“Some unhappy people are not without pleasure, no, it is because of pleasure itself that they are unhappy.” – Seneca
This. This is the key to the messages that have been passed down within nearly every culture, by nearly every famous philosopher throughout antiquity. The love of pleasure, the love of material things, the allowance we give to external things to have control over us leads to unhappiness. Yes, it can be pleasurable but it is an empty kind of pleasure. The kind that fades quickly and needs to be replenished again and again and again. The kind of pleasure that starts to resemble an addiction.
This addiction can continue, we need more, better things, better more luxurious vacations, just more. Until it consumes us and ruins our happiness.
It shouldn’t be about the pleasure. Yes, somethings are pleasurable and help to make us better people but more often than not, the path to becoming our best selves involves a lot of unpleasant experiences. Some of them would be better classified as suffering.
It is better than to focus on whether or not a thing is going to lead to us becoming the people we want to be. Is it going to help us along that particular path? If the answer is no, we are best to avoid or abstain. If the answer is yes, we are better to do the thing whether the thing is pleasurable or not.
If it happens to be pleasurable, all the better.
virtus fortis vocat