Hedonism is Overrated – to Make the Best of Life There Must Be Pain, Says This Yale Professor
(Link): Hedonism is Overrated – to Make the Best of Life There Must Be Pain, Says This Yale Professor
The most satisfying lives are those which involve challenge, fear and struggle, says psychologist Paul Bloom
Jan 23, 2022
by Paul Bloom
The simplest theory of human nature is hedonism– – we pursue pleasure and comfort. Suffering and pain are, by their very nature, to be avoided. The spirit of this view is nicely captured in The Epic of Gilgamesh:
“Let your belly be full, enjoy yourself always by day and by night! Make merry each day, dance and play day and night… For such is the destiny of men.”
And also by the Canadian rock band Trooper: “We’re here for a good time / Not a long time / So have a good time / The sun can’t shine every day.”
…But I think hedonism is an awful theory. My latest book, The Sweet Spot: Suffering, Pleasure, and the Key to a Good Life, makes the case for a different theory of what people want.
I argue that we don’t only seek pleasure, we also want to live meaningful lives– – and this involves willingly experiencing pain, anxiety, and struggle. We see value in chosen suffering.
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