Pleasure Paradox

General philosophy discussions. If you are not sure where to place your thread, please post it here. Share favorite quotes, discuss philosophers, and other topics.

Pleasure Paradox

Postby Inrealtime87 on November 30th, 2017, 9:06 pm 

Does the pleasure paradox apply to money? Much like sex, money is only a means to an end. Except, unlike the pleasure experienced from sex, the law of diminishing returns does not apply. If someone has a gazillion dollars, they can earn another gazillion dollars. Still how does money relate to pleasure in this situation? Both are indirect effects of another goal. Pleasure is an indirect effect of the need to procreate and money the indirect effect of pursuit of "happiness". "Happiness" being food, water, shelter, recreational activities ,etc. Both are indirect effects and at the same time necessary means to an end. I need money for some semblance of "happiness", and I need pleasure to orgasm, yet the pursuit of money defies the pleasure paradox, in that it is an indirect effect and is not subject to the law of diminishing returns.So can money be considered an end, instead of a means, and can the pleasure paradox even be applied to money?
Inrealtime87
Forum Neophyte
 
Posts: 21
Joined: 30 Nov 2017
Lomax liked this post


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby Lomax on November 30th, 2017, 9:26 pm 

I would dispute your claim that money does not follow a law of diminishing returns. At least, the pleasure we get from it does follow such a law. As long as it satisfies its part in the heirarchy of needs I don't think it can do much more.

Psychology Today claims that money only makes us happy up to an annual income of about 40,000 USD. Perhaps that's just because we're not spending it right. I'm pleased to see that the article contends that money, beauty and religion only have small (and indirect) psychological benefits, while narcissism is more of a benison. So I'm on to a winner after all.
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3502
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK
BioWizard liked this post


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby Inrealtime87 on November 30th, 2017, 9:43 pm 

I would dispute your claim that the pleasure we get from money does follow the law of diminishing returns. If a person receives pleasure from the earning of money, there can be no diminishing returns, because the amount of money that can be earned is limitless. There can be no doubt that there is pleasure in earning money.
Inrealtime87
Forum Neophyte
 
Posts: 21
Joined: 30 Nov 2017


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby Lomax on November 30th, 2017, 10:02 pm 

Well don't let the claims of science articles get in your way. But I think you misunderstand what "diminishing" means. The idea is that your second gazillion won't help you as much as your first gazillion did.
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3502
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK
BioWizard liked this post


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby Inrealtime87 on November 30th, 2017, 10:14 pm 

The original question was more focused on the pursuit of money, not what money can get you, remember how I was relating it to the original problem of the pleasure paradox, which says pleasure cannot be pursued endlessly. I was more asking if the pleasure paradox can be applied to the pursuit of money, and if someone were to set out only to earn money, not what money can buy. Can money be considered an end? Can a person pursue money, instead of boats, and cars, and other things, and can the pleasure paradox be applied to this pursuit.
Inrealtime87
Forum Neophyte
 
Posts: 21
Joined: 30 Nov 2017


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby BadgerJelly on December 1st, 2017, 2:17 am 

I cannot help but ask what money is in this context? Your view of "happiness" seems skewed to mine. I do not consider money as a component toward "happiness", and so I would push you to consider what it is that money represents - after all, money is a relatively recent invention.

I would also distinguish "pleasure" from mere "sexual pleasure". Here I can only offer up my own view of what pleasure is. It is a product of exploration, the act of coming flush up against a problem, feeling overwhelmed, and then (in some way) navigating through/around the problem and opening up a broader horizon.

I tend to view "happiness" as the after thought of the journey into les tangible territory which is then enveloped into our, hopefully now broader, understanding.

All the money in the world has no value and nothing but pleasure is no pleasure at all.

It would be helpful for me if you elaborate your points relative to the above.

Thanks
User avatar
BadgerJelly
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4584
Joined: 14 Mar 2012


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby wolfhnd on December 1st, 2017, 3:36 am 

Interesting topic.

The exact nature of pleasure is not clear. It may involves a release of tension, a relaxation of stress, but those are not necessary conditions. It can also come as a sense of well being as in religious ecstasy where a biological imperative is not present or perhaps hijacked.

While I question the wisdom of reducing every human weakness to addiction money like drugs is addictive. Some people can never get enough.

The opposite and fatal potential opposite extreme to addiction is to be naturally high and without motivation. We can call it the don't worry be happy syndrome.

Instincts are experienced after the fact so to speak as feelings. The instincts function in the subconscious and we become aware of them as physiological changes. Consciousness to some degree is only useful if the instinct needs moderation. The fact that we don't know what the conditions for consciousness are is not helpful but we can assume it has a biological function related to survival.

In nature everything is a trade off, perhaps as a general conservation principle. In the case of humans we exchanged reliable instincts for "free will". If we could not resist instincts then we could not moderate them.

The fall of man in the genesis store is illustrated by becoming aware of nakedness. It is the story of becoming aware of your own vulnerability and being conscious that you must plan and work ignoring your instincts in order to survive. Free will is not a pleasure but a burden. People escape the burden and return to a nominally unconscious state of being through many forms of addictive behavior. Making money can take the place of relationships, and other ordinary pleasures as illustrated in Dickens's story about Ebenezer Scrooge.
User avatar
wolfhnd
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4333
Joined: 21 Jun 2005
Blog: View Blog (3)


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby Inrealtime87 on December 1st, 2017, 5:43 am 

Badgerjelly
Money is a form of currency. Relative to what, the big bang? Money's been used for thousands of years. Your view of pleasure is too specific. Pleasure can be received from eating pie all day, no horizons have to be broadened doing that. Does your view of pleasure rule out sex? Are horizons broadened after sex? I suppose a question for another thread.
I am speaking of the pleasure in the pursuit of money, the enjoyment a person gets from receiving money. Sexual pleasure, is the enjoyment of reaching orgasm. The question is can the pleasure paradox be applied to the pursuit of money? Or, is money always the means, not an end.I am comparing the two, because both are thought of as necessary means, but not ends, and as not possible by the pleasure paradox because both are indirect effects. Sexual pleasure is the indirect result of the pursuit of orgasm and procreation, while pleasure from money and wealth accumulation is the indirect effect of the pursuit of goods. But I am speaking of pursuing the indirect effects themselves ,which the pleasure paradox states cannot be done, because of diminishing returns, however the pleasure from the receiving of money is limitless, so the question is can money be the end goal?
WOLFND
So in your opinion money can be an end, in the pursuit of pleasure. Meaning pleasure results at the earning.Because people do become addicted to earning money.And, this feeling of pleasure from earning money may be the result of an instinct. Also you mentioned money taking the place of relationships, in stories like the one by Dickens, which I cannot remember right now. A Christmas Carol?
Inrealtime87
Forum Neophyte
 
Posts: 21
Joined: 30 Nov 2017


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby Inrealtime87 on December 1st, 2017, 6:13 am 

Badgerjelly
It is important to say the difference is not so much the feeling, but the pursuit of the feeling, which is what the pleasure paradox is about.
Inrealtime87
Forum Neophyte
 
Posts: 21
Joined: 30 Nov 2017


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby BadgerJelly on December 1st, 2017, 7:17 am 

Are you asking if I can have a "money orgasm"?

I think Lomax has already put across that once you have so much money, stability, then you don't really gain much more from accumulating money. It is like a psychological fixatedness for some people, it gave them pleasure so they continue to do it. Horizons have to be expanded in order to have more pleasure from life.

I was not talking about eating pie ... I gather you know that yet chose to be silly for some reason, or were you trying to make some kind of point? The difference between short and long term benefits?

Please remember you're the one who equated pleasure with a physiologically ephemeral pleasure (sexual orgasm.) I was thinking more broadly as to the over all purpose of human exploration and the dopaminergic system instilling pleasure through discovery.
User avatar
BadgerJelly
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4584
Joined: 14 Mar 2012


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby Inrealtime87 on December 1st, 2017, 8:47 am 

It's not about the level of comfortability people reach, how much they have to gain. It's not about what people need to feel comfortable. It's about the pleasure that comes with earning money and the constant pursuit of that pleasure. When you say horizons have to be expanded, in order to get more pleasure from life, you are assuming someone does not take pleasure in the mere earning of money, that earning a billion more dollars than they already have wouldn't make them happier. If someone enjoys making money, and they have a million dollars, would they not enjoy making two million dollars, and then ten million dollars? For someone who pursues the pleasure behind receiving money, there is no cutoff to their possible pleasure, because they can always earn more.
Inrealtime87
Forum Neophyte
 
Posts: 21
Joined: 30 Nov 2017


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby Braininvat on December 1st, 2017, 11:20 am 

Seems like a saturation effect would be reached with accumulating money, since it has no intrinsic value (unlike, say, collectibles like art or books or other goods that provide some aesthetic satisfaction). If you just like playing the stock market, that would be sort of like the rush a gambler gets, where dollars are moved around like pieces on a game board and you get satisfaction from displaying competence and executing winning strategies. But money, in and of itself, offers little pleasure. Imagine a collapse of civilization, where the only currency would be handtools, firewood, canned goods, wool blankets, etc. Money would only be good for lighting a fire, and you would get more satisfaction from gathering up old newspapers for fire-starting.
User avatar
Braininvat
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5823
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby Inrealtime87 on December 1st, 2017, 12:00 pm 

This is more about refuting the pleasure paradox, than it is the value of money without a system to back it. I find the pleasure paradox applies to almost every other pursuit. Eventually a person can experience less pleasure and more agitation from eating, sex, drinking, smoking, and excercising.
However, if a person takes pleasure in the accumulation of money, the pleasure that can be experienced is endless. The utility doesn't really come into play, when pursuing pleasure. If a person is engaging in intercourse using contraception, there is no utility only pleasure seeking, however, there is a limit to how much pleasure they can receive, hence the pleasure paradox. It is not this way with pleasure that comes from accumulating money.
Inrealtime87
Forum Neophyte
 
Posts: 21
Joined: 30 Nov 2017


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby Braininvat on December 1st, 2017, 1:27 pm 

However, if a person takes pleasure in the accumulation of money, the pleasure that can be experienced is endless


This premise hasn't really been demonstrated, has it? Even if we posit that the money is simply like trinkets you win in a board game, and you don't care about its buying power, it would seem likely that some burnout would take place. The pleasure paradox could certainly apply here, even if the timescale is longer than with other pleasures.

Also, we should distinguish between pleasure and professional satisfaction and accolades. The big money maker might keep playing the markets, not because he still derives pleasure from the dollars rolling in, but because of other things, like the esteem of his peers and a feeling of competence. Demonstrating competence brings satisfactions that seem to go beyond the pleasure paradox, because those satisfactions can sustain a lifetime of endeavors and help maintain a social network of people who also value that competence. So, in short, it's not really about the money at all, except as a symbol of capability.

To give a concrete example, I used to live in the same city as Warren Buffet. I heard him speak, on a couple occasions. He gave the clear impression of someone who had once enjoyed making money, but no longer got much thrill from it, and was more focused on leaving behind an honest and well-managed company and sharing some of his wealth with various worthy causes.
User avatar
Braininvat
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5823
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby Inrealtime87 on December 1st, 2017, 3:46 pm 

I don't see how a burnout would take place, if the supply of money is infinite, and the person takes their pleasure from getting more money. No pleasure paradox can be applied in that case.
However, from what you're saying, you don't believe money can be an end, it is always a means to power,status, feelings of competence. But, once again, relating this to sex, pleasure itself can be sought out. Meaning people have sex solely for pleasure. Now, money is pursued for all of the reasons you mentioned,and we should distinguish between the reasons for pursuing money,but why can't there be pleasure taken from the pursuit of money? I have conceded people use money as a means, just like sex is sometimes used as a means, but is the pleasure derived from money not sometimes an end, like pleasure from sex? Except pleasure from sex diminishes.
Inrealtime87
Forum Neophyte
 
Posts: 21
Joined: 30 Nov 2017


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby BadgerJelly on December 1st, 2017, 3:55 pm 

Inrealtime87 » December 1st, 2017, 8:47 pm wrote:It's not about the level of comfortability people reach, how much they have to gain. It's not about what people need to feel comfortable. It's about the pleasure that comes with earning money and the constant pursuit of that pleasure. When you say horizons have to be expanded, in order to get more pleasure from life, you are assuming someone does not take pleasure in the mere earning of money, that earning a billion more dollars than they already have wouldn't make them happier. If someone enjoys making money, and they have a million dollars, would they not enjoy making two million dollars, and then ten million dollars? For someone who pursues the pleasure behind receiving money, there is no cutoff to their possible pleasure, because they can always earn more.


No. Because we seem to have completely different ideas of what "pleasure" means.
User avatar
BadgerJelly
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4584
Joined: 14 Mar 2012


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby Inrealtime87 on December 1st, 2017, 4:08 pm 

How about this:
Problem- How to get more money?
Struggle-maneuvering around this problem.
Accomplishment- More money has been earned
New Horizon-Once new level of ownership of money is achieved, how to earn more.
Ex: Billionaire doesn't know how to get more money. Billionaire invests in new start-up. Then billionaire earns more money after a successful IPO. New horizons have been reached (for example how successful will start-up be) and the problem is solved.
I believe this fits your definition of pleasure, and the billionaire, we are assuming, is pursuing money. At least there is no way for you to tell if that's what he's really after. However, that is the way a person who finds pleasure in the pursuit of money could possibly act, even under your unnecessarily strict definition.
Also the term "money orgasm" is fantastic. Should have gotten more recognition.
Inrealtime87
Forum Neophyte
 
Posts: 21
Joined: 30 Nov 2017


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby doogles on December 1st, 2017, 4:53 pm 

On serious consideration, I'd be happier if I was rich and unhappy than poor and unhappy.
doogles
Member
 
Posts: 857
Joined: 11 Apr 2009


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby wolfhnd on December 1st, 2017, 7:06 pm 

Certainly Braininvat is right that despite the stress that comes with success your position in the dominance hierarchy has been tested against biochemical markers.
Serotonin being one that has been studied.

http://www.ulm.edu/~palmer/TheBiochemis ... States.htm

Studies in humans have shown the negative health effects of low social status.
The effects of stress in dominant individuals seem to be alleviated by increased serotonin levels.

The positive emotional effect of gaining social status through accumulated wealth does seem to peak. That said there are few limits on how wealth can be used to access pleasures other than position in the dominance hierarchy. The fact that most wealthy people do not end up cocaine addicts with a house full of hookers speaks to the fact that most successful people have the personality trait conscientiousness. The personality trait should not be confused with empathy and generosity or even fairness.
User avatar
wolfhnd
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4333
Joined: 21 Jun 2005
Blog: View Blog (3)


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby BadgerJelly on December 2nd, 2017, 2:10 am 

Inrealtime -

I guess my real gripe is that most people don't get pleasure from making money endlessly. Like Lomax said, I believe?, once you've earnt so much you don't really gain anything making more (unless you have particularly grandiose plans!)

Making money for the sake of making money is not a pleasureable pursuit. The reason for making money is what guides your sense of achievement and pleasure. I think you can take many examples of rich people who are miserable and this is often due to societal traditions making them think that money will answer all their problems. Some businessmen are simply so industrious that they cannot stop working, and they take pleasure by helping others do what they've done and creating a business legacy.

My basic point being making money has nothing to do with pleasure. We're basically talking about having economic stability by which we can pursue our person dreams. Being more able to set aside time and pursue our dreams constitutes pleasure. If we're more explorative then we open ourselves up to new ideas and new dreams.

That is how money relates to pleasure. In the current social climate it is a means of creating life options and freedom of choice. It is certainly not the underlying factor though. Personal relationships and aesthetic appreciation are perhaps more important than money.

Another thing to consider is how we value money. I think the people who REALLY understand the value of money are those with very little. Me and you are realtively comfortable compared to the rest of the worlds population; something I often find myself contemplating is the injustice of my lucky position.
User avatar
BadgerJelly
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4584
Joined: 14 Mar 2012


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby Inrealtime87 on December 2nd, 2017, 5:31 pm 

Badgerjelly
I would not go so far as to say making money for the sake of making money is not pleasurable. There is an aesthetic value to the possession of money, to stacks and piles of money. Think of the need to build skyscrapers, does any building have to be more than a hundred stories tall? No, but there is something to having a lot of an item.
Wolfhnd
In regards to the earlier claim about limitless pleasure. If a person took pleasure in the amassing of money, for the sake of amassing money, wouldn't they experience the same amount of pleasure whenever they amassed more money? The amount of pleasure they could experience is biologically limited, but wouldn't they experince the peak amount everytime they amassed more money? Think a toy or antiquities collector. Do they not experience more pleasure when they get more "stuff"?
Inrealtime87
Forum Neophyte
 
Posts: 21
Joined: 30 Nov 2017


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby Braininvat on December 2nd, 2017, 8:01 pm 

Money, however, consists of uniform units (unless you're a coin collector, which is a different sort of thing from what we are discussing), whereas antiques are not, and often those that most interest a collector are rare or one-of-a-kind. The problem I have with all this is that you seem to be assuming there is some solid and constant rule that governs human pleasure, such that a pleasure will be experienced in the same degree no matter how many times it is repeated. Nothing you present supports that assumption. There is nothing all that surprising or paradoxical about the human experience called "tedium" or "boredom," which is what seems likely after repeating the same experience many many times.
User avatar
Braininvat
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5823
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby Braininvat on December 2nd, 2017, 8:04 pm 

It's why many billionaires tend to shift focus from enriching themselves to philanthropy, collecting, patronage of the arts, etc. Life has more than one dimension to it, for the vast majority of human beings.
User avatar
Braininvat
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5823
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby Inrealtime87 on December 2nd, 2017, 8:36 pm 

What I have so far asserted still violates the pleasure paradox. Because, it does not follow that lacking the desire to perform an action, deems an action not pleasurable. Ex: I may not want to eat this chocolate chip cookie, but if I am made to eat it, I cannot deny the resulting mouth pleasure. So endless pleasure is still a possibility in the pursuit of money. And, remember I am saying as long as a person pursues the collection of money there is the endless possibility of pleasure, if they no longer pursue it, what does it matter? As long as they pursue it, pleasure abounds.
Inrealtime87
Forum Neophyte
 
Posts: 21
Joined: 30 Nov 2017


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby BadgerJelly on December 3rd, 2017, 1:24 am 

Quite simply put, "pleasure" is a process.

I kind of see where you're coming from, you tell me?

You are saying that financial gain is an easily defined target and therefore one you can empirically measure as being successfully achieved or not. The pursuit of monetary gain, like Biv pointed out, hits a limit and then the pursuit of money takes a backseat and more aesthetic pursuits and gains are set up.

Eating a cookie is pleasing in and of itself. Earning money simply makes your life easier to attach a certain form of value to which everyone agrees upon. There is monetary value and real value. The former is utterly vacuous without the later, and the later doesn't require the former.

That said "value" is a huge part of human orientation. The current economic system tends to put emphasis on "monetary value", and people are willing to pay money for great works of art and music, but when it really boils down to it listening to Pink Floyd (as I am doing right right) transcends monetary value. When I think about it I would pay hundreds of dollars to listen to Pink Floyd. It is in the arts that money goes a long way because you can pay for something that is truly extraordinary and will stay with you all your life.

This kind of reminds me of something I was reviewing the other day about Kant, although the analogy is completely out of context I find one thing appropriate about it here. He talks about a merchant simply adding zeros into his ledger to make himself think he is more wealthy. That is essentially what money does.
User avatar
BadgerJelly
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4584
Joined: 14 Mar 2012


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby Braininvat on December 3rd, 2017, 12:09 pm 

And all that you give
And all that you deal
And all that you buy,
Beg, borrow or steal
....

;-)
User avatar
Braininvat
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5823
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby Inrealtime87 on December 8th, 2017, 7:46 pm 

Have I disproved the pleasure paradox?
Inrealtime87
Forum Neophyte
 
Posts: 21
Joined: 30 Nov 2017


Re: Pleasure Paradox

Postby BadgerJelly on December 9th, 2017, 3:35 am 

No. You not really made the problem clear and you haven't made explicit the meanings of the terms you've put to use.

It is quite startlingly obvious that short-term pleasures do not necessarily lead to the best possible outcome. It may assist by pushing us into a completely psychotic cataclysm and giving us a glimpse into some transcendental experience where "pleasure" becomes utterly vapid.
User avatar
BadgerJelly
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4584
Joined: 14 Mar 2012



Return to Anything Philosophy

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests