joy

Joy is the concomitant of productive activity. It is not a „peak experience,“ which culminates and ends suddenly, but rather a plateau, a feeling state that accompanies the productive expression of one’s essential human faculties. Joy is not the ecstatic fire of the moment. Joy is the glow that accompanies being. ― Pleasure and thrill are conducive to sadness after the so-called peak has been reached; for the thrill has been experienced, but the vessel has not grown. One’s inner powers have not increased.― (1976a: To Have Or to Be?, New York (Harper and Row) 1976, p. 117.)


The German psychologist Karl Buehler has coined the very apt phrase „the delight of function“ to suggest the joy that activity can bring with it. People enjoy functioning not because they need this thing or that thing but because the act of making something, the utilization of their own capacities, itself is a pleasurable experience. (…) I believe a human being is fully himself only when he expresses himself, when he makes use of the powers within him. If he cannot do that, if his life consists only of possessing and using rather than being, then he degenerates; he becomes a thing; his life becomes pointless. It becomes a form of suffering. Real joy comes with real activity, and real activity involves the utilization and cultivation of human powers.― (1983b [1971]: Affluence and Ennui in Our Society, in: E. Fromm, For the Love of Life, New York he Free Press, Macmillan) 1986, p. 16.)

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