Pleasure, Happiness and the Good Life for Siddhartha
Depending on who is asked, the good life has a different meaning. For Siddhartha, it had a lot to do with happiness, and happiness for Siddhartha meant achieving his goal of finding salvation through his own path, his own experience. That was the only way to quench his thirst, to find his destiny, to truly find the peace and happiness he seeks in his heart. Although he found pleasure, which he sometimes confused for happiness, nonetheless it never fulfilled his goal of reaching Nirvana.
According to Richard Taylor in An Introduction to Virtue Ethics, many philosophers mistake pleasure with happiness. Taylor stated that people think of happiness as something that is supposed to be measureable and identifiable. Therefore, people try to perceive happiness as a common feeling. However, he continues on saying that they fail to realize is that pleasure is simply an ingredient of happiness, a slice of the cake. Like many of them, Siddhartha confused the pleasure he found in many things for happiness. For example the petrifying fear of losing high stakes when gambling, only to later realize that they were just temporary feelings, feelings that needed to be felt before he could ever become happy. He like the praises he received from the Brahmans. Even the life of the world and of lust could not satisfy his thirst. The pleasure he found in being Kamala’s student, lover and friend and the riches he possessed only made him realized that they do not bring happiness. The amount of wealth a person has could never satisfy the unappeasable need for possessions.
After meeting his son, Siddhartha even accepts suffer over peace and happiness for worry and suffering as the good life. He did all that because he loved his son. He later remembered that he could not love, and even love could not bring him happiness. It only brought him pleasure and sufferings, at times. Thanks to the voice of the river and...
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