Why Pure Joy Could Be a Problem
Updated: Sep 13
Pure joy, regardless of our technological advancement, is something that has yet to be fully achieved, for better or worse. It is a special kind of emotion, one that is very similar to when you fall in love with someone, to the point that it, in a way, consumes your mind.
It has yet to be attained fully because eventually, we get used to things, even stuff that we once considered great and magnificent. That, by itself, also has its own perks.
Imagine a special machine that would somehow be connected to your brain, and its function is simple: Activate the specific neurons in your brain that will trigger pure joy.
Then, there will be no more necessity for the many alternatives' life has to offer. Simply connect that device to your head, press a button, and witness as you feel immense joy for a few moments, until you press that button once more, without limitation.
Imagine if that machine were like an MP3 player. with some sorts of headphones. You could use it anywhere society would permit you to. Do you feel down at work?
Press it. Are you lonely? Press it! Press it, and all your emotional problems will go away for a couple of moments, until you decide to press the machine's button again.
You might think to yourself that it would be a great invention because no longer will we have to suffer unnecessarily, and when we do suffer, we can simply trigger the correct neurons that will eliminate said suffering.
Grief, depression, bitterness -- all would go away, like a message to someone on the other side of the globe!
The problem with this theoretical device is not only the fact that it could lead to humanity's greatest addiction, but it would also cancel the meaning of anything else that could bring one joy.
I'm not talking only about entertainment; I'm talking about love, friendship, reproduction, family, and contribution to society.
The problem I'm talking about is similar to the one I mentioned in my article about video games: why do anything else, when fun can be so instant?
The thing I would like to call JOY MACHINES, could be both humanity's greatest achievement and its greatest abuser. It might discourage people from having kids when you can simply return from your job and press that machine's button until you have to sleep.
It practically removes any necessary and beneficial feature of human survival and life. It's because it renders them all unnecessary and redundant.
That is the problem with pure joy: the fact that it offers little to no philosophical motivation to do anything other than its own pursuit.
That is also the problem I find with the philosophy of hedonism, which says that our purpose in this existence is to have fun above all else.
Fun is important, indeed; it's beneficial for our mental health, and it cultivates human connection. But, morality-wise, in terms of contributing to others and tending to one's responsibilities, it offers very little justification.
Why should I volunteer if it brings me no fun? Why should I have kids if kids aren't always fun and games? Why should I love when love is often dramatic and does not only include pleasure?
Hedonism, as well as the possibility of a "Joy Machine," do not justify any reasoning to do anything that does not make us feel good.
I once asked a former friend, "Why are you so obsessed with love?" In that question, I also added: "Isn't it simply because it makes you feel good?" Her only answer was "maybe", and since then, I've realized how egotistical love can be, in theory.
Those who suffer for love wouldn't pursue it unless they believed they had to. On the contrary, those who find great pleasure in love would chase it like a mouse would be tempted to grab cheese from a trap. It is all very simple, and because of its simplicity, it might be a problem.
Contemporary entertainment, such as video games and television, is not equivalent to a joy machine, even though their general purpose is to entertain us and thus bring us joy. Nonetheless, they are the peak of our technology in the quest for pleasure.
Those who think video games and television watching are bad do not necessarily understand that they answer something very deep in us: the desire to be pampered as quickly as possible.
That is what makes us, in theory, attached to our screens whenever we're not productive.
The intensity of joy, along with the little time that it takes for us to feel it, lasts as long as we allow ourselves, or as long as we can.
Joy reveals how weak we are. It can easily submit us to addiction and could also decrease our motivation to do things we "should" or like household tasks or starting a family.
For the weak-minded, nothing is as rewarding as feeling good, especially when the trigger can be pulled in an instant.
I don't write because I enjoy writing, even though I do. I write because I realized that pure joy would waste my potential if it made me unproductive.
That is why, should humanity ever develop any kind of "Joy Machine", I would strongly advise against its purchase.
It would weaken both our bodies and minds and give us no reason to do anything that we don't have to in order to ensure our own survival.
It would remove the motivation to socialize, to be in love, and to visit our family. In other words, it would literally actualize the philosophy of "To each their own". To each their own what? To each their own pleasure-seeking, of course.
And it's not like general society will be getting any more cohesive.
Contemporary entertainment gradually removes the drive to socialize, because why would one have friends and communicate with family members, when one can play games all their free time?
Why should I marry, if marriage is in no way the fantasy of "happily ever after"?
Of course, this is beyond my own preferences; it is about doing anything that would replace loneliness with togetherness, which is being reduced by replacing loneliness through solitary practices.
You may know that even I no longer see the necessity of socializing and marriage, but I won't be surprised if you do.
Because if you do, know that it could be on the decline, as the incentive to socialize reduces with each advancement in the entertainment industries.