I’d say that the reason I (as a CU) don’t try to stay awake is that I can’t dissociate the pleasantness of falling asleep from actually falling asleep
That makes sense. But do you think that the impulse to prolong the pleasant feeling (as opposed to just enjoying it and “laying back in the cockpit”) is a component of the pleasure-feeling itself? To me, they seem distinct! I readily admit that we often want to do things to prolong pleasures or go out of our way to seek particularly rewarding pleasures. But I don’t regard that as a pure feature of what pleasure feels like. Rather, it’s the result of an interaction between what pleasure feels like and a bunch of other things that come in degrees, and can be on or off.
Let’s say I found a technique to prolong the pleasure. Assuming it does take a small bit of effort to use it, it seems that whether I’m in fact going to use it depends on features such as which options I make salient to myself, whether I might develop fear of missing out, whether pleasure pursuit is part of my self-concept, the degree to which I might have cravings or the degree to which I have personality traits related to constantly optimizing things about my personal life, etc.
And it’s not only “whether I’m in fact going to use the technique” that depends on those additional aspects of the situation. I’d argue that even “whether I feel like wanting to use the technique” depends on those additional, contingent factors!
If the additional factors are just right, I can simply loose myself in the positive feeling, “laying back in the cockpit.” That’s why the experience is a positive one, why it lets me lay back. Losing myself in the pleasant sensation means I’m not worrying about the future and whether the feeling will continue. If pleasure was intrinsically about wanting a sensation to continue, it would kind of suck because I’d have to start doing things to make that happen.
My brain doesn’t like to have do things.
(This could be a fundamental feature of personality where there are large interpersonal differences. I have heard that some people always feel a bit restless and as though they need to do stuff to accomplish something or make stuff better. I don’t have that, my “settings” are different. This would explain why many people seem to have troubles understanding the intuitive appeal tranquilism has for some people.)
Anyway, the main point is that “laying back in the cockpit” is something one cannot do when suffering. (Or it’s what experienced meditators can maybe do – and then it’s not suffering anymore.) And the perspective where laying back in the cockpit is actually appealing for myself as a sentient being, rather than some kind of “failure of not being agenty enough,” is what fuels my stance that suffering and happiness are very, very different from one another. The hedonist view that “more happiness is always better” means that, in order to be a good egoist, one needs to constantly be in the cockpit to maximize one’s long-term pleasure maximization. That’s way too demanding for a theory that’s supposed to help me do what is best for me.
Insofar as someone’s hedonism is justified solely via introspection about the nature of conscious experience, I believe that it’s getting something wrong. I’d say that hedonists of this specific type reify intuitions they have about pleasure (specifically, an interrelated cluster of intuitions about more pleasure always being better, that pleasure is better than non-consciousness, that pleasure involves wanting the experience to continue, etc.) as intrinsic components to pleasure. They treat their intuitions as the way things are while shrugging off the “contentment can be perfect” perspective as biased by idiosyncratic intuitions. However, both intuitions are secondary evaluative judgments we ascribe to these positive feelings. Different underlying stances produce different interpretations.
(And I feel like there’s a sense in which the tranquilism perspective is simpler and more elegant. But at this point I’d already be happy if more people started to grant that hedonism is making just as much of a judgment call based on a different foundational intuition.)
Finally, I don’t think all of ethics should be about the value of different experiences. When I think about “Lukas, the sentient being,” then I care primarily about the “laying back in the cockpit” perspective. When I think about “Lukas, the person,” then I care about my life goals. The perspectives cannot be summed into one thing because they are in conflict (except if one’s life goals aren’t perfectly selfish). If people have personal hedonism as one of their life goals, I care about them experiencing posthuman bliss out of my regard for the person’s life goals, but not out of regard of this being the optimal altruistic action regardless of their life goals.