Is happiness more than just pleasure?

Hedonism is the philosophy that pleasure is the most important pursuit of mankind and the proper aim of human life. Talking about pleasure, I came across another stimulating thought experiment. This one is called, “The Experience Machine”.

The Experience Machine is a special device that can give us any experience we would like to endure. For example, if I were to choose something, perhaps it would be: Becoming a famous writer, entering a candy world, being around hundreds of adorable animals, or meditating at the top of a mountain. The experience machine would make me believe that these scenarios are actually happening, while in reality, I’m floating in a tank with electrodes attached to my brain. The question now, is, would I want to be plugged into this machine for the rest of my life? If yes, my life would be preprogrammed to maximise my pleasure. I would be able to live my fondest dreams “from the inside”, and experience what it’s like to live a perfect life. While being plugged into this machine, I would think it’s all real.

The purpose of this experiment is to make us wonder: What is happiness? We all know that this simply structured question isn’t the easiest to answer, in fact philosophers have been debating upon it for years – whether happiness is more than just pleasure.

While reading and putting ourselves into the experiment, I think for some of us it seems as if pleasure might be sufficient for happiness (meaning, we believe in hedonism). But The Experience Machine can actually challenge this idea. If pleasure was enough, I would plug myself into the machine without thinking twice. But most of us would be hesitant. According to Robert Nozick, the American philosopher who created this thought experiment, this is because we want more in life. We all have projects, tasks, activities, and life goals we wish to achieve. And, being plugged into this machine and living a fake life is not a way to fulfil those. This seems to suggest that hedonism is wrong. What do you think?


– SaaniaSparkle 🧚🏻‍♀️

350 thoughts on “Is happiness more than just pleasure?

  1. Yea. This actually makes hedonism seem way off. Pleasure is not equal to happiness. Joy is equal to happiness because it is a state of inner connectedness with being. Pleasure is derived from external sources that is why it can not be sustained because once you remove this external source you are left with emptiness or pain. Pleasure is an emotion, part of the dualistic mind which is subject to the law of opposites but joy or peace are states of being and as such, have no opposite. Hence, temporary happiness can be experienced as pleasure but true Happinness surpasses pleasure to become joy.

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  2. Happiness is a whole set pleasure is only a part of it . There is a very thin layer of happiness on pleasure it can be tear off after sometime but happiness is something which exist independently.

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  3. I like your “what do you think” questions for each post. Hedonism would be considered physical pleasure, in my view. At one time it was forbidden but people did it anyway and then became suppressed by moral codes and punishment. If one could look at it as persistence on a given path through barriers and obstacles, achieving success towards a known goal, it would feel right to me. That would be the simplicity of it.

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  4. I think the greatest happiness is something that transcends. Forgive me for using theological language but it’s just easier: Finding God and how God actually works in our lives. That is the highest happiness. Most world religions agree. Not just Xity. Hindus, for instance, make a distinction between sreya and preya. Sreya is spiritual experience. Preya is worldly experience. The one is higher and lasts forever. The other is lower and ephemeral. 🙂

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  5. This is a really interesting topic. I think that there is some validation in headonism but sometimes it’s about the journeys we go through, the darkness d some of those journeys that can really bring us joy when we come to the pleasure of getting through that bad experience that can teach us greater joy and bring us greater joy in some respects. That’s what I’ve found anyway

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      1. Hi there, Saania Sparkle. You were kind enough to attend my BOOL wake, so I’ve been meaning to drop by and check out your philosophy posts. Great to encounter questing curious minds!

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  6. Sometimes I want to be neutral. I don’t want to happy or sad but to just exist, you know. I believe that anything in excess will wear off its magic, so too much of happiness might not be pleasant after a certain point.


  7. “Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.” – Victor Frankl


    1. “Wow- all this new is gr8 joy, memos do come in handy like surprise others as well.. 11/9 Nov. Mon.…” Oh, yes. And, alas, I’ve been there.

      ok,… Blue!… living inside journal street,? I’ll be aware–

      mass what’s going; setts do … ahu! slept

      Real then seemed, of,…. antagonize euphoria, NJ — A —

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      “Incomplete? ‘ I ‘ preyed – Appreciate All The Eyes, I Thought Back-, thinking beat which friendly- thick deep pawn…” “11/9 Nov. Mon. 2020 6:57pm imagery��{ Day-Light Savings Dawn- 3nding } “Script lyric” Last Minute; D3co’s’Pear Relax I could… […]…”

      “Wow- all this new is gr8 joy, memos do come in handy like surprise others as well.. 11/9 Nov. Mon.…””Better???”

      this one

      Beautiful words

      Daria Nicolodi dies at 70—

      Ronna has had an extremely rough past, including an extensive history of parental abuse that has left her thin-skinned and suspicious of authority figures. Because of this, she’s constantly butting heads with our management team and confronting them about perceived slights.

      While some of the points she makes are reasonable, many are taken too personally or blown way out of proportion, and she tends to act very dramatic/livid about it. I’m looking to move up in the company, and I’m torn between loyalty to my friend and the need to remain on good terms with our higher-ups. I’m also worried that my friendliness with management will lead to Ronna resenting or distrusting me. How can I safely navigate? — IN THE MIDDLE IN COLORADO

      DEAR IN THE MIDDLE: Do not involve yourself in Ronna’s problems on the job. If you do, they will spill over onto you. Maintain your personal relationship with her away from the office, while networking and trying to widen your circle of friends.

      From what you have written, I doubt that Ronna will be working for your employer much longer. Workers who react in a “very dramatic/livid” manner are usually laid off because their behavior is unprofessional and disruptive. Lyrics on a high note concerned about more then just one Homicidal Scisidel


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  9. I Love you all Everyone through Jesus-Yeshua Christ, because HE LOVED EVERYONE FIRST!! 💕 Praise Jesus-Yeshua Christ for Today and Everyday!!

    “Happiness keeps You Sweet, Trials keep You Strong, Sorrows keep You Human, Failures keeps You Humble, Success keeps You Glowing, But Only GOD keeps You Going.”!! Amen-Amein Praise Christ-Messiah Jesus-Yeshua Hallelujah!!

    Love 💕 Always and Shalom, YSIC \o/

    Kristi Ann

    Liked by 1 person

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