Why can’t we just be happy?
Why do things have to be difficult?
Why can’t we just enjoy life and feel good all the time?
I mean, it’s such a simple question, and I think many people would just say, you know, life sucks, life is difficult, and you can’t enjoy it all the time.
But when I was younger, I always wanted to imagine, well, how do that life can’t just be fun all the time?
Why do you have to have this suffering?
Maybe this suffering comes from having the wrong attitude towards life, and really, if we just let ourselves just enjoy it, then life can just be fun the whole time.
But of course, I learned that it doesn’t really work that way.
Another obvious message.
Because as much as enjoyment is, of course, an important part of life, and we all have to enjoy ourselves sometimes, but anytime I made fun and pleasure the centre of my life, when I made it the most important thing, I’d always find it slipping away.
It would always just- the more I focused on it, the harder it would be to get.
And on the other hand, when I focused less on having fun and more on doing good things, and more on what I’m doing rather than about what I’m feeling, then those tended to be more fun and more enjoyable times.
So why can’t we just have fun?
Well, one of the reasons goes back to the ancient philosophers.
And I’m not sure which ones were saying this.
I think maybe it was- I think a lot of them said it.
Maybe the Stoics as well.
It was just a general idea, that pleasure is something moving.
Pleasure is in a change.
Pleasure is a change of state.
Pleasure is not a state.
You cannot be in a state of pleasure.
Pleasure is the movement from one state to another.
So if you pursue pleasure, you’re pursuing this ever changing thing that it’s never there.
You can never grasp it.
You can never rest in it.
You can never keep it.
It’s always going to be fleeting.
And so the more you try to chase it, it’s just like trying to dig water.
And it’s just not going to stay.
For example, if we’re hungry, and then we eat: so we feel good in that change from being hungry to being satisfied.
Same with sleeping, with sex, with achieving a goal.
We are satisfied in the change of our state.
But we can never rest in the state of pleasure.
And when we do, we try to maintain that one state, we try to remain in that one state, then it’s like we want to preserve it.
We want to keep that state going.
But instead it becomes this kind of degeneration, this disintegration, where we’re just sort of crumbling, or just sort of just like collapsing into a blob, gradually, because we’re trying to maintain some kind of state that cannot be maintained.
And so we’re just sitting there.
Or it’s like trying to fight against the motion of time itself and trying to fight to keep a moment alive.
That feeling of fighting against time.
“I want this moment to last.
I just don’t want this moment to end.”
And it’s it’s such a frustrating, miserable thing, because time does keep going, and whatever feeling we have in the moment always fades.
And so there’s nothing new in this message, it’s been there since ancient times, but it took me a long time to really take this message to heart and really understand that there is no point in pursuing pleasure as a central goal in life.
It’s something that comes as a byproduct of the things that we do, and it’s always something that comes in fleeting moments, and so that there’s no point in trying to preserve it.
And instead, we can set up the conditions for future pleasure to arise, and that’s a better use of our time than directly pursuing pleasure.
And on the bright side, the other side of this is that, just as pleasure is fleeting and momentary and expresses a change of state, it’s the same with pain.
If we’re feeling a sense of anxiety, pain, a sense of dissatisfaction: all of those feelings are feelings that are temporary, that pass with time.
And if it is something that’s being renewed, if the pain is being renewed and seems to be continuing, there must be something that’s refreshing that pain, that keeps bringing it back.
And so just as pleasure will not last forever, neither will pain.
It seems like these have become such a central focus of so much of everyday life that it’s easy to focus on pleasure and pain.
But if we can move to the next level behind them: focus on the causes of pleasure and pain, and set up our lives for better future conditions.
That’s the better use of our time than focusing so much on directly achieving these fleeting states of pleasure and avoiding these fleeting states of pain.
#permahappy #pleasureneverlasts #happinessneverlasts