It is indisputable that the being whose capacities of enjoyment are low, has the greatest chance of having them fully satisfied; and a highly endowed being will always feel that any happiness which he can look for, as the world is constituted, is imperfect.

But he can learn to bear its imperfections, if they are at all bearable; and they will not make him envy the being who is indeed unconscious of the imperfections, but only because he feels not at all the good which those imperfections qualify.

It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied.

And if the fool, or the pig, is of a different opinion, it is only because they only know their own side of the question.

Capacity for the nobler feelings is in most natures a very tender plant, easily killed, not only by hostile influences, but by mere want of sustenance; and in the majority of young persons it speedily dies away if the occupations to which their position in life has devoted them, and the society into which it has thrown them, are not favourable to keeping that higher capacity in exercise.

Men lose their high aspirations as they lose their intellectual tastes, because they have not time or opportunity for indulging them; and they addict themselves to inferior pleasures, not because they deliberately prefer them, but because they are either the only ones to which they have access, or the only ones which they are any longer capable of enjoying.


John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 7 May 1873), usually cited as J. S. Mill, was a British philosopher, political economist, and civil servant.

One of the most influential thinkers in the history of classical liberalism, he contributed widely to social theory, political theory, and political economy.

Mill‘s conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state and social control.

John Stuart Mill‘s book Utilitarianism is a classic exposition and defense of utilitarianism in ethics.

Mill‘s aim in the book is to explain what utilitarianism is, to show why it is the best theory of ethics, and to defend it against a wide range of criticisms and misunderstandings.

Though heavily criticized both in Mill‘s lifetime and in the years since, Utilitarianism did a great deal to popularize utilitarian ethics and has been considered „the most influential philosophical articulation of a liberal humanistic morality that was produced in the nineteenth century.“