Kokoro Connect has thrown another curve ball at the audience. The near future seems to have no more body switching in store. Instead we’re treated to the character being forced to act out their deepest desires. No longer truly in control of their actions, Inaba suggests two plans of action: either they try and subdue their emotions and take it easy or go wild with their inner cravings.
The former seems to be a proper way of handling the problem, to avoid conflict and getting no one else involved. They could lock themselves up in their rooms, only coming out for meals and possibly school. But is that any way to live life?
The latter seems more favorable. Inaba justifies either option as a means to avoid stress, or for the sake of our discussion, pain. Accepting ones deepest longings is a path towards pleasure.
When overlaying such a dichotomy over Inaba’s proposal, it’s easy to draw ties to the philosophy of Hedonism.
Hedonism is generally described in two forms:
- Motivational Hedonism: Pleasure and pain are the only forms of motivation for a person. Pleasure generally positively motivates, or to actively do or seek out something. Pain generally negatively motivates us, or to avoid certain actions. These are rules of thumb that that have exceptions to both.
- Normative Hedonism: When creating a value system, only things that provide pleasure have any value while only things that cause pain have any disvalue.
When looking at the original suggestion in the episode, it seems to be a case of motivational hedonism. Fulfilling one’s desires has a great deal pleasure associated it to it. Contrarily, denying those desires causes a deep amount of stress or pain. Optimally, the cast should allow themselves to be guided by these desires to maximize the amount of ‘net pleasure’ that they receive. But as Taichi states, unlike body switching, other people can get involved. These are not isolated acts that only affect a small subset of people, but the entire superset of the people in their lives.
When dissecting Inaba’s strategy, one thing becomes clear. Not every consequence is not taken into consideration. While Hedonism does use Utilitarian idea of giving each action a positive or negative value, Utilitarianism does so based on all the results an action can have, not just pleasure and pain. There have already been instances where giving in to an urge led to an overall negative outcome. When Yui defended the girls from a group of boys, she was taken in by the cops. Aoki in an attempt to protect her from them was also arrested.
So what can the Cultural Research Club do? Time will tell if they decide to go into recluse or just run young, wild and free. But Aoki’s idea shouldn’t be tossed out: Friendship can find a way… as they do in most Anime’s! Yay!