I came across an interesting article on comfort and pleasure, whose claims included the following: Our affluent society abounds with comfort addicts. We have the means to immediately satisfy all of our desires (for food, physical comfort, etc.), and have thus become less tolerant of discomfort. Slight hunger, tiredness, etc., drives us to snack and buy gadgets that decrease any need for physical labor on our part. The unfortunate thing about such comfort addiction is that, given our reluctance to adventure far out of our narrow comfort range, we ultimately deny ourselves the level of pleasure derived from the final satisfaction of a desire that has built up in intensity due to the prolonging of discomfort (e.g., the inexplicable pleasure of eating a decadant meal after hours of hunger). While we all recognize that anticipation significantly intensifies pleasure, we rarely deliberately deny ourselves the immediate satisfaction of a desire…and we end up cheating ourselves out of the joys that make life delicious.
This article prompted a bit of self-reflection: I am a notoriously impulsive and indulgent person. If I have even an inkling of a desire for something (like, say, chocolate), I have an incredibly difficult time denying myself. My waistline and wallet has suffered because of this lack of self-control…and perhaps this trait is (at least partially) the result of a culture which encourages us to indulge our sensual and materialistic whims. Shame on us…and shame on me. The only desire I intentionally deny myself the immediate satisfaction of are my sexual ones (I so much enjoy the delicious anticipation of sexual satisfaction that I prolong it as much as I can stand)…perhaps I ought to take a lesson from my inner kink, and make a scrumptious game of protracting the wait.
It would do my life good.