The Intersection of Oil Production and the Pursuit of Happiness

Lucas Charbonnier

Lucas Charbonnier

Oct 10, 20234 min read

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The Intersection of Oil Production and the Pursuit of Happiness

Introduction:

In a world where oil production and the pursuit of happiness seem unrelated, there are surprising commonalities that can be explored. This article delves into the recent decision by oil-exporting countries to increase production minimally, despite pressure from the United States, and the philosophical concept of happiness. By examining these seemingly disparate topics, we uncover insights into the complexities of global oil markets and the human quest for fulfillment.

Oil Production and Stabilizing Prices:

The decision by OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and its allies to raise oil production by only 100,000 barrels per day reflects their desire to maintain high prices. This effort comes in response to President Joe Biden's call for increased oil supply. Despite diplomatic efforts and market demands for more oil, the ministers of energy from the thirteen OPEC countries and their ten allies, including Russia, agreed on the minimal production increase. This decision highlights the goal of stabilizing oil prices, which have experienced volatility throughout the year. The reliance on high oil prices benefits countries like Saudi Arabia, which experienced significant economic growth in the second quarter.

The Pursuit of Happiness:

While oil production focuses on economic factors, the pursuit of happiness delves into the human condition. Aristotle famously stated that happiness is the ultimate goal of humanity. However, the definition of happiness as complete satisfaction may be an illusion. Can human existence truly avoid experiencing unhappiness? Furthermore, can our desires ever be satisfied simultaneously, given their often contradictory nature? Happiness is often understood as a state of lasting fulfillment, where desires are satisfied, and potential is fully realized. It is the harmony with oneself and the world. Balancing optimism and pessimism, ancient philosophies like Epicureanism and Stoicism propose wisdom as the key to attain a humanly possible happiness.

Epicureanism and Stoicism:

Both Epicureanism and Stoicism emphasize the moderation of desires. Epicureans advocate limiting efforts to the satisfaction of natural and necessary desires, as they are limited and straightforward. On the other hand, desires for extravagant and unnecessary things are discouraged. This approach combines hedonism, with pleasure as the ultimate goal, and rational reflection to limit desires. Stoics encourage individuals to desire only what is within their control and to relinquish desires beyond their power. By focusing on personal agency, the Stoics emphasize the importance of individual choice and the limited impact of external circumstances on happiness.

Contemporary Perspectives:

Modern philosophers, such as Henri Bergson, emphasize the role of joy in happiness. Joy arises from the full development of one's vital and existential potentialities, contrasting pleasure. Happiness, though often seen as an individual pursuit, also has collective dimensions. Philosopher Alain argues that pursuing personal happiness is a duty but emphasizes the need for active concern for the happiness of others, making happiness a political issue. Collective structures of solidarity, including the state, play a crucial role in addressing social inequalities that contribute to widespread unhappiness.

The Interplay Between Thought and Happiness:

Lastly, we explore the question of whether abstaining from thought can lead to happiness. This inquiry presupposes that acknowledging one's unhappiness requires avoiding thinking about it. Is our condition so miserable that we must refrain from contemplating it? Does thinking hinder happiness, or can it actually lead to profound joy? Ultimately, can one truly be happy by denying oneself as a thinking being? These questions prompt us to examine the relationship between thought and happiness and challenge the notion that thinking is incompatible with joy.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Practice self-reflection: Take time to examine your desires and evaluate their nature. Are they necessary, or are they influenced by external factors? Understanding and moderating your desires can contribute to a more balanced pursuit of happiness.
  • 2. Foster empathy and contribute to collective well-being: Recognize the importance of others' happiness and actively engage in actions that promote social equality and solidarity. Supporting structures that address societal inequalities can lead to a more fulfilling and harmonious world.
  • 3. Embrace the power of rationality: Incorporate rational reflection into your pursuit of happiness. By critically analyzing your desires and aligning them with your values and capabilities, you can make choices that foster long-term fulfillment.

Conclusion:

The seemingly disparate worlds of oil production and the pursuit of happiness intersect in unexpected ways. The decision to increase oil production minimally reveals the desire to stabilize prices, highlighting the economic motivations behind such choices. Meanwhile, philosophical perspectives on happiness emphasize the importance of moderation, personal agency, and collective well-being. Ultimately, the exploration of these topics invites us to reflect on our desires, the role of external factors, and the power of rationality in our quest for happiness. By incorporating the actionable advice provided, we can navigate this complex terrain and strive for a more fulfilling existence.

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