Go For Flow? Gratification Vs. Pleasure: Aristotle

In this dialogue, two characters describe why Aristotle and anyone ‘worth their salt’ are keen practitioners of gratification.

Gratification: Did you know Aristotle died at age 62 years of age, back in 322 BC?

Pleasure: I’m sure you are right. Although, you are a great bore. I know you like to study.

G: Funny you use that term ‘like’ so loosely. Most people tend to over use it in today’s world.

P: It gives me pleasure, I can’t help the way I feel about it.

G: I’m sure you can’t. Do you know the difference between pleasure and gratitude?

P: I like to think I do. Do you?

G: Most of us don’t distinguish between the two. This is worrisome because it muddles two different ideas that are quite important when living the ‘good life’ that my friend Aristotle understood (all those years ago).

P: I thought you would enjoy our close association. ‘Like’ is only a word. Most people can think it out for themselves.

G: True. People are very intelligent. Aristotle is one such person. He believed to ‘be happy’, one needed to take ‘right action’.

P: I don’t know if I believe in that idea. Pleasure is far more enjoyable. Why not partake in both?

G: True. We all take advantage of pleasurable things like a good meal, a message or the sights and sounds of nature.

P: Exactly.

G: Some of us derive gratification from helping others, reading books, and playing a sporting game. In these activities, one experiences flow. It is an experience of complete absorption, the suspension of consciousness that defines ‘liking’ these activities.

P: So?

G: Well, there is no emotion of pleasure in the above activities because all the gratification is from ‘right action’.

P: So you mean you feel no pleasure at all?

G: There is a big difference between ‘pleasure’ and ‘gratification’ People like Aristotle have been teaching about it all these years.

P: I know a psychologist that says your tasks are challenging and require skill, concentration, clear goals, immediate feedback, deep effortless evolvement, a sense of control, one’s self vanishes, time stops.

G: Yes. It is called flow!

P: Well, that sounds enjoyable.

G: I am. After the fact, you must do the ‘right action’ before the feelings are felt.

P: Well, I didn’t list any positive emotions when describing the elements of ‘flow’.

G: And, nor should you, because ‘flow’ is gratification! I believe you were talking about Csikzentmihalyi. He is a famous psychologist who found ‘flow’.

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