What is the truth? 'Free will is an illusion. People always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.'
You don't choose feelings---they happen upon you. If we could choose feelings, we could simply choose to be happy all the time---this is clearly not the case. Why do people go for rewarding activities? Why would anyone want to do the opposite apart from the following possible reasons: a) ignorance; b) masochism; and c) to 'prove' a point against determinism?
Altruistic people help others in order to feel good about themselves. There is a reward. Ultimately, even altruism has a selfish agenda. There is no selfless good deed. And there is a fine line between compassion and sanctimony.
People who kill as an act of revenge, knowing they'll get caught, know the result isn't positive---just self-gratifying. Take suicide and euthanasia---they are ways out of perceived torment. The thought of release from arduous living is pleasurable. Positive would be finding a way to live with a strong mind and not upsetting loved ones. The act of revenge is merely tit for tat in order to beget a sense of justice. In the long run, it isn't positive if they ruin their lives.
What about masochists who engage in dangerous sex and know the risks? Many wish they didn't have such urges and yet they are overpowered by them. Take the paedophile afraid to get caught and facing shame; many wish they were normal
---and yet they offend if the opportunity arises.
Suicide to escape torture. Hmmm. Nobody wants pain unless this one brings pleasure. The thought of freedom from all experience is pleasurable to the suicidal. It's a release from perceived pain. People who have conditions that prevent them from feeling pleasure did not pick such conditions. It's a predicament.
Normally the term is reward. Try suffocating them and then release them when they're breathless---and they'll see how pleasurable it is to have clear airways. Semantics ...
People don't always pick the perceived path of greatest positive result. The greatest positive result would be to prosecute the murderers of their family members and preserve their model citizenship for the sake of loved ones who care about them. The case is often that they go for crimes of passion knowing the repercussions can be catastrophic. All for those moments of pleasurable revenge ...
Work means they are able to purchase what they want and need---the former involves pleasure, the latter sustains the ability to feel it. And what do depressed people want when they go to therapy groups? To feel better. They still have the memory of good times, when they were able to enjoy life; they want more of that and want to find ways to achieve it lest they decide to go ahead with their wish to not be alive
. So they access help with trying to break out of low moods and boom-and-bust cycles. All this just shows how people do not pick their moods and how they struggle to find happiness. They have a will which isn't free from their urges. Ergo, no free will; ergo, pleasure is always a living target.
Smoking isn't positive, it ruins your health, it's an expensive habit and it could kill you. You want to quit but seem unable to do it. Nothing like a delicious fag after a hard day's work. I don't care, I can quit later---I must succumb to this moment of smoking pleasure ...
You see where I'm going with this? It shows:
a) There is no free will. If there was I would be able to choose when to be ready to quit smoking. Instead, it seems that the day I quit will be when my brain stumbles upon favourable neuronal activity.
b) The urge for pleasure is unmistakably overwhelming in its primacy. The brain finds itself making excuses for that moment of pleasure to the possible detriment of one's health.
Pleasure over positivity.