Misology: a source of Happiness?

Melancholy by Constance Charpentier

Are those who dedicate themselves to the use of reason less happy than those who are closer to their natural pure instinct?

Immanuel Kant, in Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, suggests that people who, cultivate reason and, consecrate themselves to the pleasures of life and happiness  begin to suffer from misology (i.e. hate of reason) because they seem to discover that all the time they spent thinking, reasoning and arguing condemned them to isolation (of pleasures) causing, thus, more fatigue than enjoyment.
Kant also suggests that once misology sets in, thinkers begin to envy those whom (the philosopher classifies as being “of inferior condition”) do not allow reason to influence their actions.

Alberto Caeiro (one of the heteronyms of, the Portuguese poet, Fernando Pessoa) was a great defender of misology, arguing that the use of reason obstructs one’s vision and that the dedication to philosophical thought sentences us to enter a complex and problematic world where everything is uncertain and obscure.
According to Caeiro, humans should submit thought to sensations because by doing so they will be able to live without pain; to age without anguish and die without despair (since they will not search for the meaning of life; a meaning that doesn’t even exist). Moreover, once they purge reason and yield to sentiments; they accept reality and the outer world (as they are) with joy, and contemplation; thus being one with life (i.e. a non-fragmented being; since thought is the main cause of the fragmentation of the Self).
Alberto Caeiro peremptorily states that the day humans reject the vice of thinking they will finally be happy. He admits that thinking is a natural process in human beings, but what he fights against is the conscience of one’s thoughts; that is, he fights against  interrupting the flow of thoughts by wanting to break them into pieces and, voraciously, analyse each and every of its fragments. 

In my opinion, pure hedonism (devotion to pleasure of the senses) is unnatural and, eventually, leads humans to void and unhappiness. Submitting to sensations signifies to bury our head in the sand to avoid dealing with Life and its complexities. To suggest that we live solely by natural instinct (impulse) is reducing humans to animality.
Being human means to bear the gift of reason, which automatically drives us to seek answers to six basic questions – What? Who? When? Where? Why? How? – a possible  foundation of material (Physics and Ethics) and formal (Logics) philosophy. 
If asking the six fundamental questions is inherent to humans then so it is the philosophical thought (even though most may not even realise it). Not knowing the what, why and how may cause confusion, tension, stress, unhappiness. Observing and feeling life while analysing and comprehending why and how “the what” happens can be enlightening, fulfilling, motivational and cause happiness (especially if one has enough maturity to deal with the findings/truth).

Misology is the prophylaxis of Reason; therefore it can never be the source of happiness. 

Comments

  1. Max, " Misology is the prophylaxis of Reason; therefore it can never be the source of happiness." - very well said! I can only assume that people get tired of thinking and when they do they temporarly become allergic to thought. But does it bring any benefits, even if temporary? Well, it depends of one's line of duty, cause some people do not have the luxury of spending one second without fragmenting thoughts and analysing every single bit of them.

    Excellent post, Max!

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    1. Hi Ana :D!

      "Max, " Misology is the prophylaxis of Reason; therefore it can never be the source of happiness." - very well said!"

      Thank you *bowing*...

      "I can only assume that people get tired of thinking and when they do they temporarly become allergic to thought. But does it bring any benefits, even if temporary? Well, it depends of one's line of duty, cause some people do not have the luxury of spending one second without fragmenting thoughts and analysing every single bit of them."

      You got a good point there: not everybody can contemplate the hypothesis of yielding to misology even if for a second (since the price would be too high). I don't see any benefit in burying one's head in the sand and avoiding dealing with life.

      "Excellent post, Max!"

      Thank you, darling *bowing*.

      Ana, thank you ever so much for sharing your thoughts with us :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  2. The problem is in confusing pleasure with happiness. Pleasure will surely give happiness but happiness does not depend on pleasure. Another problem is defining pleasure. Let me give you an example; I have a fairly large books covering many topics as my taste in reading is quite eclectic. Earlier this afternoon, my father glanced at a recently acquired book and asked me why I don't consider selling off my books to the local library. When I told him that I intend organising the books in a more systematic way when I redecorate the house, he thought that I was daft. It gave him great pleasure to share his opinion with me, but he could not get happiness out of my reaction nor could he understand the happiness that I derive from reading what he considers unimportant.

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    1. Hi Rummy :D!

      "The problem is in confusing pleasure with happiness. Pleasure will surely give happiness but happiness does not depend on pleasure."

      You got a point.

      "Another problem is defining pleasure."

      Yes, what may be pleasurable to me may not be to you or to the next person...and which of us is happy or happier? And are we so because of the pleasure or despite it? All good questions that the anti-thought would condemn us for even daring to think of them lol.

      "Let me give you an example; I have a fairly large books covering many topics as my taste in reading is quite eclectic. Earlier this afternoon, my father glanced at a recently acquired book and asked me why I don't consider selling off my books to the local library. When I told him that I intend organising the books in a more systematic way when I redecorate the house, he thought that I was daft."

      Excellent example!
      lol lol your father is not alone. Did you know that there this trend called bookcrossing? Apparently it is to encourage people to share books and not keep them in the home-libraries. I always wonder whether people know that books are assets? But that is another topic for another article...

      "It gave him great pleasure to share his opinion with me, but he could not get happiness out of my reaction nor could he understand the happiness that I derive from reading what he considers unimportant."

      I see what you mean. Many times I find myself in the same position as yours...

      Rummy, an outstanding input without any doubt: thank you so much for complementing this article :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  3. Olá Max,

    Pleasure can be the same as happiness, in a sense that in order to be happy one needs to be pleased, needs to be in delight, enjoyed and/or gratified with whatever makes them feel as such.

    Pleasure can also be the same as unhappiness, in a sense that one can take delight, enjoyment and/or gratification in sadness (there are people who actually prefer sadness over joy), in pain (sado-maso), in darkness.

    One thinks he hates reason but what he really hates is the outcome of reasoning, because it may not match his wishes and needs. This may lead him to pause thinking for a second, but then he will immediately resume reason, because that's what defines us as humans-we can't help it, Max.

    Tchau

    P.S: of all Fernando Pessoa's heteronyms I prefer Ricardo Reis (doctor, epicurean and a supporter of a monarchy).

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    1. Olá Celeste :D!

      "Pleasure can be the same as happiness, in a sense that in order to be happy one needs to be pleased, needs to be in delight, enjoyed and/or gratified with whatever makes them feel as such. Pleasure can also be the same as unhappiness, in a sense that one can take delight, enjoyment and/or gratification in sadness (there are people who actually prefer sadness over joy), in pain (sado-maso), in darkness."

      I see what you mean. So, pleasure (of anything: good or less good) is intimately related to happiness? But can one be happy yielding to pleasures only without balancing it with reason?

      "One thinks he hates reason but what he really hates is the outcome of reasoning, because it may not match his wishes and needs. This may lead him to pause thinking for a second, but then he will immediately resume reason, because that's what defines us as humans-we can't help it, Max."

      I agree.

      "(...) of all Fernando Pessoa's heteronyms I prefer Ricardo Reis (doctor, epicurean and a supporter of a monarchy)."

      lol I hear you. I actually like them all because they all teach us different sides of humans (and because they are the expression of Pessoa's genius), but obviously I agree with Alberto Caeiro the least.

      Celeste, thank you ever so much for your fabulous input :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  4. Of course humans are animals. All we can possibly do is seek happiness, which we perceive through pleasure. This pleasure isn't limited to just that of the senses though. We derive a lot of pleasure from inner thoughts and interaction with other people. Logic, in my opinion, is just a useful tool that we have that allows us to better achieve pleasure- and thus, happiness.

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    1. Hi Vid :D!

      "Of course humans are animals."

      Although we have things in common with animals, we are not animals (exactly because we reason; we solve complex problems; we developed several languages; we have several other complex features that defines as "persons" and not as "animals").

      "All we can possibly do is seek happiness, which we perceive through pleasure. This pleasure isn't limited to just that of the senses though. We derive a lot of pleasure from inner thoughts and interaction with other people."

      What kind of sensation do your inner thoughts provoke in you? Interacting with people necessarily involve the senses, yes? So you defend that pleasure is intimately related to the senses.

      "Logic, in my opinion, is just a useful tool that we have that allows us to better achieve pleasure- and thus, happiness."

      lol a lot of people achieve pleasure, and thus happiness, without making a conscious use of logics; don't you think so? But I'd agree that Logics is a vital tool for success, for example.

      Vid, thank you so much for your fabulous comment, man :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  5. My brain is my favorite toy. I'm not about to stop playing. :D

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    1. Hi Jean :D!

      "My brain is my favorite toy. I'm not about to stop playing. :D"

      LOL I totally hear you!

      Jean, thank you so much for your most interesting input :D. Always a pleasure.

      Cheers

      Delete
  6. You know my feelings when it comes to happiness. Happiness is a choice. The only true source of happiness is ones own attitudes. To me, it is clear, not simple by any means, but clear.

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    1. Hi Mel :D!

      "Happiness is a choice."

      I agree. And I would even add that happiness also lies in beinh able to accept, and face, the consequences of our choices.

      "The only true source of happiness is ones own attitudes. To me, it is clear, not simple by any means, but clear."

      It depends: those attitudes are based one what?
      a) On reason? If yes, then one's own attitudes can be the source of happiness.
      b) On thoughtlessness? If yes, then one's own attitudes cannot be the source of happiness; because they will cause distress and the consequences of those same attitudes will cause even further tension and, maybe, even unhappiness.

      True, nothing is simple about existence; but that is not impediment for clarity.

      Mel, outstanding comment for which I thank you ever so much, man :D. Your wisdom was missed!

      Cheers

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  7. I don't believe in verbosity any more.

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    1. Mel,

      YOU used to believe in verbosity? I never perceived you as a wordy guy...I must have been distracted ;).
      I like succinctness myself, so don't worry :).

      Your fan,
      Max

      Delete
  8. Let's see .... I am happy, therefore I don't think. But Descartes said, I think, therefore I am. Inverting this we get: I don't think, therefore I am not. Thus, we derive the principle "I am happy, therefore I don't exist". This explains a lot of things that I was having difficulty to understand.

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    1. Hi Looney :D!

      "I am happy, therefore I don't think."

      It sounds silly, doesn't it?

      "But Descartes said, I think, therefore I am. Inverting this we get: I don't think, therefore I am not. Thus, we derive the principle "I am happy, therefore I don't exist"."

      That is exactly what I think every time I read Alberto Caeiro's theories and Kant's brief suggestion...it is simply preposterous (and an illusion as well).

      "This explains a lot of things that I was having difficulty to understand."

      lol...should I dare asking: like what?

      Looney, I absolutely loved your comment, mate. Absolutely brilliant: thank you ever so much :D. Always a pleasure!

      Cheers

      Delete
  9. Hi Max,

    I have a theory that philosophers talk about happiness because they are miserable, thus they spend time reasoning. Reasoning is a great tool, it keeps the mind busy.

    A friend from England used to say this all the time, "Happiness is a cigar called Hamlet." It was one of the most famous British advertising campaigns for Hamlet Cigars, until all tobacco advertising on television was banned in the UK in 1991.

    For me, happiness is a choice. When all of the reasoning goes out of the window, we still have to make a choice as to how we feel about our life situation and whether it makes us content. Happiness is acceptance of the self.

    A profound subject that surely takes time to decipher. Thanks for taking us there again.

    Happiness Cheers!

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    1. Hey Lady A :D!

      "I have a theory that philosophers talk about happiness because they are miserable, thus they spend time reasoning. Reasoning is a great tool, it keeps the mind busy."

      LOL that theory is a very interesting one, although I do not agree with it entirely. Yes, it is.

      "A friend from England used to say this all the time, "Happiness is a cigar called Hamlet." It was one of the most famous British advertising campaigns for Hamlet Cigars, until all tobacco advertising on television was banned in the UK in 1991."

      lol indeed. Yes, tobacco ads on TV were banned all over EC (European Community) in 1991.

      "For me, happiness is a choice. When all of the reasoning goes out of the window, we still have to make a choice as to how we feel about our life situation and whether it makes us content. Happiness is acceptance of the self."

      Most definitely.

      "A profound subject that surely takes time to decipher. Thanks for taking us there again."

      True, my dear. You are most welcome *bowing*.

      Lady A, thank you ever so much for your superb input (loved it) :D.

      Choose Happiness Cheers

      Delete
  10. Pessoa, under Caeiro, is contradicting himself. To reach all the conclusions he reached he made use of philosophical thought. Entering the complex world of thought brought him much happiness after all.

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    1. Hi Anonymous :D!

      "Pessoa, under Caeiro, is contradicting himself. To reach all the conclusions he reached he made use of philosophical thought. Entering the complex world of thought brought him much happiness after all."

      You are 100% correct.

      Anonymous, thank you ever so much for your outstanding input :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  11. Can't agree with you more...even from my personal experiences I have seen, the ones who always remain quiet and oblivious to the happenings tends to have lesser enemies than the ones who love to debate, are argumentative, love to raise pertinent issues all the time. The later ones will be brandished in the league of talkatives, the all-knowers and somehow would be seen with suspect eyes, whenever something wrong happens, even though the culprit may be the quiet one, who knowingly or unknowingly commits something grave.

    To me life is about a little bit of adventure else it becomes dull, if we aren't stirring our mind a little on the fear that what the other may think. It should be instinctive although we should draw a line to our instincts and not go over-board to the point that it may cause embarrassment to someone else. I can recount an experience where in a party a girl was wearing a skirt of knee length, which was nothing indecent, but suddenly someone from the backdrop commented loudly in front of everyone of her skirt being too short and she is dressing in-decently. And the girl with embarrassment just left the party.

    But ultimately to keep ourselves informed, active and part of a society, we should not keep our mind idle, but whenever something comes to our knowledge, we should go in-depth, rather than remain shallow.

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    1. Hi Kalyan :D!

      "Can't agree with you more...even from my personal experiences I have seen, the ones who always remain quiet and oblivious to the happenings tends to have lesser enemies than the ones who love to debate, are argumentative, love to raise pertinent issues all the time."

      lol True. Well, it is easy to avoid making foes when we apparently do not engage with anyone nor in anything.

      "The later ones will be brandished in the league of talkatives, the all-knowers and somehow would be seen with suspect eyes, whenever something wrong happens, even though the culprit may be the quiet one, who knowingly or unknowingly commits something grave."

      Let me bow to your words *bowing*. This passage is so machiavellian: loved it!

      "To me life is about a little bit of adventure else it becomes dull, if we aren't stirring our mind a little on the fear that what the other may think. It should be instinctive although we should draw a line to our instincts and not go over-board to the point that it may cause embarrassment to someone else."

      I couldn't agree more with you.

      "I can recount an experience where in a party a girl was wearing a skirt of knee length, which was nothing indecent, but suddenly someone from the backdrop commented loudly in front of everyone of her skirt being too short and she is dressing in-decently. And the girl with embarrassment just left the party."

      *nodding*...

      "But ultimately to keep ourselves informed, active and part of a society, we should not keep our mind idle, but whenever something comes to our knowledge, we should go in-depth, rather than remain shallow."

      True, true and true.

      Kalyan, my God...fabulous, exciting and outstanding input: the perfect complement to this article - thank you ever so much for sharing your thoughts with us, mate :D.

      Cheers

      Delete

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