And I will give you 10 years of bliss!
If you could live 10 years of your life in total bliss – with NO pain – but in the end, not remember any of it – would you do it?
I was stumbling, after a long time, when I came across this question. And according to Aristotle, you should say no. I would agree with him for various reasons.
I am the sum of my experience
The individual that I am, is not just a 3 dimensional figure frozen in time. I would have to say that every atom that is present in the universe has its influence on me, and so has every thought that goes through the minds of other people. The interaction between 2 or more objects (living or non-living) would have an impact on who I am and how I think. Even a piece of rock could make me think and channel my thought. The sight of two people fighting might make me think of peace, and diplomatic conversations might make me think of taking up a rifle.
For better or for worse, the influence that the world has made on me is part of who I am, and I would not want to lose any part of it, whether it is 10 years or 1 second.
You evolve when you are forced to
If you have total bliss for 10 years, those are 10 years you have wasted. A person who has failed in everything he did in 10 years would have learnt more than you did and he would have been richer for the experience. If you know that you will have total bliss for the next 10 years, why would you try to do anything to ensure your happiness? At best you might save something to keep you going after the 10 years.
What would happen if you release a wild animal into the forest after giving it food for a year? Do you think it will be able to cope?
Happiness v/s Pleasure
Don’t say you are happy when you watch a movie or hear a joke. Your brain is tickled into giving you pleasure. If it is a really good movie, you might feel something close to happiness, but it is still an illusion. The pleasure from a movie, joke, good food etc are fleeting. True happiness is achieved through your accomplishment, or accomplishments of those you care about, be it a fellow human being, a group or a nation. When you set out to get something, there are challenges that you have to overcome and the sense of accomplishment and the happiness you derive from it is based on the perceived difficulty of those challenges.
Imagine a person climbed Mount Everest. Don’t you think he would have faced challenges? At the top of Everest, he would literally be on top of the world. Compare that with watching an inspiring movie. What do you think will last longer? The pleasure of watching the movie or achievement of climbing Mt. Everest?
Let me illustrate something else with the same example. What if that person was set on top of Everest, call it divine intervention! Will he be able to climb down? The descent is much more dangerous than the ascent and the ascent prepares you for the descent. Do you think you will be able to live 10 years not knowing what will happen and what you should do, when you don’t remember what happened in the last 10 years?