The paradox of hedonism

The paradox of hedonism, also called the pleasure paradox, refers to the practical difficulties encountered in the pursuit of pleasure. For the hedonist, constant pleasure-seeking may not yield the most actual pleasure or happiness in the long run—or even in the short run, when consciously pursuing pleasure interferes with experiencing it.


Or said more simply:

Happiness is like a cat, if you try to coax it or call it, it will avoid you; it will never come. But if you pay no attention to it and go about your business, you’ll find it rubbing against your legs and jumping into your lap.

William Bennett

Or even more simply:

Happiness is found only in little moments of inattention.

João Guimarães Rosa

I don’t know what to make of this. Is this why anticipation is the greatest joy and why planning a vacation increases happiness more than taking it? Is this why video games are so popular, because they’re good at providing “little moments of inattention” so you can get out of your own head for a bit?

How can I “pay no attention” to happiness? How can I stop pursuing it? I don’t understand.

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