Your book is very intriguing to me. You talk about how deep pleasure is and about the importance of what really matters and how it leads us to this pleasure. The first thought that came to mind, Dr. Bloom; is what stimulates our thinking that leads us away from pleasure most of the time?
In other words, why don’t we take pleasure from certain things?
Yeah. If we think about something to stimulate our perception and/or our pleasure, why is the world filled with a lot of people thinking almost completely in the other direction?
I think we wouldn’t want to be a creature that took pleasure in everything. So when I argue that we take our experience of something that is colored by how we see it, this doesn’t necessarily imply that how we see it is under voluntary control. So what it means is it’s affected by our understanding of it. The understanding that a painting was painted by a certain person or that a food was made in a certain way and that affects us.
You could imagine a creature very different from us that could just simply choose to be affected in different ways. They could chose to like an incompetent forgery just as much as masterpiece or they can choose to like food that was dipped in dirt as opposed to fresh food but we’re not such creatures. I’m not sure we would want to be such creatures. So to some extent, our pleasure reflects I think a discernment that would be good to have.
Do you think there is an appropriate percentage where we want to at least be happy or perceived happy?
My book isn’t so much about happiness. I’m more interested in the cases of why we get pleasure from some things versus other things. The argument I make, as you put it is, that we’re sensitive to the deeper nature of things. It’s our understanding that shapes our pleasure.
The way the world works is that often our pleasure resonates I think to real value, to real important things. I’m not sure we’d want to be the sort of person – again the sort of animal that would take pleasure in anything and it just doesn’t matter. We just throw the mental switch and achieve transcendent pleasure and then it wouldn’t matter what we ate. It wouldn’t matter what TV shows we watched. What our work we looked at. I think something would be lost.