Joy or Pleasure

Have you ever thought of the difference between joy and pleasure? You think you might have experienced them all the time. Which one is transient? And which one is permanent? Do you want to be in joy or in pleasure? Or none of them? Everyone wants to remain happy. But will everyday happiness give you joy or pleasure? Joy is something that is above pleasure which is a form of happiness, but sometimes pleasure comes out to be above joy, for example, they say “sexual pleasure,” not “sexual joy.” Joy at times, according to some ancient philosophers, is associated with decency while pleasure with decadence. I really do not see as much difference between them although a dictionary defines joy as “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness” while pleasure is defined as “a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment.” That said “joy” sounds pleasurable to the soul while “pleasure” sounds pleasurable to the body. We say “tears of joy” that appeals to the heart to which the brain connects and the tears come out. We say “sexual pleasure” that appeals to carnal that connects to brain and one feels satisfied.  But both bring happiness. Satisfaction and enjoyment are received through food, sex, and drink, but there are others who get satisfaction and enjoyment through meditation, yoga, and writing. The former is deemed more sensual while the latter is more sensuous.

To be in joy is to be in pain. “Tears of joy” the phrase contains some pain. Even “sexual pleasure” does contain some pain that turns out to be a state of happiness and satisfaction. After a person cries in pain that brings “catharsis” as Aristotle says in his definition of tragic drama. Similarly, if so is the case, catharsis is produced after ejaculation which is kind of death leading to life.

Some ancient philosophers, thinkers, and writers, such as Plutarch, Petrarch, and Montaigne associated pleasure with the idea of decency and decorum although they could not ignore the joy that they would receive from bodily pleasure. They found joy in valor, meditation, and celibacy while they underscored how one could be in joy through carousing and revelation. But the wise men hardly indulged in sensual joy. For them, according to Seneca, a wise man can accept death wisely. In the past, in Spartan war, if someone died, it would be a matter of joy because he died for the sake of country. That was a matter of pleasure and satisfaction.   

To be in joy is to be in pain. “Tears of joy” the phrase contains some pain. Even “sexual pleasure” does contain some pain that turns out to be a state of happiness and satisfaction. After a person cries in pain that brings “catharsis” as Aristotle says in his definition of tragic drama. Similarly, if so is the case, catharsis is produced after ejaculation which is kind of death leading to life.

Sometimes, you can be in joy reflecting on your memories and you cry that makes you feel good. Sometimes, I myself listen to old songs and cry silently that relives me from stress, anxiety, boredom, and frustration. My wife cries every time she phone calls me and says, “I miss you” that relieves her and makes her feel better, her mood turns brighter. Every day we are in joy and pleasure. Both are conflating. I feel great while peeing if I am full, while defecating if I have diarrhea, while scratching if I have an itch. The moments are inexpressible. A sublimity is achieved. It is a mixture of pain and pleasure. That is the real happiness, satisfaction, and pleasure.

Finally, if we go back to the dictionary definition of both “joy” and “pleasure,” both fall in the same category. If “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness” is joy, and “a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment” is pleasure, replace the word “pleasure” in “joy’s” definition with the definition of pleasure and it comes out to be the same. It all depends how one is happy, satisfied, and pleased that matters.

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