Raisin a hedonist

16 december 2010 | In Uncategorized | 1 Comment


Like most people with children, I want my child to be happy. Of course, being a hedonist, I think it would be great if all people could be as happy as possible, but I’ve got a particular interest in this one. That is: I want his experiences to be mostly positive. I don’t want him to get everything that he wants, because, like his dad and most other people, he is likely to sometimes want stupid things. I don’t want him never to be sad or disappointed, because those things seem essential to learning to cope, and learning to cope seems to be essential to becoming a happy person. (Of course, could it be done without the sadness or disappointment, that would be preferable, and perhaps some die-hard optimists are like that. It’s just important that one nevertheless learns to understand sadness and disappointment, to be able to recognize it in others).

Being brought up by a hedonist is probably not as immediatly and obviously fun as you might imagine.

Here come the raisins: Most toddlers like raisins. Eating them, as well as handling them, is clearly pleasant. So, being a hedonist, and wanting my son to have pleasant experiences, it seems obvious that I should feed him raisins. And so I did.

But raisins are an option now. The hedonic adaptation is extremely quick in these kind of cases. A few raisins in and he is eating them in the kind of semi-consciuos way the American Stereotype eats pop-corn while watching a movie. Suddenly, not eating raisins right now is unpleasant, and totally out of proportion to how pleasant it was to eat them earlier. The net gain of introducing a new, but finite, source of pleasure may actually be in the negative.

To paraphrase Nietzsche (is it?): if there are raisins, how could I live with not eating raisins?

1 kommentar »

  1. Detta problem med russinen påminner mig om mina egna funderingar om att eventuellt börja dricka kaffe. Hittills har jag inte gjort det.

    Comment by Niclas — 16 december 2010 #

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