't try to play God and control outcomes. You can't anyway. Oh, and also, treat people as valuable in themselves, not for what you can get out of them.

Consequentialism: The ends justify the means -- aim at the right outcome, then use what means you may need to get there. Forget the idea of duty and the idea of "rightness now"; you can only be "right" if you get the "right" outcomes. We can argue about what those outcomes are, but you've got to aim at something.

Of course, these two conflict. For example, if someone asks you "Do these trousers make my backside look big?" You can be a deontologist and say, "I cannot tell a lie; they do," or you can be a consequentialist and consider how that will embarrass you, what damage it might do to our friendship, etc., and say, "No, they look great."

The one thing ALL ethicist can agree on is that it is *not* the right answer to say, "Yes, but don't blame the trousers; they're doing the best they can." :wink:
duszek
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Re: The search for pleasure is the search for god

Post by duszek »

Thank you Mr Can. You explanations are very helpful.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::..

One could replace "aim" by "pleasure" in this context, because pleasure is something everybody aims at.

Deontology: The means justifies the pleasure.

Consequentialism: The pleasure justifies the means.


I cannot think of good examples at the moment.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

The other option is to replace "means" by pleasure:

Deontology: The pleasure justifies the aim.
Consequentialism: The aim justifies the pleasure.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

That way we have got four combinations.

I will have to think it all over and see which of the four applies most to my motivations.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: The search for pleasure is the search for god

Post by Immanuel Can »

Yes, I think you've got it.

Classical utilitarianism is usually the starting point for discussions of Consequentialism. It holds that "the greatest amount of pleasure for the greatest number of people" is the basic value. Critics worry that this means you can do whatever hellish thing you want to produce that result, or perform whatever indignity you require upon minorities, justifying your actions on the basis that they will, in the end, produce the most pleasure for the most people.

Deontologists don't usually talk about pleasure as a motive, but perhaps more about duty and rightness in the present moment, and leaving consequences to change. Critics worry that this means you will be irresponsible and puritanical in the present moment, washing your hands of whatever long term damage may appear from your fierce personal rectitude. Kant, the patron saint of Deontology, even said that if you had a friend hiding in your house and the authorities came to arrest him, and they asked you, "Is your friend here?" you were morally responsible to answer "Yes," since lying is just plain wrong. But must people find that sort of strictness counterintuitive.

I suspect you could only really mean something Consequentialist, but maybe not...maybe you have some unusual form of Deontology in mind. I shall wait patiently to see what you decide.
duszek
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Re: The search for pleasure is the search for god

Post by duszek »

Yes, you are right.

Utilitarianism must be consequentialism.

Pleasure is the aim of my actions, its desired result. It justifies the means.

But if there is a conflict of pleasures ?
Your pleasure is my suffering ?

For example my neighbour feels pleasure while listening to rock music in high volume while I get migraine from it.

While he gets headaches from my listening to Mozart´s sopranos.

:::::::::::::::::::

Another constellation:

No matter what the final result is if the way to get there is pleasurable then let me do it ?

This does not make much sense to me.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: The search for pleasure is the search for god

Post by Immanuel Can »

For example my neighbour feels pleasure while listening to rock music in high volume while I get migraine from it.

While he gets headaches from my listening to Mozart´s sopranos.
Good example of the problem on the small scale. Of course it also remains problematic when the stakes get higher.

No matter what the final result is if the way to get there is pleasurable then let me do it ?

This does not make much sense to me.
Yes, and with good reason: it's crazy. There can be no deontology of pleasure, no "moral duty to produce immediate feelings of happiness." Deontology presupposes a disconnect between what we want and what we really ought to do. Nevertheless, it seems there are people who believe that "making yourself happy" is some sort of sacred duty, and feel entitled to do anything to anyone in pursuit of their own personal sense of fulfillment or their own pursuit of happiness.

Nevertheless, if "pleasure" is the value around which we orient our ethics, then it could only mean Consequentialism. Deontology won't work for that.

Good insights.
duszek
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Re: The search for pleasure is the search for god

Post by duszek »

Could a drug addict be an example of deontology of pleasure ?

No matter how disastrous the result when the pleasure is over the way to get there is pleasurable so let me do it.

But he focuses on the small result of having a bliss and does not think of the bad result which waits for him after the pleasure is over.

How about an artist painter using cocaine to get inspiration for his work ?
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Immanuel Can
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Re: The search for pleasure is the search for god

Post by Immanuel Can »

Could a drug addict be an example of deontology of pleasure ?
No, because deontology implies "duty," as in "I have a duty to do X, no matter how I feel about it or what I hope to gain from it." It would be hard to see how one would ever have a duty to do drugs.

Drug addicts do what they do because they have a particular outcome in view, called a "high." If they were deontologists, they would *not* be wanting to take the drugs, but would be cognizant that they had a duty to take them anyway. It's hard to make sense of that suggestion.
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