Thank you for a very thought provoking article. I’d like to express my total agreement but with a little suggested clarification.
At a non conscious cognitive and instinctual level, our brains are wired for hedonism. The primitive pleasure pain mechanism is the criteria by which we evaluate what are our values. You are absolutely right that we rise above this animalistic state and suspend judgement so that conscious cognition can arbitrate our instincts.
I don’t like to use the word “happiness” because like all emotions it’s a subjective construct infused with personal concepts, context and memories. What we rationally value (e.g. philanthropy, relationships etc.) is a function of ethics. The objectivist teaches that rational self interest ought to be the criteria by which we evaluate our values and pleasure is the purpose. If you read my first paragraph there’s a big distinction between our natural hedonistic state (descriptive) and our conscious ethical state (prescriptive).