SAT Prompt 1

July 17, 2013

Hello, again. I am quite disappointed in myself for not writing another blog post until now. Of course I can come up with a myriad of excuses, but the problem is simply that I didn’t write anything and in hindsight that is all that matters to me. As a sorta-kinda form of punishment, today I am making myself write a post containing my response to an SAT prompt. After looking for SAT prompts I was very surprised to find that they are pretty interesting (and also, I get to try out WordPress’s cool distraction free writing mode)! So here it goes:

Prompt:

Many societies believe that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human right. But it is also true that attainment of happiness remains elusive. Perhaps Bertrand Russell had it right when he said, “To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.”

What gives us more pleasure and satisfaction: the pursuit of our desires or the attainment of them? Plan your response, and then write an essay to explain your views on this issue. Be sure to support your position with specific points and examples. (You may use personal examples or examples from your reading, observations, or, knowledge of subjects such as history, literature, science.)

How fortunate that the constitutions of most democratic nations accounts for this important distinction: the right to the pursuit of happiness instead of the right to have happiness. That seemingly simple distinction between phrasing unwittingly masks the chasm that separates their two, very distinct meanings. But even this is a facade, in truth they both mean the same thing. The pursuit of happiness truly is happiness, because, what is happiness but utter contempt and satisfaction for what one has accomplished? Once one is happy, what comes next? By what method is one to use to keep the happiness from fading? Throughout the pursuit of happiness there is a simple, joyful answer to this question: happiness comes next! For what greater hope is there but the hope of being happy? Happiness is a poorly defined creature; it is blinding, which making it difficult to discern, while at the same time subtle and fragile to the touch. Due to this, the attainment of happiness is eluding for happiness is a product of the quest for itself.

The world of sports exemplifies this “pursuit of happiness leading to happiness” over the simple “acquisition of happiness”. In any given field of sports there is a wide diversity of skill and ability; the bottom teams are typically always the losers and the top teams are typically always the winners. Most games are predictable based off of a teams prior record. Despite this, thousands to millions of fans still watch, root-for, and cheer on their teams, even though it is predictable that they will lose! If winning is analogous to happiness and losing by design not representing happiness, why would anyone waste their time cheering for their team that is almost certainly going to lose? It is the pursuit of that win that they are cheering for.

In a system where only the acquisition of happiness matters, game scores could be released publicly following games that happened without any viewership. Fans would get their happiness if their team won, or wouldn’t get it if their team lost. The pursuit of happiness is removed. How many of those millions of fans would still care about this sport? The end result of the games is significant surely, but the obstacles overcome to obtain this end result are the true builders of happiness.

The political conflict between communism and capitalism is at its core a difference between the method to achieve the most pleasure and satisfaction. Capitalism proposes that it is the pursuit of happiness that leads to pleasure and satisfaction. Communism proffers that no pursuit is necessary and that pleasure and satisfaction are given by simply declaring that happiness is universal throughout its followers. Capitalism provides the means to pursue one’s desires while communism limits one’s desires so that they are always attained. Following the Cold War, capitalism proved dominant in the world. One of the main reasons for this was that people were empowered to achieve more in those societies, to pursue there desires for success. Even more so, capitalist countries labeled themselves as 1st world and labeled communist countries as 2nd world. They considered themselves happier and better then their communist counterparts.

“To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness” could not be more true. It is the desire for these things and hope of attaining them, the expectation of the pleasure and satisfaction that one recieves after, that leads to a general feeling of excitement and thrill. The human mind is creative and imaginative and its expectations of the things to come is quite miraculous; memories conversely are mangled and already over. Pleasure is the success to come through the toils of now; blissful satisfaction.

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