At the end of page two and start of page three in Chapter II of John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism, he discusses the objection to the utilitarian moral argument that people capable of discerning higher pleasures from lower pleasures will sometimes choose the latter, despite knowing that it’s not the highest good they could be achieving. He then defends his own utilitarian view by arguing that this may not actually be a conscious decision for the chooser, but an involuntary preference. He postulates that this preference for lower pleasures comes from some sort of personal moral degradation associated with aging. He states that “youthful enthusiasm for everything noble” degrades over time unless tended to by a society conducive for the higher types of pleasure and the individual’s choice to follow that. This process results in an individual no longer having any taste for the noble pleasures and becoming addicted to inferior ones; this is because low pleasures are all they can access or understand, not because they genuinely prefer them but because they have either forgotten noble ones or cannot attain them. In his view, this leads to an adulthood ruled by “indolence and selfishness” which will tend to choose (involuntarily) lower pleasures. This is an interesting take given the way youth is viewed outside of this; normally youthfulness is associated with rashness and an inability to see past the immediate want for something. It’s generally accepted that the young mind has less self-control and often places too much confidence on instinct. These qualities, to me, do not support his argument that young people have a higher capacity for subsiding their desire for the immediate lower pleasures in favor of the noble higher ones, which require one to look past the more obviously appealing present options. I believe that young people are more ruled by the “indolence and selfishness” that he claims is a product of aging. I would argue that the shifting of laziness and self-indulgence is in the opposite direction, getting smaller with age rather than more prominent. To frame his argument that people start with more noble intentions, he uses the metaphor of a “very tender plant” that is destroyed by the desire simply to be sustained, rather than by negative influences. I take this to mean that failing to provide yourself with noble pleasures (ie. not feeding/sustaining the plant) is more likely to kill your capacity to see and choose the noble options than encouragement from others to choose lower pleasure. Accordingly it is the position of a person in life and society that determines whether or not the plant dies quickly, and Mills thinks that “in the majority of young persons it speedily dies away” if not given circumstances in which your status/position in life enables you to easily attain higher pleasures and the society around you is supportive of those nobler pleasures.