Is It Better to Be a Human Dissatisfied Than a Pig Satisfied

2036 Words Apr 25th, 2006 9 Pages
Oak Trees versus Acorns: Which is better?
It has been argued for centuries now, that people do not grow their full human potential, largely because they do not participate in a reasonably sophisticated refinement . John Stuart Mill, in his book Utilitarianism, claims that "It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied" [Mill JS: 1863]. This essay will show that the advantages of being a "human dissatisfied" are better than those of a "pig satisfied". But before this can be proven, we have to understand the metaphor that compares humans to pigs.

Mill compares two types of people: people who prefer to be "humans" according to his definition, and those that prefer to be "pigs". As pigs would ‘eat up' anything that
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Whatever kind of pleasure they prefer is the more worthy kind. Mill uses this concept to show that knowledgeable, "higher order beings" prefer the intellectual pleasures:

Now it is an unquestionable fact that those who are equally acquainted with, and equally capable of appreciating and enjoying both, do give a most marked preference to the manner of existence which employs their higher faculties. Few human creatures would consent to be changed into any of the lower animals, for the promise of the fullest allowance of a beast's pleasures; … It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be a Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, is of a different opinion, it is because they know only their own side of the question. The other party to the comparison knows both sides.[MillJS:1863]

Mill highlights that a, a fool or pig, can only have a different opinion because it knows only one side of an issue. But a Socrates or human, knows both sides of an issue, and therefore can have a different opinion based on valid justification- which can only be achieved haven taken all aspects into regard. Therefore Mill's argument is a good one because it logically argues that people who have experienced both types of pleasures (intellectual

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