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240 viewsAll GS PapersGS Paper 4
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Approach:

  1. Define pleasure and happiness.
  2. State the difference b/w the two.
  3. Argue that humans should aspire for happiness rather than pleasure.

Pleasure is the enjoyable feeling we experience when a state of deprivation is replaced by a state of satiation or fulfilment. While happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being which can be defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.

Differences:

  • The primary difference between the two attributes is that pleasure is external and happiness is internal. Pleasure is event dependent, while happiness is a state of mind.
  • Pleasure is primarily bodily or sensual in character. E.g. eating, drinking, and having sex induce pleasure. Happiness, on the other hand, is usually less immediately tied down to the body. We may characterize it as belonging more to the mind or spirit than to the body.
  • Pleasure generally seems to be of shorter duration than happiness. This stems from the nature of pleasure itself. Happiness, on the other hand, seems to lie in the realization of certain goals, hopes, or plans for one’s life.
  • Happiness may encompass both pleasure and pain. For e.g. woman giving birth to the child. She may experience quite a bit of pain during and after the delivery, but she may still feel happy. On the other hand, it is possible that someone is experiencing pleasure but not feeling happy. For e.g. a person who is a drug addict may derive pleasure from drugs but he/she is not happy with his/her life.

Humans should aspire for happiness rather than pleasure:

The pursuit of pleasure involves feeling good in the short-term, and if overdone, creates a risk of negative long-term outcomes; the pursuit of happiness consists of intentional activities and habits that promote long term health and well-being. It is important for humans to not chase pleasures blindly as they are short lived. It may not bring contentment in life and often person may end up taking wrong decisions and later regret their decisions.

For e.g. People who indulge in adultery, may derive short term pleasures, but, they break the trust and ruin the relationship with the partner and often regret their actions later. This could also create issues in the family and ruin the environment for children too.

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