Notes on Living
If you’re going to do any kind of important (therefore controversial) work, you can really only care about what approximately 10 people in the world think about you. Choose those people carefully.
(Roughly. I’m sure he said it better)
Checking for depression, alcoholism, marijuana, illegitimacy, arrest records, and credit card debt in any group of modern-day Americans, we have to consider how appallingly common these things are in the general population.
For many people, it matters a lot that they feel heard. Often, they don't care if *are* heard, just that they *feel* heard. The bright side of the modern emphasis on feelings as opposed to reality is that you can satisfy people by just making them feel good, which is easier than really helping them. This is akin to how you can satisfy bores by letting them talk a lot in meetings and they don't mind if nobody pays any attention.
The Pleasure Machine
The philosopher Nozick attacks hedonism with the idea of the Pleasure Machine. The pleasure machine supplies you with dreams of whatever experiences you want. I think I should not plug into the pleasure machine, but why not?
A cruder version is The Wirehead of Larry Niven's science fiction. A wire stimulates the pleasure center of your brain.
The pleasure of the wiread is comparable to sexual pleasure.
We would despise someone whose preoccupation in life was hooking up to a wire to stimulate the pleasure center of his brain. Why, then, do we give so much respect to sexual desire? Why is it so important that a person be gratified by the pleasure from his preferred personal perversion?