Between Pleasure and Pain; the Pleasure Trap

The Observer (Gladstone, Australia), August 17, 2013 | Go to article overview
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Between Pleasure and Pain; the Pleasure Trap


Byline: MAN ALIVE With Paul Stewart

WHAT is your guilty little pleasure?

It may be something that you can be quite open about but then you have just a bit more on the side. No-one has to know, right...?

I want to make an interesting distinction -- there is a difference between pleasure and enjoyment.

Pleasure is when we engage in a process of satisfying our base biological needs. This can be food, sex, sleep or adrenalin. We engage in these behaviours and it can feel great. More than this, our bodies return to a state of balance, of equilibrium. The technical term is homeostasis.

Think about the feeling you get just as you engage in your favourite pleasures and the feeling that you are left with afterwards. Pretty sweet, huh? But then what?

The interesting thing with a lot of these pleasure behaviours is that they don't always last very long.

The good feeling fades and eventually our tummies start to rumble again. We may feel horny, tired, or bored.

Some of these pleasurable feelings are also linked in with our survival, so it can be easy to excuse them as acceptable.

The result though is that we can end up in a place where we start to focus entirely on meeting our homeostatic needs... we just want to feel good... and maybe all the time.

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