on pleasure

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.

One thought on “on pleasure”

  1. As far as the con­tent of the arti­cle goes, I’m more/less in agree­ment — espe­cial­ly with the con­clu­sion. The sen­ti­ment expressed there reminds me of Goethe’s Faust, and par­tic­u­lar­ly Faust’s vision of the ide­al soci­ety at the end of the dra­ma: an island hemmed in on all sides by waters threat­en­ing to over­run it. How­ev­er, while striv­ing is the com­mon ele­ment here — and striv­ing for per­fec­tion, at that — the final vision could also be sug­gest­ing that the ide­al life does not con­sist in striv­ing for per­fec­tion, but in main­tain­ing that per­fec­tion after hav­ing achieved it. But how many of us will ever reach per­fec­tion? There­fore, the best we can do is con­tin­ue to work towards it.

    Also, I found it very inter­est­ing that food and sex were the dom­i­nant exam­ples employed in this piece — and not unique­ly so, for many con­tem­po­rary philoso­phers com­mon­ly use these activ­i­ties to explain and com­mu­ni­cate var­i­ous ideas. When com­pared to the more right­eous themes employed by philoso­phers of ear­li­er ages, this in itself seems to speak to the deca­dence of our present age. What do you think, Tina?

    And pfft to the com­ment about the waist­line. We’ve all seen the Hal­loween dom pic, hon.

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