Happiness Formula of Mankind

Makarenko said, if a person had no pleasure before him, he would not exist in this world.          

“If there are things I don’t like in Heaven, I won’t go there;If there are things I don’t like in Hell, I won’t go there;If there are things I don’t like in your future gold world,I won’t go there.”

This saying was uttered by the writer Mr. Lu Xun. His meaning is nothing else than this:Whether it is “Heaven”, “Hell” or the future “gold world”,what I am seeking must be something I like.

Why do we aspire to become immortals? The only answer is: for pleasure. The ultimate goal of human development is seeking pleasure.

This answer sounds too simple, too ordinary, but the most important and most difficult thing in the world is just to hold the ordinary truth.

People do not do things just for doing things, nor do they pursue just for pursuing, nor do they suffer just for suffering. Whatever we do, in the last analysis, is for getting pleasure. Aristotle said: “It seems that man’s greatest characteristic is seeking pleasure and avoiding suffering.” Man,judging from his nature, is neither good nor evil. At any moment of his life, he is seeking happiness. All his abilities are used for seeking pleasure and evading suffering.”(Horbach)

Our common humanity is going towards happiness and evading suffering. No enduring of suffering in our life is just for the sake of suffering. Suffering is only the means,but only “pleasure” is the purpose: For tomorrow’s pleasure. As the saying goes, “Only if you can stand the hardest of hardships can you hope to rise to the top of the society”, so, the purpose is to get the pleasure of being the top of the society. Why does a mother endure all kinds of hardships to foster her children? Just for the future pleasure from her children’s healthy growing. Why were the revolutionaries ready to bear the suffering of cruel torturing? Just for the pleasure in realizing the ideal and belief in their mind, just for the pleasure of the majority of people… Although everyone’s pleasure is different, one point is the same: “All our choices are out of the pursuit of pleasure;Our ultimate objective is to get pleasure.” (Epicurus)

From the epicurean “Hedonism” philosophy to the “Seven Rules” of happiness calculated by Jeremy Benthan, we can see Western philosophers’ great enthusiasm for happiness. Our China’s serious school of learning, Confucianism, also lays a great stress on happiness, as the whole book of Analects of Confucius is alive with the mood of “happiness”. The first sentence of Analects of Confucius is about “happiness”: “When our friends come from afar,how happy we are!” When Confucius enjoyed music,he was so intoxicated in it that he did not know the taste of the meat for three months;When he studied, he “made such a determined effort that he forgot eating, and he was so happy as to forget any worry”. Confucius was both a saint and a master in music,as he enjoyed pleasure from all aspects of life:Reading and learning, friend making and traveling, getting political posts and entering the society, listening to music and viewing dance, summoning disciples and teaching, and so on. The “three pleasures” Confucius liked most were “pleasure in courtesy,pleasure in praising people, and pleasure in friend making.” Mencius said “a gentleman has three pleasures”: “Both parents are alive, and brothers are living in peace: it is the first pleasure;Feeling no shame before both Heaven and fellow human beings: the second pleasure;Getting brilliant students from the world to teach: the third pleasure.” Confucianists put the learning of “pleasure” on a vital position, parallel to political science and ethnics. The pleasure mentioned by Confucianists refers to all kinds of arts having an amusing effect, which are represented by music, and even include hunting and other activities. They defined “music” as “the art of pleasure”. (“On Music” of Xunzi). Thus, it can be seen Confucianists’ emphasis on music is actually the emphasis on pleasure, as they value pleasure greatly.

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