The question posed to me today by my English teacher was this: “Which gives us more happiness and satisfaction? The pursuit of a desire, or the attainment thereof?” In other words, he’s asking: Does the process of earning a thing, or actually gaining it, give you more pleasure and satisfaction? My answer to that is… drumroll please…both. Each has a way of giving us satisfaction and happiness. Some might say that achieving a goal or getting a grip on something new is the way to happiness, but they forget that there are other ways to obtain happiness. Others may say that the way to pleasure lies in the pursuing of the goals; that and only that is the path to pleasure. I say they’re both right. The pursuit of a goal gives satisfaction through the knowledge of reaching a goal, say, halfway up the ladder on the way to the main purpose, and the attainment gives both happiness and satisfaction through interest in the object of achievement.
The pursuit of desires is the first of the two options given in the question and is probably the one most people would say is not how to gain happiness. Each goal under the main goal is a landmark, and if you reach one of these goals that you set for yourself, you gain a little bit of happiness every time you achieve one of them. The amount gained actually depends on the amount of work done, and/or the deadline of such goal. More work and/or a shorter deadline equals more satisfaction gained at each of your goals that you have set. Less work per goal, or a longer deadline, gives you less satisfaction when you get to the ledge. When you reach these goals there is less satisfaction waiting for you than if the whole task was complete but reaching each of those goals does give some. It also depends on what you have to do to achieve each goal. More landmarks on the way to the main goal equals more satisfaction per goal, but only just enough to keep you going onto the next one. The pursuit of desires does not give as much instant pleasure; it’s more gradual, as each goal gets you satisfied enough to keep going. Eventually, though, you have to get to the end of the job and get the desire itself.
The attainment of desires was the second option of the question, and this is the one most random people would probably choose. People think that acquiring what they want is something that makes them happy, and it does… for a time. Procuring what you want gives you instant contentment, but it never lasts long. When we first gain something, like a new computer, we are happy because we got something new, and we as humans like new things. After using it for a little while though, it is no longer new, and we don’t appreciate it as much because it’s no longer new and because we, as people, are covetous (we want more stuff constantly) and at least a little bit greedy (If you’ve ever wanted at least a little raise, then that was a little bitty piece of greed). That’s when we start wanting another something new. Again, more work and/or a shorter deadline is just another set of words for more satisfaction when completed.
So, in conclusion, both give satisfaction and pleasure, but in different ways. Pursuing desires gives pleasure through the happiness of actually getting a part of something done, and the fact that you’re closer to the main goal than before. Attaining the desire gives satisfaction by the knowledge that the task is complete and the interest in the new object gained from it. So, all in all, the answer to my English teacher’s question, “Which gives us more happiness and satisfaction? The pursuit of the desire, or the attainment thereof,” is both.