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March 15, 2017 / Congau

Painful Pleasure

A happy man is walking through the snow. It is horribly cold in the arctic desert. The ice is burning in his face leaving a biting and delightful pain. He is enjoying every moment. He is not a masochist; he is on his way.

A man is sitting in his nicely furnished house, half asleep in his comfy chair. The automatic heating system makes the temperature just right, his stomach is full and he has no complaints; only one – he is not happy.

One feels the pain and is pleased. The other is without pain, but suffers. Where is the fallacy?

The words are to blame, meaning one thing and then another. Our habit is the culprit, telling us what to do before we have thought about it.

If pain only means the physical sensation of a sting or a burn or an ache, then it doesn’t always make us suffer. But if pain is simply suffering, then our hero in the snow cannot be happy. Maybe that is how the comfortable man is reasoning. Pain can only mean suffering, he thinks, adjusting his cushion. Or maybe he doesn’t think at all as life has taught him to choose the path of least resistance.

Avoid pain and seek pleasure, that’s the real motto of that arctic adventurer and no one is working harder than him on his mission. He is struggling to reach that goal and succeeding every moment. He knows how to feel strongly and intensely and feeling is the essence of pleasure. As for pain, he shuns it and dreads it, fighting through the wilderness to escape the mental agony of being paralyzed in a comfy chair.

Pleasure is happiness, pain is misery, but we need to know where to get the real thing. Nothing is given for free and “the unexamined life is not worth living”, a wise man said.

A lonely creature in the snow is persistently searching for his life and finding it through painful pleasure.

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