My brother-in-law (who used to work with children) tells the story, of how a class of children were offered chocolate bars. BUT, there was a decision to be made….they could
A. Opt to have ONE chocolate bar right now….OR
B. Have THREE chocolate bars…..but they would have to wait for three hours before they got them.
Well, the majority of kids opted for instant gratification – the chocolate bar RIGHT NOW ( absolutely correct response, take the bird in the hand, and then gang up on the poor idiot who chose to wait, DUH). While I forget the moral of the tale – I can COMPLETELY relate to the concept of instant gratification…
A. Drink a glass of wine RIGHT NOW….then
B. Drink the rest IMMEDIATELY afterwards…….
Most of us ex-guzzlers can relate to the principle of immediate pleasure. Even after quitting, the habit of seeking out immediate pleasure continues as we substitute wine for cake, or chocolate bars (and no, I didn’t wait for three hours, what a dumb experiment), or fizzy sugary drinks, as we wean ourselves off the poison.
But then, we realize that although this is pleasurable, it doesn’t make us happy….
Aristotle was the first guy to figure out that pleasure and happiness are two different dudes (well, he may not have been the first, but it was a long time ago).
Pleasure is just a chocolate bar. Happiness, you have to work at.
Aristotle referred to virtue, which sounds dull, but if you think about it…….if I virtuously go out for a run, it may not (definitely not) be pleasurable, but the feeling of accomplishment, and smugness when it’s over, will make me happy.
Filling in my tax return, is FAR FROM pleasurable, but the feeling of accomplishment and virtue that I feel when I submit it, will make me happy…..OK, that’s a bad example, but you get the gist.
The point I’m trying to make here, is that we have to stop seeking the easy pleasurable option, because it doesn’t last. It doesn’t add to our long term well being. And that pleasure seeking trait is what got us into the mess in the first place.
We have to start making the effort. Being virtuous. Working for that happiness.
Ok, where’s that kid with the chocolate bars?
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