If we go by the definition of Hedonism, Whatever human beings consider to be good involves happiness and pleasure and whatever they consider to be bad involves unhappiness and pain. But it requires broader interpretation (from simple sensual pleasures to intellectual or spiritual
pleasures and from sensual pain to deep emotional unhappiness), otherwise it would be difficult to deny that whatever is good involves at least some pleasure or happiness and whatever is bad involves some pain or unhappiness.
One element involved in the achievement of happiness is the necessity of taking the long-range rather than the short-range view. People may undergo some pain or unhappiness in order to attain some pleasure or happiness in the long run. For example, we will put up with the pain of having our teeth drilled in order to keep our teeth and gums healthy so that we may enjoy eating and the general good health.
But there are some actions that will bring a person some good but will cause pain to another, such as act of a sadist who gains pleasure from violently mistreating another human being that can be categorised under “malicious pleasures”. Let’s understand some key concepts associated with these words;
- EXCELLENCE – William Frankena states that whatever is good will also probably involve “some degree of excellence”. Excellence is an important addition to pleasure or satisfaction in that it makes “experiences or activities better than they would otherwise be.” For example, the enjoyment or satisfaction gained from seeing a fine movie, to a great extent, is attributed to the excellence of the creators and presenters of these events.
- HARMONY AND CREATIVITY – There are two other attributes of “good” and “right” – harmony and creativity (on the “good” side) and disharmony and lack of creativity (on the “bad” side). If an action is creative and helps to bring about a harmonious integration of as many human beings as possible then we can say it is a right action. If an action has the opposite effect, then we can say that it is a wrong action. For example, Role of USA in bringing harmony between Israel and Gulf states through Abraham Accords that can create an honourable and lasting peace (Right or good action) whereas USA decision to withdraw NATO force from Afghanistan has caused instability with the rise of Taliban (Wrong and bad action).