Why do so many people settle for a lesser form of happiness when more enjoyable happiness is readily available to almost everyone? It seems that the majority of people strive for Hedonism as their life goal where that is only maximizing the totality of pleasures of the bodily sensations over an extended period of time and over their personal lifetime. These people settle for far less pleasure than if they expanded their goals to the easily attained next step up the Happiness Scale of Beatitudoism which is by joining their effort to find happiness with other people by the intimate connection with the ultimate group spirits through the use of group-work and ritual. Such easily attained things as going to a football game or attending an organized social function such as a church instead of sitting alone, and getting drunk or high on drugs. From that easily attained social action it is easy to move up a bit to Socialism by joining with a group and its goals for the maximizing of its, and by association one’s own well-being.
With these few simple steps a person can achieve much more happiness over the period of a week or a lifetime, and these more social activities have the additional pleasure of helping their fellow humans to have more meaningful and happy lives. So why is it that there are so many people who seem to think that getting high is the goal of life? Why instead do so many people slip from Hedonism down the Happiness Scale into Eroticism, and the maximizing of the immediate pleasures of the body, emotions, and personality without much thought of time, and the sudden evaporation of what little erotic pleasure they do attain? From that low state on the scale they easily slip into Anarchism, and seek the immediate release from all imposed limitations placed by the realities of the environment on their thought and behavior. That typically devolves into loss of all they have, and penury, which can at any moment then slip into a state of Survivalism, where the primary goal of life then becomes the survival of the physical body, and the forlorn hope for some survival of personality after death. From any of these states of happiness one can easily be overtaken by sudden unexpected death, but the lower on the scale one chooses to reside the more likely that sudden death becomes.
There are ultimately as many reasons for why people are where they are as there are people, and moments of individual consciousness, but perhaps there are some generalizations. All of the lower states are easily attainable without much thought or consideration for the future which requires a higher form of thought, generally termed forethought. That requires some personal effort, but doesn’t require much in the way of intelligence, and any human with near average intelligence can think about cause and effect, and make some plans for the future, for tomorrow. So why don’t they? Perhaps it’s the mental effort, and perhaps it is the going against the social dynamic of the moment or perhaps it’s the milieu of the media in which they are immersed, or into which they have immersed themselves, or perhaps it is that thinking about the future is almost alien to human ability.
The following states require increasingly more of the qualities of self control and forethought, but that of Epicureanism, the maximizing of total pleasure through the possession of artfully prepared items of beauty, doesn’t require much, and is similar to Hedonism except that it has much more forethought and planning. The next step up the Happiness Scale is Stoicism which is the using of virtuous behaviors of courage, physical and ethical behavior as the ideal lifelong goal, and directing force of personal behaviors. From there it is an easy step to channel those qualities into Energeiaism, which is the action and application of a person’s virtues to the best ends available to the individual and the group. This state is capable of giving long term happiness and a pleasurable life to almost anyone who chooses to live that life style. However, to a person comfortable at that condition the next step is available and readily attained by most people. Eudaimoniaism, which is living the long well balanced life utilizing a middle path of moderation in all activities. That is a person simply living in comfortable and socially productive harmony with their environment, with the people, and with whatever their life confronts them.
These next higher states are increasingly not available to everyone, because they require qualities that many people do not possess. Authoritarianism which requires the social, political and personal power under group sanctioned and monitored guidance. To attain this state the individual must have some power of leadership, and the ability to garner the support of other people. These people have power because it is granted to them by others because these other people trust them to use it wisely. Sometimes they are wrong because the person chosen doesn’t possess the qualities, but only appears to possess them. Scienceism is the finding and testing, proving to peers and publishing to all the natural facts of existence. This state doesn’t require a day to day leadership quality, but it does require the ability to convince others of the correctness of their ideas. Utilitarianism is the utilizing of all available resources to maximize humanities survival and population vigor. This is such a rare condition that only the founders of religions or other organizations possess these qualities. The highest state on the Happiness Scale is Constitutionism, which is the analysis of social bodies with the intent of creating better and healthier societies. There are few people who even think of doing such things, but when they are successful they bring about the greatest health, vigor and happiness for humanity. They create the greatest happiness, and therefore are rated the highest on the Happiness Scale.