The near enemy of contentment is boredom in many people’s minds, but it is those people who are exploring contentment at the lowest levels on the Happiness Scale that have that problem. Granted boredom is not a pleasant emotion to be enduring but what a sybaritic personality will do to relieve themselves from boredom is to do something wild and probably dangerous. A Utilitarian would do the exact opposite.
Beginning from my perspective on the Probaway Happiness Scale, published in 2005, these terms were defined as — Happiness is a belief that a hoped-for state of affairs is coming into existence. Pleasure is limited to the positive feelings of the moment. Contentment is the feeling that a hoped for state actually exists. The Happiness Scale lists 15 levels of happiness based on philosophical schools, whose primary end goal of happiness was arranged on the chart by time extension. It goes from instantaneous survival in the moment through daily life situations up to religious gurus creating methods for the social improvement of everyone. Each of these types of happiness would have a corresponding form of pleasure and contentment.
It is easy for a person living an erotic life style of HAPS~2, which is maximizing the immediate pleasures of the body without any thoughts of time or injuries, to succumb to the sensation of boredom. The erotic persons sensations are temporary and when they are not present the individual’s emotional state must go somewhere and boredom is an easy hole for them to drop into. People living from moment to moment in sensational states will also have boredom as a frequent companion.
A person living an Epicurian life style, HAPS~6, of maximizing total pleasure through the possession of artfully prepared items of beauty, is still living in a world of sensations but has a much longer time span where these are being experienced and felt, perhaps even over a lifetime, and thus these people are not so prone to sinking into boredom as the purely erotic person. Their longer view pulls them past moments when nothing of immediate interest in happening because their interest is stretched. Instead of being bored they might even slip into brief periods of contentment with their personal estate.
Eudaimonial people, HAPS~9, will have only occasional periods of boredom and these only happen when they are trapped in some situation where their attention must be placed, by circumstance, upon something which is inherently boring. For example, at a particularly dreary part of an opera where they can not leave, or doze off, because of social considerations. In most situations these people would simply shift their attention to something more interesting and thus avoid boredom.
A Utilitarian, HAPS~12 person, has very little problem with boredom and when there is a moment when very little is happening they will easily move into a mood of contentment; there is no need for these people to be bored because there is so much that they find interesting for them to think about and do. There are always situations presenting themselves to these people which allow for them to create new and useful things, with their intention being one of helping everyone live healthier and happier lives. Contentment isn’t a static thing for these people but a desired state of flux where many desirable things are coming together in new and better ways.
Contentment’s companion is exhilaration for mature people.