There is an excellent TED talk about happiness and the tension between the “remembering self” and the “experiencing self.”
It touches several things that I happen to have been talking about with people recently: the distinction between the pursuit of “shallow” and “deep” pleasure (experiencing and remembering selves respectively); moving to California; what sort of vacations are good; how much money one needs to be happy.
To live a life you remember fondly, apparently you must make sure there is change, significant moments, and a happy ending. Hedonism is not enough. 🙂
I like his point about a two week vacation where the first week was relaxing and great and the second week was much the same. Experientially, that was a great vacation. Twice as good as just going one week. But recalled as a story by your memory, you might as well have gone just one week.
I think this tension is in part what Reason (with a capital R) tries to diminish. It strikes me that reason argues for the experiencing side of the equation, while feelings argue for the remembering side.