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Happiness and Suffering

2020-05-26 来源: 51Due教员组 类别: Report范文


下面为大家整理一篇优秀的paper代写范文 - Happiness and Suffering,供大家参考学习。这篇论文讨论在《勇敢的新世界》中,作者设想了一个社会,通过严格的等级制度中的标准化实践来维持幸福。等级制度中的每个班级都对他们的生活条件感到非常满意,因为他们甚至在出生之前就已经适应了。此外,定期分发的soma药物可以使人们忘记不愉快的事情并感到高兴,它是维护系统的有效工具。新世界中的大多数人似乎同时处于一种无知和幸福的恒定状态。但是,本文认为,新世界中的幸福不是真正的持久幸福,因为它缺少了一个不仅定义幸福而且定义人性的关键要素。这个缺失的因素正在遭受痛苦。真实持久的幸福是关于痛苦的,而不是无知。痛苦消除了空虚和无意义,增强了品格的力量,并将视角带入了人们的生活。

 In Brave New World, the author has imagined a society where happiness is maintained through standardized practices in a strictly hierarchical system. Every class in the hierarchy feels perfectly happy about their living conditions because they have been conditioned even before they are born. In addition, soma, a drug regularly distributed that allows people to forget about unpleasant things and be happy, is the effective tool in maintaining the system. Most people in the New World appear to be in a constant state of ignorance and happiness at the same time. However, this essay argues that the version of happiness in the new world is not the authentic and durable happiness because it is missing a key element that defines not only happiness, but also humanity. This missing element is suffering. Authentic and durable happiness is about suffering and not about ignorance. Suffering eliminates emptiness and meaninglessness, fosters strength in character, and brings perspective into people’s lives.

Despite the seemingly advanced and civilized society created, the New World still appears creepy because its version of “happiness” sucks meaning out of everything and leaves people in an eternal sense of emptiness. Even if people in the New World don't know what it is, they still feel that their life is missing something” “He was as miserably isolated now as he had been when the service began-more isolated by reason of his un-replenished emptiness, his dead satiety” (Huxley 57). The most fearsome weapon in the New World is not the embryo conditioning, the highly developed system. Instead, it is soma. Whenever one feels something wrong and starts thinking about troubles and developing negative emotions, the soma is there to take care of the problems. It is the key to social stability and also the key to maintain the emptiness in the seemingly collective happiness. A society that allows no other sensations but happiness will soon be disgusted by the people, but soma solves this problem and immerses people in endless satisfaction. All instability factors are eliminated. Family, love, solitude, reflection, fear of death, all the sources of energy for the human spiritual world is removed. Only in this way can society be permanently stable. However, such human beings are already non-human, and they are produced on the mass production line. Without a spiritual world, a person without humanity is a walking dead with empty material and physical desires.

It is suffering that helps install meaning and eliminate the sense of emptiness in life. As discussed above, the ignorance filled happiness is also the worthless kind of happiness because it can be a total disregard of the objective world and a total focus on the subject perception. This happiness allows people to get a sense of accomplishment when they have accomplished nothing. When the external environmental are changed from favorable to unfavorable, the happiness will be immediately replaced with the sense of loss and emptiness. In response to the problem of emptiness, the idea of suffering is brought in to make a more complete description of happiness: “Meaningful suffering of this sort is a cognitive response to objective circumstances: it is a way of understanding what has happened in one’s life, and more broadly, of appreciating the nature of the world in which our lives take place” (Jollimore 345). Some may argue that suffering is the exact opposite of happiness. However, what they are really trying to argue is that suffering is the opposite of pleasure. In fact, meaningless pleasurable experiences on their own have very little intrinsic values. The longer these experiences last, the less effective they become in bringing happiness to people. In contrast, it is common for people to constantly remember and even miss the meaningful suffering experiences in their past. Although these suffering experiences are not directly related to happiness, they contribution to the more sustainable meaning in happiness and life in general.

The version of happiness offered by the New World is also highly corrosive and destructive. Most of the characters under the influence of soma are emotionally immature and highly dependent on substance. The severest case is Linda, who died within month after her return to the new world: “Linda got her soma. Thenceforward she remained in her little room on the thirty-seventh floor of Bernard’s apartment house, in bed, with the radio and television always on, and the patchouli tap just dripping, and the soma tablets within reach of her hand - there she remained; and yet wasn’t there at all, was all the time away, infinitely far away, on holiday” (Huxley 104). There is no doubt that Bernard is very clever, contrary to the D.H.C.'s order, he traveled to the reserve, using the D.H.C. scandal to bring him down. What is confusing is what Bernard really wants. While Bernard tried to prove himself worthier than the average Alpha, he only proved his own stupidity eventually and paid a huge price for it. Lenina, who should have become a spiritual woman, was defeated in the face of sexual desire and sensual enjoyment. Her love is built on vanity and sexual desire. In the face of pain, she does not have the strength to defend herself. Contrasting the strong bodies and smart minds created in the New World, their ignorance and lack of suffering make them extremely weak on the spiritual level.

In addition to bringing meaning into people’s lives, meaningful experiences of suffering will also foster strength in people’s characters. Compared with people with little experiences of suffering, people who have suffered one way or another in life can gain the important virtues of patience, tenacity, empathy, and forgiveness. Instead of running away from the suffering in the New World, people who choose to stick around and face the suffering cannot decide their own fate. However, they can determine their own attitudes and responses to the suffering. In the not so rare cases, people who have suffered also gained a sense of mission to rise to the challenges, which leads to their higher level of success and happiness than the ordinary people. As a result, “People who seek this proper rejoinder to ordeal sense that they are at a deeper level than the level of happiness and individual utility” (Brooks). For example, having suffered from polio, Franklin Roosevelt have obtained a more empathetic perspective of the vulnerable populations in society and was also inspired to serve the greater public good (Brooks). The process of gaining strength through suffering is also the process of growing up. “Recovering from suffering is not like recovering from a disease. Many people don’t come out healed; they come out different” (Brooks). The happiness of people in the New World are the happiness of children: weak, selfish, and unsustainable. It is only with the experience of suffering that stable happiness is achieved in true adults based on human spirit and strength.

Happiness for different people should take different forms, because each of us has a unique perspective of the world which will determine how we perceive things in our lives. In the New World, however, a unified version of happiness eliminates perspective in people. There are basically only five perspectives left, corresponding to the five social classes. In Brave New World, the formulation of unified happiness is aided with technology and streamlined. It has been of great effectiveness and convenience for the ruling class. The only problem is that different people have different definitions of so-called happiness, which leads to different people's views and pursuits on the world. Therefore, happiness in ignorance in the New World is essentially the deprivation of perspectives. What’s worse, in the indulgence of physical and sensual pleasure, people have no idea that they have become so simplified and deprived. People became no different from fools or babies as they fail to even comprehend the situation they were in when the savage tried to free them: “But do you like being slaves? Do you like being babies? Yes, babies. Mewling and puking” (Huxley 146). In return, none of the people from the New World could understand what they have been deprived of: the rich emotional experience accompanied with the adult perspective of the world. Instead, all they care about is their own sensual pleasure.

Different from the unifying version of happiness with no regard to individual perspective in the New World, suffering is able to bring people new perspectives about the world and themselves, which will eventually lead to a more stable and durable sense of happiness. “Suffering gives people, a more accurate sense of their own limitations, what they can control and cannot control” (Brooks). In breaking free from their own ignorance, people realize that true happiness cannot be built solely on their own perspective, or one unifying perspective. Through suffering in meaningful ways, either physical or emotion, they will learn to make peace with suffering and understand their own finiteness in the world. Instead of the maximization of the self and the indulgence in sensual-induced happiness all the time, suffering offers people an entirely different path: the path to selflessness. “It appears that selflessness, which reflects the self within a broader social, natural, and cosmic context is linked with greater subjective authentic-durable happiness and patience” (Deng 1). Adopting the selfless perspective offers people the opportunity to look beyond their own gains and pains and allow them to have the ability to empathize with others’ pains and gains. Therefore, without focusing too much on the self, suffering helps people to expand their range of happiness from the self alone to the loved ones, friends, and even strangers.

In conclusion, the New World creates an everlasting stable society through the deprivation of all essential human experiences but happiness, and maintains it with drugs. This seeming viable path to happiness completely overlooks the fact that suffering is a fundamental human experience and a fundamental ingredient in authentic happiness as well. With the deprivation of suffering, the eternal happiness in the New World is accompanied with eternal emptiness and meaninglessness. The long-term dependence on drugs also greatly weaken and corrode the spiritual strengths of the people, leading them to have mental breakdowns in the encounter of setbacks. Without suffering, the New World can only manage to create a unifying happiness standard with mass-produced non-humans. Even for these standardized humans, their happiness is not sustainable without life experiences and the profound understanding of pain and suffering. In the end, suffering is equally important to pleasurer in the formula of authentic and sustainable happiness, because it brings meaning, strength, and a selfless perspective into people’s lives.


Works Cited

Brooks, David. “What suffering does.” The New York Times. Apr 08, 2014. Accessed from: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/08/opinion/brooks-what-suffering-does.html.

Deng, Jianjun, et al. "Optimistically Accepting Suffering Boosts Happiness: Associations between Buddhism Patience, Selflessness, and Subjective Authentic-Durable Happiness." Journal of Happiness Studies, 2019.

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. 1932. London: Vintage, (1998).

Jollimore, Troy. "Meaningless Happiness and Meaningful Suffering." The Southern Journal of Philosophy, vol. 42, no. 3, 2004, pp. 333-347.




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