Happiness vs. Pleasure


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Many people, I am sure, view happiness and pleasure as being the same thing. I’m not one of them.

To me, the long and short of it is as follows (in no particular order):

  • Happiness comes from within; pleasure is the result of an external stimulus.
  • Happiness is a state of being; pleasure is a fleeting moment in time.
  • Happiness can exist, even thrive at times, in unpleasant circumstances; pleasure flees from unpleasant circumstances.
  • Happiness may seem remote or non-existent in stressful or sad times, but it never truly goes away; pleasure is never truly present in similar circumstances.
  • Happiness is the natural state of a child when properly nurtured and cared for; pleasure-seeking is the natural state of the child and adult when happiness is not present.
  • When happiness is present, there is a feeling of spiritual fullness; when pleasure is present, there is a feeling of physical and/or emotional fullness.
  • With happiness comes contentment; with pleasure comes the knowledge that it doesn’t last and we’d better enjoy it while we can.
  • When happiness is gone, there is comfort in knowing that it will come back; when pleasure is gone, there is a feeling of emptiness that cannot be filled except through finding another pleasurable moment.
  • Happiness seeks to fulfill something beyond self; pleasure seeks to be fulfilled in self.
  • Happiness is self-love; pleasure is self-absorption.
  • Happiness is connected with one’s higher- or God-self; pleasure is connected only to self.
  • Happiness is permanent, although not always present; pleasure is temporary and lasts only as long as it can be held onto.

While some may argue one or more of these points, I think they will pretty much stand up to scrutiny. At any rate, I do not propose to argue them.

Some say there are always exceptions to every rule. While this is generally true, I do not propose these points as rules, but guidelines only, something to measure one’s moment by.

I think it’s important to take the time to measure where we’re at on this good ship, mother earth. Do we want something that lasts or are we merely content to live from one pleasurable moment to the next?

Only you and I can answer that.

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