Your Better Self > Our Primal Quests > 7 "Purposes of Life" > Pleasure & Meaning

Basic Quests: For Pleasure & Meaning

Pleasure: RH'L1

Function:   To gratify personal self-centred sensual desires.
i.e. happiness is about seeking out opportunities to enjoy food, or sex, or attention, or beauty, or entertainment, or exercise.

So: The purpose of life is «to experience pleasure and have a good time».

In a balanced person, this Quest-L'1 need not interfere with hard work, family duties, or being a responsible member of the community. It is a Primal Quest, because there is a continuing search for certain specific pleasures that are fitted in around life's essential and unavoidable tasks.

NOTE: All higher Quests can also be described as providing Pleasure, but they do not see happiness/meaning as rooted in sensual self-gratification.

ClosedRecognizing «Pleasure» as a Primal Quest

Is this Quest for Pleasure just greed?Closed Greed is manifested in a specific situation and is a dangerous form of excess that can and should be fully inhibited. By contrast, inhibition of pleasure-seeking could be regarded as a form of mental illness.

Correspondence to Root Hierarchy: Gratification of personal desire requires Action-RHL1. Action is intrinsic to indulging in pleasure, for ensuring the flow and variety of pleasures, and for controlling the process of gratification.

Meaning: RH'L2

Function:   To live a life of purpose.
i.e. happiness is about the values and goals we deliberately hold and choose to pursue: often expressed as our «ideals».

The meaningful purpose may be mundane like a steady job, or elevated like charitable work; it may be personal like having children, or social like helping to build a community.

So: The purpose of life is «to find a personal meaning for existing».

It is easy to see that this Quest, even if problematic during its pursuit, can slot into everyday life and work without the potential for conflict that accompanies the Pleasure Quest.

NOTE: All higher Quests can also be described as providingMeaning, but they do not see happiness/meaning as rooted in any personal purpose.

ClosedRecognizing «Meaning» as a Primal Quest

RH Correspondence: Suitable purposes and ideals are not assigned or obvious. Finding realistic purposes and worthwhile ideals that suit you demands Inquiry-RHL2. Inquiry is required to determine how the purposes can be pursued, how the purposes can be funded and how to win social support. The meaningful purpose may be action-based, scholarly or communal in nature.

Finding a Different Quest

With these two Primal Quests, the search for pleasure and for meaning, it may seem that the vast majority of people are covered. Perhaps. Probably. It is hard to estimate, but empirical studies are possible.

Socialization is often heavy-handed and fails to recognize hidden potentials and drives within children. You may be struggling through life with an inner sense that something is not quite right, and that your Primal Quest is neither pleasure-L'1 nor meaning-L'2. You find yourself looking or even longing for something different. If you gravitate towards similar souls who share different, possibly «higher», concerns, then it will be easier for you. (Note: «Higher» does not necessarily mean «better» in any absolute sense.)

► We are now ready to look at the first of these «higher» Quests.

Originally posted: 8-Jun-2012

All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
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