Up@dawn 2.0

Thursday, February 16, 2017

-Pleasure, Happiness, and Joy-

What is pleasure? Is pleasure good? Is pleasure bad? Does it last? Why should I care? These are questions that I think we often ask, but do we actually care? Maybe people take pleasure in not caring about what the world thinks, and just living their life "without a care in the world". I think pleasure is almost more of a chemical thing in our brains. A release of endorphins that give us, yes, temporary  comfort or this word we are using; pleasure. When we think of pleasure in this sense, you could assign I guess most physical things that bring people a brief relatively instantaneous comfort, high, spark, or adrenaline boost. Something that you could call pleasurable. So, if that's how you look at it, then you could create an exhaustive list of things that would inherently fit into this catagory. Things like working out, going for a hike, reading a novel, smoaking a joint, having sex, eating food, spending money, just to name a few. I guess my point is that these things are temporary, and although they bring us pleasure, they do not last. They therefore do not make us who we are, nor do they bring us what I would consider happiness. 

What then is happiness? If happiness is not these fleeting pleasures that I just talked about, then what is it? Is it better or worse than pleasure? Is it something that we should be looking for in our lives, or is it something that we inherently should be because we are alive? I think that happiness is somewhat like quality of life. Are you happy with where you are, and what you are doing? If not, then why are you continuing to do those things. Are you happy in your job? Are you happy in school? Are you happy in your family? If the answer to any of those things is no, then do whatever is in your power to change the situation. If you are not happy in school, then figure out why you are in school. If you are in school to get a better job and you are not happy with your grades, then work harder and get better grades. If you do not know why you are in school, and the whole idea of school does not make sense to you (not if you are lazy and just don't want to do your schoolwork), then get out of school and make a life for yourself a different way. If you are not happy with your job or your car, make the steps to change your situation. I think what I am trying to say is that happiness is about your circumstances. It is a realitively longer lasting thing then pleasure, but what I believe is that it is still just a situational thing. If you are not happy living the life that you are living right now, then make the necessary steps to change it so that you are happy. With that being said, I still believe there is one more step to this staircase, one more rung on this ladder. I believe that while pleasure if fleeting and happiness is situational, there is something that can allow us to be content, strong, and at peace with who we are in the mist of life; joy. 

What is joy? Where does it come from? How do we get this thing called joy? I believe that joy is the strength that is not fleeting, nor is it situational. I believe joy is a peace in knowing who we are. I know that my situation will change, that I will face harships, and I know I will be stressed out beyon what I can bear. And I know that no amount of pleasure reading, Netflix, sex, working out, hiking, or romance will be able to satisfy me or bring me constant and fulfilling happiness all the time. But I also know that I do not have to be happy all the time. I know I have a purpose in this life. I have a reason to be alive, and that brings me more comfort than any fleeting pleasure will ever bring. I know that I can withstand the challenges of this life but it is not through the strength that I possess on my own, nor is it because I have lived a "good life". I find my joy and my peace through the grace of Jesus Christ. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am a child of God, that I am created in the image of the One True God. I find peace in the fact that I am loved, and cherished in his sight no matter what I have done, or what I ever will do because of His grace. I know he has a plan for me and it is not for destruction nor is it to harm me. And because or this peace, and comfort in his arms, I am not afraid of what tomorrow will bring. I face it with the confidence that He has given me. The beauty of this joy is that it is sepperate from pleasure, and happiness. I say that to stay that my circumstances may change, and I may face hardships and I may loose a job, and I may loose someone close to me, but I know that everything that happens is for a reason, and I trust my God to bring me  though it. I know to count it joy when I face hardships because it produces perseverance, and strength though the hardships (James 1:2). I can be joyful when I am not happy. I can be joyful when life sucks, and that brings me hope and peace in life. 

Pleasure is fleeting, happiness is situational, and joy is lasting. I can say with the Apostle Paul that if God is for me who can be against me, and that brings me overwhelming joy and peace. 

 - Nathan Stickles


  1. 8
    Can't pleasure ultimately lead to happiness and/or joy? With no doubt, pleasure is fleeting, but I believe people find happiness in whatever they see pleasurable. It starts out with "it" being pleasurable and then eventually that dies down or lasts only for a short amount of time, but that's when it gets replaced by happiness; hence it is situational. Sure, pleasure, happiness, nor joy is everlasting. I think that you can't really find happiness without first seeking pleasure, and then that happiness becomes joy. For example, you mentioned working out; when a person goes to the gym, they may have pleasure, or euphoria, or whatever they feel. Once they are finished, that feeling diminishes but it gets replaced with a more subdued pleasure (i.e. happiness). Another example is a song; the first time you listen to a good song that you like is great, and it makes you feel good. But the more and more you listen to that song, its value is depleted, yet you still like it but not as the first time you heard it; you went from pleasure to simply happiness, and finally joy. I guess in a way, I am relating "joy" to peace and tranquility rather than excessive satisfaction. And while hardships and tribulations may seem like a terrible thing, but I can see how one can use that to fundamentally focus on the good rather than the bad, and thus finding lasting joy (hope and peace).

  2. "if God is for me who can be against me, and that brings me overwhelming joy and peace" - you're not going to like Aristotle's God, who isn't personally "for" any of us. That would explain the periodic outbursts of un-peace such as we've lately been living through.