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Topics - Erebos

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The Lounge / American English vs. English English
« on: March 09, 2007, 06:20:45 PM »
I'm quite dumbfounded on this. Why the bloody fuck did we Americans have to make up our own trivially different variation of the already perfectly find English language? We screw up the measuring system with our retarded foot system, and must also fuck with the English language! Really, why the hell did we need to switch the e and r in theatre to get theater? And why the hell is this browser telling me that theatre is spelled wrong? Fucking Americans.

And then Christopher Columbus had to fucking make people think the world is spherical! Jesus Christ, even the first "American" has to screw with reason. What the hell was wrong with a flat earth? Christ ...

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Pleasure
« on: March 09, 2007, 03:54:30 PM »
We've just finished studying the bits of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics on the nature of pleasure and it's purpose. I found it quite interesting, as the topic has always been of particular interest to me (being extremely anti-materialist and anti-hedonist). His works seemed to put my own thoughts into a much better and cohesive explanation.

Basically he states that pleasure is a product of partaking in activities that are good in themselves, but seeking pleasure as an end in itself is unsatisfying and truly even less basely pleasurable. He stated that things should be sought because they are positive and good, and not simply in search of a reward (pleasure). The reason was that by seeking pleasure one is seeking the result of a good work, rather than the good work itself; kind of like seeking a paycheck while not really doing the work so vigorously (or actually even more like working for a paycheck rather than for the satisfaction of accomplishing something in the work itself). By seeking pleasure one lowers his aims to a shallow and basic level, one of inhibition rather than reasoning (note: the highest human good). He stated that doing things for the good of the activities in themselves would gleam the most positive effects; while maybe not bringing instant gratification, it would in the long run be much more satisfying, deeply satisfying. This is something like the concept of raising children; it certainly isn't always pleasurable and instantly gratifying to raise a little brat, but seeing one grow into a great individual is much more deeply satisfying and lastingly satisfying than any immediate pleasure -- a sense of accomplishment, a kind of higher pleasure taken from doing something good in itself.

He also emphasized moderation between the two extremes of pleasure, one that lives for pleasure (hedonism) and one that rejects it entirely. The best way to live is to not reject pleasure as bad, but to also not live for it, rather to accept it as a simple surface "thing" that is of no real substance itself: neither good or bad. One can take pleasure in things, and naturally should -- as it is the natural motivation and "label" of things that are good when sought for their good. An example of this would be ... a glutton lives for food, the food in itself, the pleasure of eating the food, and goes far beyond the base good of the food (sustenance); while an anorexic avoids food as they see it bad in itself (well, anorexic wouldn't be the best term -- more like a life-faster who sees pleasure in food as evil); both of those lead to bad health and have negative effects, the first on both body and mind, the second primarily on body but maybe arguably on mind as well -- so the best way would be to eat and not be afraid to take pleasure in the food, but to eat mainly for the sustenance. The pleasure is not a main motivator for the rational, just a surface quality of good acts; with some acts not even having it at all, except a greater and deeper sense of pleasure and satisfaction that the end (these are acts of reasoning & intellect).

My favorite philosopher, Nietzsche, had a base picture of pleasure like Aristotle (as this picture is basically the accepted philosophic idea by all intelligent non-liberal philosophers), but went further on it. He said that taking actions based upon pleasure is becoming a slave to the body, to the inhibitions of the body, which are suicidal when not creative (drive for pleasure not being creative, inspiration and imagination being creative), and never positive to treat as master or embodiment of ones goals (as most do today in our loveless sex stricken hedonistic materialistic society). He stated that following one's inhibitions (drives that make one "want" pleasure and "wish to" avoid pain) are not who one is, but entirely separate and should not be heeded as part of oneself -- just as guides to look upon rationally. He stated that satisfaction is achieved through striving for things which oneself sees as good, individually and not as a slave to inhibitions; but part of a greater reason -- transcending mere physical existence to one on a higher mental level that is truly satisfying unlike basic pleasure. He stated that any philosophy that ends with pleasure is flawed, that pleasure is in itself meaningless and hollow, just a surface quality of some things, and that the real quality was in strength, in overcoming and becoming stronger -- not attaining comfort. Comfort is foolish and for the weak, it is striving and attaining strength, overcoming hardship and experiencing that is good.

I agree with both absolutely. Pleasure is meaningless to strive for, it should be the striving in itself that is valued -- the quest, the journey, the hardship, experience, growing, learning, becoming stronger; not attaining comfort, pleasure, riches, etc. Such should never be wanting, one should always wish to continue living; not become placid and stale sitting on a couch masturbating and eating twinkies.

So, thoughts?
What do you think pleasure is?
Is seeking pleasure in itself good or bad or?
What do you think of Utilitarianism?

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