13. THE VALUE OF LIFE (Optimism And Pessimism)
13.0 Good World Or Miserable Life
 A counterpart to the question concerning the purpose and destiny of life (see Chapter 11) is the question of the value of life. Here we encounter two opposing views, and between them all conceivable attempts at compromise. One view says: The world is the best possible, and to live and work in it is a good of inestimable value. Everything that exists displays harmonious and purposeful cooperation and is worthy of admiration. Even what appears bad and evil can be seen, from a higher point of view, to be good, for it represents a beneficial contrast to the good. We are more able to appreciate the good when it is clearly contrasted with evil. In any case evil is not truly real; what we experience as evil is only a lesser degree of good. Evil is the absence of good; in itself it is without significance.
 The opposite view claims that life is full of misery and agony. Everywhere pain outweighs pleasure, sorrow outweighs joy. Existence is a burden, and under all circumstances non-existence would be preferable to existence.
 The main proponents of the first view—Optimism—are Shaftesbury and Leibniz; of the second view—Pessimism— the main proponents are Schopenhauer and Eduard von Hartmann.
13.1 Best Possible World (cooperative participation)
 Leibnitz says the world is the best there can be. A better world is not possible. For God is good and wise. A good God wants to create the best possible world; a wise God knows what is best. He is able to distinguish the best from all other possible worse ones. Only an evil or unwise God would create a less than perfect world.
 Whoever starts from this point of view will find it easy to set the direction human conduct should take in order to contribute its share to the greatest good of the world. All that is necessary is for the human being to inquire into God's decrees and act accordingly. Once he knows what God's intentions are for the world and for humanity, he will be able to do what is right. And he will feel happy knowing he is adding his share to all the other good in the world. From this optimistic standpoint, then, life is worth living. It must stimulate us to cooperative participation.
13.2 Pain Of Striving (universal idleness)
 Schopenhauer pictures things differently. He does not think of ultimate reality as an all-wise and all-good being, but as blind craving or will. The fundamental characteristic of all willing is eternal striving, ceaseless craving for satisfaction that is for ever beyond reach. As soon as one goal is attained a new need arises, and so on. Satisfaction, when it does occur, lasts less than an instant. All the rest of life consists of cravings that are never fulfilled, of dissatisfaction and suffering. If at last blind craving is dulled, then all content is gone from our lives; an endless boredom fills our existence. The best one can do is to stifle all wishes and needs within us and exterminate the will. Schopenhauer’s Pessimism leads to complete inactivity; his ethical goal is universal idleness.
13.3 Pain Outweighs Pleasure (selfless service)
Hartmann tries to justify pessimism and then use it as a foundation for ethics in a very different way. He follows a favorite modern trend and attempts to base his worldview on experience. By observing life he wants to discover whether there is more pleasure or more pain in the world. He reviews before the court of reason whatever appears to people as good or fortunate, in order to show that on closer inspection all so-called satisfaction turns out to be illusion. It is illusion to believe that we have sources of happiness and satisfaction in health, youth, freedom, sufficient income, love (sexual satisfaction), compassion, friendship and family life; in self-esteem, honor, fame, power, religious education, pursuit of science and of art, hope of life after death, or participation in cultural progress. When looked at soberly, every enjoyment brings much more evil and misery into the world than pleasure. The displeasure of a hangover is always greater than the pleasure of intoxication. Pain far outweighs pleasure in the world. No person, even the relatively happiest one, if asked, would want to go through this miserable life a second time. Since Hartmann does not deny the existence of an ideal factor (wisdom) in the world, and even gives it equal standing with blind urge (will), he can credit the creation of the world to his Absolute Being only by allowing pain to serve a wise world purpose. Now, since he sees the life of the world as a whole as identical with the life of God, all pain is nothing but God's pain. A Being that is all-wise can only have as its goal release from suffering and, since all existence is suffering, that means release from existence. The world was created with the purpose of transforming existence into the far better non-existence. The course of the world is a continuous struggle against God's pain, which will finally end with the annihilation of all existence. Therefore, human morality is participation in the annihilation of existence. God has created the world so that through it he can free himself from his infinite pain. According to Hartmann, that pain must “in a sense be regarded as an itching eruption on the Absolute.” Through this itching eruption, the unconscious healing power of the Absolute frees itself from an inner illness; or we may think of it “as a painful poultice that the All-One Being applies to itself, in order first to draw the inner pain outward and then remove it altogether.” Human beings are part of the world. God suffers in them. He created them in order to disperse his infinite pain. The pain that each one of us suffers is only a drop in the infinite ocean of God’s pain (Hartmann, Phenomenology of Moral Consciousness).
 The human being must steep himself in the knowledge that the pursuit of individual satisfaction (egoism) is foolish. He ought to be guided solely by the task of dedicating himself to the redemption of God through selfless service to world progress. The Pessimism of Hartmann, in contrast to the Pessimism of Schopenhauer (universal idleness), leads to activity devoted to a lofty task.
 But can it be said that this view is actually based on experience?
13.4 Pleasure Of Striving (future goal)
 To strive for satisfaction means that our life activity reaches out beyond the present content of life. A creature will strive to satisfy its hunger when its organic functions demand fresh supplies of life sustaining nourishment in order to continue. To strive for honor means that a person only considers what he does or leaves undone to be of value when he receives outside recognition from others. The striving for knowledge arises when a person finds that something is missing in the world that he sees, hears, etc., as long as he has not understood it. The fulfillment of striving causes pleasure in the striving individual, failure causes pain. Here it is important to notice that pleasure or pain are dependent on the fulfillment or non-fulfillment of my striving. The striving itself can by no means be counted as pain. Even though a new striving may arise the moment one has been fulfilled, this is no reason for saying that pleasure has produced pain in me, because in fact enjoyment always creates a desire for it to be repeated or desire for new pleasure. I can speak of pain only when a desire hits up against the impossibility of fulfillment. Even when an enjoyment creates a desire for a greater or more refined pleasure I can only speak of it as pain caused by the first pleasure when the possibility to experience the greater or more refined pleasure fails. When pain follows enjoyment as a consequence of natural law, for example when a woman’s sexual enjoyment results in the pain of childbirth, only then can I speak of enjoyment being a direct cause of pain. If striving caused pain, then the removal of striving should be accompanied by pleasure. But the opposite is true. A lack of striving in one's life causes boredom, and boredom is connected with pain. Since striving can go on for a long time before receiving any fulfillment, and since, in the meantime, one is content to live in the hope of fulfillment, it must be recognized that there is no connection in principle between pain and striving, but that pain depends solely on the non-fulfillment of the striving. Schopenhauer, then, is certainly wrong when he declares that desire or striving (the will) as being in principle the source of pain.
 In reality, the opposite is true. Striving (desire) is in itself pleasurable. Who does not know the pleasure of living in the hope of a distant, but intensely desired goal? This pleasure is the companion of all work whose fruit will be enjoyed by us only in the future. This pleasure is entirely independent of our achieving the goal. When the goal is reached the pleasure of fulfillment is then added, as something new, to the pleasure of striving. Someone may now say: The pain of not reaching one's goal is increased by the pain of disappointed hope, and this makes the pain of non-fulfillment still greater than the possible pleasure of fulfillment. The reply to this would be: The reverse can also occur; the recollection of past pleasure will just as often work to ease the pain caused by non-fulfillment. He who cries out in the face of shattered hopes: “I have done all that I could!” is living proof of this. The inspiring feeling of having tried one's best is overlooked by those who say of every unfulfilled desire that, not only has the joy of fulfillment been lost, but also the enjoyment of striving has been destroyed.
13.5 Quantity Of Pleasure (rational estimate of feeling)
The satisfaction of a desire causes pleasure and its non-satisfaction causes pain. But we should not conclude from this fact that pleasure always means the satisfaction of a desire and pain means its non-satisfaction. Both pleasure and pain can be experienced without being the result of desire. Illness is pain that is not preceded by desire. If someone claims that illness is an unsatisfied desire for health, he makes the mistake of regarding the natural and unconscious wish not to become sick to be a positive desire. If someone receives an inheritance from a rich relative whose existence he had not the slightest idea, he experiences a pleasure that was not preceded by desire.
 If we are to investigate whether there is more pleasure or pain in the world, we must take into account the pleasure of striving, the pleasure of fulfilled striving, and the pleasure that comes to us without the effort of striving. On the debit side of our account sheet we must enter the pain of boredom, the pain of unfulfilled striving, and finally the pain that comes our way without any striving on our part. Under this last heading belongs the pain caused by work not chosen by ourselves but forced upon us.
 This leads to the question: What is the right method for estimating the balance between our credit and the debit columns? According to Eduard von Hartmann reason is able to establish this. However he also says: “Pain and pleasure exist only to the extent that they are actually felt.” From this statement it would follow that there can be no standard for pleasure other than the subjective standard of feeling. I must 'feel' whether the sum total of my feelings of pain, compared with the sum total of my feelings of pleasure, results in a balance of more joy or more pain. But disregarding this, Hartmann asserts that, “Even though the value of life of each individual can only be assessed according to his own subjective standard, this is not to say that everyone is capable of calculating the correct algebraic sum from all the emotions that influence his life; in other words, there is no guarantee that his overall judgment of his own life that he arrives at concerning his subjective experiences would be correct." However, in saying this, Hartmann has once more made rational judgment as the standard of value to estimate feeling.
 It is because Von Hartmann holds this view that he thinks it necessary, if he is to evaluate life correctly, to set aside all factors that falsify our judgment about the balance between pleasure and pain. He tries to do this in two ways. First, by showing that our desire (instinct, will) interferes with a sober evaluation of our feelings. For example, we should tell ourselves that sexual enjoyment is a source of evil, the power of the sexual drive seduces us, promising greater pleasure than it delivers. We want the enjoyment, and so do not admit to ourselves that it makes us suffer. Second, von Hartmann subjects feelings to criticism to show that, when examined by reason, the things to which our feelings attach themselves turn out to be illusions, and are destroyed the moment our constantly growing intelligence sees through the illusion.
13.6 Quality Of Pleasure (critical examination of feeling)
 Von Hartmann, then, thinks of the matter in the following way. Suppose an ambitious man wants to clearly know whether his life has so far contained more pleasure or pain. To do this he has to eliminate two sources of error that are likely to affect his judgment. Since he is ambitious, this basic trait of his character will cause him to magnify the joys from the public recognition of his achievements and minimize the humiliation of his setbacks. Back when he suffered the setbacks, he felt the insults deeply, precisely because he is ambitious. In memory, however, these setbacks appear in a milder light; while the pleasures of recognition, for which he is so susceptible, leave a far deeper impression. Certainly, it is a real benefit to an ambitious man that it should be so. The deception diminishes his pain at the time of introspection. Nevertheless, his judgment is false. Although he actually experienced the full intensity of the suffering when it occurred, time has drawn a veil over it, so he enters it at an incorrect valuation in his account book of life. In order to arrive at a correct judgment, an ambitious man would have to set aside his ambition during the time he is making his calculation and review his life without any distorting glasses before his mind’s eye. Otherwise, he is like a merchant who includes his zeal for business in the income column of his books.
 Hartmann goes even further. He says the ambitious man must also realize that the acclaim he so eagerly pursues is valueless. Either on his own or with the help of others, he must come to the insight that a reasonable person cannot care about the recognition of others, since one can always be sure that:
"In all matters, except vital questions of evolution, or those definitely settled by science," one can always be sure that “the majority is wrong and the minority is right... Whoever makes ambition his guiding star places his life happiness at the mercy of an unreliable judgment.” (Philosophy of the Unconscious)
Once the ambitious man admits all this to himself he will recognize everything as an illusion that he has achieved through his ambition, including the feelings attached to satisfying his ambitious desires. This is why Hartmann says the feelings of pleasure produced by illusions must also be removed from the balance sheet of the value of life. What is left, then, represents the illusion-free sum of pleasure, and this is so small in comparison with the sum of endured pain that life is not enjoyable, and non-existence is preferable to existence.
 While it is obvious that the interference of the ambition instinct must lead to a false result when calculating the balance of pleasure, we must still challenge what Hartmann says about the illusory character of the things that are found pleasurable. It would be an error to remove from the calculation of life’s pleasure all pleasurable feelings connected with actual or supposed illusions. The ambitious man has genuinely enjoyed the acclaim of the masses, regardless of whether he or someone else later recognizes this acclaim is an illusion. This later recognition does not at all diminish the happy feeling he already enjoyed. The elimination of all these “illusory” feelings from life's balance sheet does not make our judgment about our feelings more correct, but rather erases from life actual feelings that were experienced.
 And why should those feelings be eliminated? [Whoever has these feelings gains pleasure from them; whoever has conquered them gains through the experience of self-conquest an ennobled pleasure that is purely mental, but no less significant. (not from the vain emotion: “What a wonderful person I am!” but rather through the objective source of pleasure to be found in self-conquest) 1918] If feelings are deleted from the pleasure side of our account because they are attached to things that turn out to be illusion, we make the value of life dependent, not on the quantity, but on the quality of pleasure, and this quality, in turn, is made dependent on the value of the things that cause the pleasure. But if I set out to determine the value of life by comparing the quantity of pleasure with the pain it brings, I have no right to bring in some other factor by which I first determine the value or non-value of the pleasure. If I say I will compare the amount of pleasure with the amount of pain and see which is greater, then I must take into account all pleasure and pain in their actual amounts, whether they are based on illusion or not. If I credit a lesser value to a pleasure that is based on an illusion than to one that can be justified by reason, then I make the value of life dependent on factors other than pleasure.
 To assess a pleasure at a lower value because it is derived from something frivolous is like a merchant who enters in his account the considerable profits of a toy factory at a quarter of their worth, on the grounds that the factory produces only playthings for children.
 When it is simply a question of weighing the amount of pleasure against the amount of pain, then the illusory character of certain things giving pleasure should be left entirely out of the picture.
13.7 Pursuit Of Pleasure (hopelessness of egotism)
 The rational criticism of the quantities of pleasure and pain caused by life, the method recommended by Hartmann, has led us to the point where we know how to set up our account; we know what we have to put down on each side of our balance sheet. But how should the actual calculation be made? Is reason able to determine the balance?
 A merchant has made a mistake in his calculations if his calculated profit does not match a business’s past profits that can be shown or can be projected as future gains. Likewise, a philosopher will have made a mistake in his estimate, if it is impossible to prove that his estimated surplus of pleasure—or, as the case may be, of pain—that he has somehow reasoned out, is actually felt.
 For the moment, I will disregard the calculations of the Pessimists who support their view of the value of the world with rational estimation. However, someone who has to decide whether to carry on the business of life or not will demand to be shown where the alleged surplus of pain is to be found.
 Here we touch the point where reason alone is not in a position to determine the surplus of pleasure or pain, but where this surplus must be shown in life as something actually felt. For human beings cannot attain the reality (truth) of things through concepts alone, but only through the interpenetration, mediated by thinking, of concepts and percepts (and feelings are percepts) (see Chapter 5). A merchant, after all, will give up his business only if the losses calculated by his accountant are confirmed by the facts. If that does not happen, he will have the accountant calculate the figures again. This is exactly what a person will do in the business of life. If a philosopher tries to convince him that life contains more pain than pleasure, but he does not experience it that way, then he will say to the philosopher: "You have made a mistake in your theorizings; think it through again! But if a time comes when a business faces losses so great that its credit can no longer satisfy the creditors, then bankruptcy will result—even if the merchant’s bookkeeping obscures the state of his affairs. Likewise, it would lead to bankruptcy in the business of life if a person's pain at some point became so great that no hope (credit) of future pleasure could get him through the pain.
 Now the number of those who commit suicide is relatively small compared with the number of those who live bravely on. Very few people give up the business of life because of the pain involved. What does that show? Either that it is not true to say that the amount of pain is greater than the amount of pleasure, or else we simply do not make the continuation of life dependent on the amount of pain or pleasure we feel.
 Eduard von Hartmann's Pessimism oddly declares that life has no value because it is dominated by pain, and yet maintains that we must go through with it anyways. We must do so because the world purpose mentioned above (13.3) can be achieved only through ceaseless, devoted human labor. But, as long as people are still pursuing their egotistical desires they are unfit for such selfless work.
 According to this view, then, the striving for pleasure is fundamentally inherent in human nature. Only out of insight into the impossibility of fulfillment does this striving withdraw and make way for higher human tasks.
 It cannot be said that Egotism is truly overcome by an ethical worldview that hopes to achieve devotion to selfless goals in life by the acceptance of Pessimism. Ethical ideals are said to be strong enough to master the will only if a person has recognized that his egotistical striving for pleasure does not lead to any satisfaction. The selfishness of the human being longs for the grapes of pleasure but declares them sour because they are beyond his reach, so he turns his back on them and devotes himself to a selfless way of life. In the Pessimist’s view, moral ideals do not have the power to overcome Egotism. Instead, they establish their rulership on the ground cleared by the recognition of the hopelessness of Egotism.
 If it is the natural disposition of the human being to strive after pleasure, but he cannot possibly achieve it, then the annihilation of existence and salvation through non-existence would be the only sensible goal. And if we accept the view that the real bearer of the pain of the world is God, it follows that the task of human beings is to help bring about the deliverance of God. This goal, far from being advanced, is hindered by the suicide of the individual. God in his wisdom must have created human beings for the sole purpose of bringing about his salvation through their labor. Otherwise creation would have no purpose. Each one of us must carry out his appointed task in the universal work of deliverance. If he withdraws from his task through suicide, then someone else must do the work intended for him. Someone else must endure the agony of existence in his place. And since God is in every being as the real bearer of pain, the suicide has not diminished the quantity God's pain, but has rather imposed upon God the additional burden of providing a replacement to take over the task.
13.8 Value Of Pleasure (satisfaction of needs)
 This whole theory presupposes that pleasure is the standard for the value of life. Life expresses itself through a number of instincts (needs). If the value of life depends on whether it brings more pleasure than pain, then an instinct that brings an excess of pain would have to be called valueless. Let us now examine instinct and pleasure to see whether the value of instinct can be measured by pleasure. In order to avoid the suspicion that life for us only begins with the “aristocratic intellect,” we begin with a “purely animal” need: hunger.
 Hunger arises when our organs can no longer continue to function properly without a fresh supply of food. What a hungry person wants first of all is to satisfy the hunger. As soon as enough food has been taken in for the hunger to cease, everything that the instinct for food craved is achieved. The pleasure that comes with being satisfied consists primarily in putting an end to the pain caused by hunger. But in addition to the mere urge to eat, there is another need. By eating, the human being does not only want to restore normal organic functions and get rid of the pain of hunger, he also wants it to be accompanied by pleasurable sensations of taste. If he feels hungry and is within half an hour of an appetizing meal, he will even refuse inferior food that could satisfy him sooner, so as not to spoil his pleasure for the better food to come. He needs the hunger in order to get the full enjoyment from his meal. In this way hunger also becomes a source of pleasure for him. Now if all the existing hunger in the world could be satisfied, it would result in the full measure of pleasure due to our desire for food. To this we would have to add the special enjoyment the gourmet achieves by cultivating his sense of taste beyond the ordinary.
 This enjoyment would have its highest possible value if all needs connected with this kind of enjoyment are satisfied and if a certain amount of pain did not have to be accepted into the bargain.
 Modern Science holds the view that Nature produces more life than it can sustain, that is to say, Nature produces more hunger than it can satisfy. In the struggle for survival, the surplus of life that is produced must perish in pain. Granted, the needs of life at any given moment in the course of the world are greater than the available means of satisfying them, and this does detract from the enjoyment of life. However, any individual enjoyment that actually does occur is not in the least reduced. Wherever a desire is satisfied, there is a corresponding amount of enjoyment, even if there is a large number of unsatisfied instincts in the desiring being itself or in others alongside it. What is diminished is the "value" of the enjoyment of life. If only a part of a living being's total needs are satisfied, it experiences a corresponding degree of pleasure. This pleasure has a lower value, the smaller it is in proportion to the total demands made on life by the instinct in question. We can imagine this value represented by a fraction, whose numerator is the actually experienced pleasure, while the denominator is the sum total of needs. This fraction has the value of 1 when the numerator and the denominator are equal, that is, when all needs are fully satisfied. The value will be greater than 1 when the being experiences more pleasure than its desires demand, and it becomes less than 1 when the quantity of pleasure falls short of the sum total of desires. But the fraction can never have the value 0 as long as the numerator has any value at all, however small. If a person were to make a final account before his death, distributing over his whole life the amount of pleasure he had derived from a certain instinct—for example, hunger with all its demands—then the total pleasure he had experienced might have a very small value, but it could never be nil. In a case where the amount of pleasure remains constant the pleasure of life will diminish if the needs of the being increases. The same is true for the sum total of all life in nature. The greater the total number of creatures in proportion to those who are able to fully satisfy their instinctive cravings, the smaller is the average value of the pleasure of life. Our shares in life’s pleasure in the form of instincts fall in value when there is no hope of cashing them in at their full value. If I get enough to eat for three days and then have to go hungry for the next three days, the enjoyment on the three days when I ate is not diminished. But, as I have to think of it as distributed over six days, its value for my need of food is reduced by half. The same applies to the amount of pleasure in relation to the degree of my need. If to satisfy my hunger I need two sandwiches but I can only get one, the enjoyment gained from eating the one sandwich has only half the value it would have had if it had satisfied my hunger. This is how the value of a pleasure is determined in life. It is measured by the needs of life. Our desires are the measure; pleasure is what is measured. The enjoyment of eating has a value only because hunger exists, and it attains a specific value in proportion to the degree of the existing hunger.
 Unfulfilled demands cast a shadow even over satisfied desires, and detract from the value of enjoyable hours. One can also speak of the value of a present feeling of pleasure. The present value of a pleasure is lower, the smaller the pleasure is compared to the duration and intensity of our desire.
 A quantity of pleasure has its highest value for us when it exactly matches the duration and intensity of our desire. A quantity of pleasure that is less than what is demanded by our desire reduces the value of the pleasure. A quantity that is greater produces a surplus which has not been demanded and is only felt as pleasure as long as we are able to increase the intensity of our desire during the enjoyment. If we are not able to increase our demand in order to keep pace with the increasing pleasure, then the pleasure turns into displeasure. The object that would otherwise satisfy us, overwhelms us without our wanting it, and makes us suffer. This proves that pleasure has value for us only to the extent that we can measure it against our desire. Excessive pleasure turns into pain. We can observe this especially in people who have very little desire for certain kinds of pleasure. In people whose desire for food is dulled, eating quickly leads to nausea. Again, we can see from this that desire is the measure of value for pleasure.
 The Pessimist might say that an instinct for food that remains unsatisfied is the cause not only of the loss of enjoyment, but also positive pain, suffering, and misery in the world. He can point to the untold misery of those who are starving, and to the vast amount of pain these people suffer indirectly from lack of food. And if he wants to widen his argument to the rest of nature, he can point to the suffering of animals that starve to death at certain times of the year. The Pessimist maintains that these evils far outweigh the amount of pleasure that the instinct for food brings into the world.
 There is no doubt that pleasure and pain can be compared, and one can estimate the surplus of one or the other much as we do in the case of profit and loss. But if the Pessimist believes that life has no value because it contains an excess of pain, he is mistaken, for the simple reason that he makes a calculation that is not made in real life.
13.9 Will For Pleasure (intensity of desire)
 In each case, our desire is directed toward a specific object. As we have seen, the greater our pleasure is that matches the intensity of our desire, the higher the value of pleasure in satisfying the desire. And how much pain we are willing to accept in order to achieve the pleasure also depends on the intensity of our desire. We do not compare the amount of pain with the amount of pleasure, but with the intensity of our desire. Because of his enjoyment in better times, someone who takes great pleasure in eating will find it easier to endure a period of hunger than someone else who lacks this joy of satisfying his instinct for food. A woman who wants a child does not compare the joy of having one with the amount of pain due to pregnancy and childbirth, but with her desire to have the child.
 We never strive for an abstract amount of pleasure, but for concrete satisfaction in a very specific way. If the pleasure we want can be derived only from a specific object or sensation, no other object or sensation will do, even if the amount of pleasure derived from it would be the same. Someone who wants to satisfy his hunger cannot replace the pleasure of eating by the same amount of pleasure he derives from going for a walk. Our desire would disappear only if, in a general way, it was for a certain amount of pleasure, and the price of achieving it turned out to be an even greater amount of pain. It is because we strive for a specific kind of satisfaction that we experience the pleasure of fulfillment, even if, along with it, a greater amount of pain must be accepted. The reason we cannot set down in our account the pain endured in achieving the goal as a factor of equal value to the pleasure, is because the drives of instinctive life move in a specific direction and go straight toward concrete goals. Provided the desire is strong enough to still exist to some degree after overcoming the pain—no matter how great the pain—the pleasure of satisfaction can still be enjoyed to its full extent. Thus the desire does not directly compare the pleasure sought with the pain involved in attaining it, but indirectly measures its own intensity with that of the pain. The question is not whether the pleasure to be gained is greater than the pain involved, but whether the desire for the goal is greater than the resistance of the pain involved in reaching that goal. If the resistance is greater than the desire, then the desire gives way to the inevitable, it weakens and strives no further. Since a specific kind of satisfaction is demanded, the pleasure connected with it acquires an importance that makes it possible—after satisfaction has occurred—to take account of the pain only to the extent that it has reduced the intensity of our desire. A passionate admirer of beautiful views never directly compares the amount of pleasure he gains from the mountain top view with the amount of pain caused by the laborious ascent and descent. What he does consider is whether his desire for the view will still be sufficiently intense after all obstacles have been conquered. Pleasure and pain can only be compared indirectly through the strength of the desire. The question is not whether there is more pleasure or more pain, but whether the will for pleasure is strong enough to overcome the pain.
 A proof of the correctness of this view is the fact that we put a higher value on pleasure when attained at the cost of great pain, than when it simply falls into our lap like a gift from heaven. When our desire has been tempered by pain and suffering and yet the goal is still achieved, then the pleasure in proportion to the remaining desire is all the greater. As I have shown (p. xxx) this proportion represents the value of pleasure. A further proof is given through the fact that living creatures (including humans) will seek to satisfy their instincts for as long as they are able to endure the pain and suffering involved. The struggle for existence is only a result of this fact. All existing life strives to express itself, and only those give up the fight whose desire is stifled by the force of the opposing difficulties. Every living creature seeks food until lack of food destroys its life. A human being, too, only takes his own life if he believes (rightly or wrongly) that the goals of life worth striving for are beyond his reach. He will battle against all suffering and pain for as long as he believes there is a possibility of achieving the things he considers worth striving for. Philosophy would first have to convince the human being that an act of will makes sense only when the pleasure is greater than the pain; for according to his nature he will strive to achieve what he desires for as long as he can endure the unavoidable pain, no matter how great. But such a philosophy would be mistaken because it makes the human will dependent on a factor (the surplus of pleasure over pain) which is basically foreign to human nature. The fundamental measure of the will is desire, and desire presses forward as long as it can. Suppose that, when buying a certain quantity of apples, I am required to take twice as many bad apples as good ones, because the seller wants to clear out his stock. I will not hesitate to take the bad apples as well if I value the good ones highly enough that, in addition to the purchase price, I am willing to accept the effort of disposing of the bad ones. This example illustrates the relationship between the amounts of pleasure and pain resulting from an instinct. I determine the value of the good apples, not by subtracting them from the number of bad ones, but by assessing whether the good ones still have value for me despite the presence of the bad ones.
 And just as I disregard the bad apples in my enjoyment of the good ones, so I give myself up to the satisfaction of a desire after having shaken off the unavoidable pains.
 Even if Pessimism was right in its claim that there is more pain than pleasure in the world, it would have no influence on the will, for living beings would still strive after whatever pleasure remains. The empirical proof that pain outweighs pleasure is certainly effective for showing the futility of that school of thought that sees the value of life in a surplus of pleasure (Eudaemonism). It would not, however, be suitable for showing that will in general is irrational, for the will does not seek a surplus of pleasure, but what pleasure remains after enduring the pain. This remaining pleasure still appears as a goal worth striving for.
13.10 Magnitude Of Pleasure (amusement)
 There are those who attempt to refute Pessimism on the grounds that it is not possible to calculate whether there is a surplus of pleasure or of pain in the world. Calculation is possible only if the things to be calculated are comparable in respect of their magnitudes. Every pain and every pleasure has a specific magnitude (intensity and duration). We can also compare the approximate magnitudes of different kinds of pleasurable feelings. We know whether a good cigar or a good joke gives us more pleasure. No objections can be raised against comparing different kinds of pleasure and pain according to their magnitudes. A researcher who sets out to discover whether there is a surplus of pleasure or of pain in the world starts from a legitimate premise. One may be able to show that the conclusions of Pessimism are false, but it cannot be disputed that it is possible to scientifically estimate the quantities of pleasure and pain, and from this determine the balance of pleasure. But it is incorrect to claim that the result of this calculation has any influence on the human will. The only case where our actions really depend on a surplus of pleasure is when we are indifferent about the thing toward which our activity is directed. When it is only a matter of deciding whether to amuse myself after work with a game or light conversation, and I am indifferent as to which of the two I choose, then I simply ask myself: Which will give me the most pleasure? And I will definitely abandon the activity if the scale dips toward the side of displeasure. When buying a toy for a child our choice depends on which toy we think will give the child the most pleasure. In all other cases we do not base our decisions exclusively on the balance of pleasure.
13.11 Highest Pleasure (realization of moral ideals)
 When the Pessimistic ethicist believes that he prepares the way for selfless devotion to cultural progress by showing that life contains more pain than pleasure, he overlooks that the human will, by its very nature, is not influenced by this knowledge. Human striving is directed towards the greatest possible satisfaction that is attainable after all difficulties are conquered. The hope of this satisfaction is the foundation of all human activity. The work of every individual and the whole achievement of civilization springs from this hope. The Pessimistic theory of Ethics believes that it is necessary to present the pursuit of happiness as an illusion in order to induce the human being to devote himself to his proper ethical tasks. But these ethical tasks are precisely what his actual natural and spiritual instincts desire, and he will strive to satisfy them despite the accompanying pain. In fact, the pursuit of happiness that Pessimism wants to eradicate does not exist. Once the human being recognizes his true tasks he fulfills them, because it is in his very nature that he wants to fulfill them. According to ethics based on Pessimism the human being will devote himself to his proper task in life only when he has given up the pursuit of happiness. But no system of ethics can invent any life tasks for the human being other than realizing the things he desires, and fulfilling his moral ideals. No ethics can take from him the pleasure he has in bringing to fulfillment what he wants. When the Pessimist says, “Do not strive for pleasure, for you can never attain it; strive rather for what you recognize to be your task,” we must reply, “It is inherent in human nature to do just that. The notion that he strives merely for happiness is the invention of a philosophy going off on false paths." His aim is to satisfy what his nature demands. He does not have some abstract “happiness” in mind, his pleasure is the achievement of concrete objectives. When Pessimistic Ethics demands that you not strive for pleasure, but instead strive to achieve what you recognize as your life's task, it points to the very thing that humans by their nature want. There is no need for philosophy to turn the human being inside out, he does not have to deny his nature in order to be ethical. Morality means the striving for a goal one has recognized as justified; it lies in human nature to pursue this goal as long as the pain involved does not completely extinguish the desire for it. This is the character of all genuine will. Ethical behavior does not depend on the eradication of all striving for pleasure so that anemic abstract ideas can establish their rule unchallenged by a strong desire for enjoyment in life. Ethics depends on a strong will carried by ideal intuitions that achieves its goal even though the path is full of thorns.
 Ethical ideas spring from human moral imagination. To achieve them depends on whether he desires them intensely enough to overcome pain and suffering. Ethical ideals are human intuitions, the driving force harnessed by his spirit. He wants them, because their realization is his highest pleasure. He does not need ethics to forbid him to strive for pleasure and then tell him what he should strive for. He will strive for ethical ideals if his moral imagination is sufficiently active to inspire him with intuitions that give his will the strength to make its way through all resistance, including the inner obstacles and unavoidable pain lying within his organization.
 Whoever strives for sublimely great ideals does so because they are part of his nature, and to achieve them brings a joy compared with which the pleasure that impoverished spirits draw from satisfying everyday drives is trivial. Idealists revel in spirit in translating their ideals into reality.
 Whoever wants to eradicate the pleasure of fulfilling human desires must first make the human being into a slave who does not act because he wants to, but only because he ought to. For the achievement of what one wants to do gives pleasure. What is called “the Good,” is not what a person ought to do, but what he wants to do when he expresses his fully developed true human nature. Those who cannot recognize this fact feel obligated first to drive out a person's own desires and then dictate to him from the outside what content he is to give his will.
 A human being values the fulfillment of a desire because the desire springs from his own nature. What is achieved has value because he wants it. If one denies any value to the goals of a human beings own will, then one has to find worthwhile goals in something that the human being does not want.
 A system of Ethics built on Pessimism arises from a disregard for moral imagination. Only those who consider the individual human mind as incapable of determining for itself the goals to strive for could see in the longing for pleasure the totality of the human will. A person who lacks imagination creates no ethical ideas. They must be given to him. Physical nature ensures that he strives to satisfy his lower desires. But the fully developed human being also contains desires that originate in the spirit. Only if one holds the view that the nature of the human being is completely devoid of any spiritual desires is it possible to claim that he must receive them from outside. And then it would also be justifiable to say that a person is duty bound to do things that he does not want to do. An Ethical system that demands a human being suppress his own will in order to fulfill tasks he does not want, does not take account of the whole human being, but with a stunted being who lacks the capacity for spiritual desire. In a harmoniously developed human being the ideals of virtue are not outside, but within the compass of his will. Ethical conduct does not come about by eradicating a one-sided personal will, but rather in fully developing human nature. Those who believe that ethical ideals are attainable only if the human being destroys his individual will, ignore the fact that these ideals are wanted by the human being as much as he wants to satisfy his so-called animal instincts.
13.12 Joy Of Achievement (measure achievement against aims)
 There is no denying that the views outlined here can easily be misunderstood. Immature people without moral imagination like to look at the instinctive life of their half-developed nature as the fullest expression of humanity, and reject all ethical ideas not created by them so that they can “live themselves out” without being disturbed. It is obvious that what is right for a fully developed human being does not apply to one who is only half-developed. What one expects from a fully developed person cannot be expected from the still immature who need to be brought by education to the point where their ethical nature breaks through the shell of their lower passions. It was not my intention to show what needs to be instilled into the undeveloped person, but what lies in the nature of a mature human being. My intention was to demonstrate that freedom is possible, that freedom manifests, not in acts of sensory or psychological constraint, but in those actions sustained by spiritual intuitions.
 The mature person is the maker of his own value. He does not strive for pleasure that is to him a gift of grace given by nature or by the Creator; nor does he live to fulfill what he is supposed to recognize as duty, after he has renounced all pursuit of pleasure. He acts as he wants to act—according to his ethical intuitions—and he finds the true enjoyment of life in achieving what he wants. He determines the value of life by comparing what he has achieved with the goals striven for. An Ethical system which replaces "want to" with "ought to," inclination with duty, will, as a consequence, determine the value of a human being by comparing the demands of duty with the fulfillment of duty. It places a standard on a human being that does not apply to his true nature.
The view developed in this book points the human being back to himself. It recognizes the true value of life as nothing except what each individual regards as such by the measure of his own will. It knows of no value of life that is not recognized by the individual, just as it knows of no purpose of life that does not arise from these values. It sees in the all-around development of the human being, a true individuality who is his own master and the assessor of his own value.