A Hedonistic Point of View: Kokoro Connect – Episode 6

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!

One thought on “A Hedonistic Point of View: Kokoro Connect – Episode 6

  1. In the long run, neither of Inaba’s ideas are tenable solutions. One’s interior voice will always be more vocal than the body can respond to by actions. “Empty your mind” sounds like it should be something not that difficult, but while many people try it, almost none achieve it, and then only after years, maybe decades, of training. And even those that can do it, well, they’re not much good at doing other stuff at the same time.

    Similarly, the acting upon all thoughts, to ‘leave no stone unturned’, as it was, is unachievable, because the mind goes faster than the body, and is always exploring the limits of what could happen. So there’s no way they could keep up, and no way that I can conceive of that limiting possible damage, since as the mind explores those edge possibilities, the body can stop what it’s doing to change to the more interesting one.

    I think Aoki’s solution is the only one that is somewhat plausible. And indeed, we saw that Taichi is repeatedly stopped in his impulsive actions by the damping force of someone else: His sister asking him what he’s doing, and Inaba staying him with a hold on his wrist. The question becomes whether this would work for the others, or if it is only because Taichi has always had a milder emotional response than the others? Taichi’s protests were not stopping Inaba’s advances on him, and Yui’s and Aoki’s actions are too heat of the moment so far to be stopped. Meanwhile, Iori spends so much time alone, she has noone to provide that brake. I’m actually hoping that this phenomenon stays constant, and is divined by the characters, because I think that would help the show, in that while the things affecting them are arbitrary and capricious, the individuals affected still have meaning.

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