On Gratification

by Dorian Minors

March 28, 2021

Analects  |  Newsletter

Excerpt

Gratification, to me, is one aspect of any good cynosure: something to focus on in a value system if you believe what I believe. These are the positive states and pleasure are a function of our self-renewal, and no effort at betterment can be complete without them.

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By balancing surrender and constraint, our gratification in the contect of our successes lies at the core of our wellbeing.

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All major traditions of wellbeing tell us that we should also be guided toward eudaimonia by something like the Hindu kama or Maslow’s hierarchy toward self-actualization. The autopoietic drive towards those positive states and pleasure which are the function of our self-renewal, but also that which drives us towards creativity and expression. Our cravings for gratification can often be maladaptive and, as captured in the Buddhist taṇhā, lead to suffering. Yet, by balancing surrender and constraint, gratification remains at the core of eudaemonia, and no true betterment can occur without celebrating the fruits of our successes.

So, let’s celebrate them.


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