The Paradox Of Pain & Pleasure.

Today, human beings are on the path of maximizing pleasure while minimizing pain. But in such a time where pleasure is at a peak and pain is virtually nonexistent, why are so many people being diagnosed with depression? Why are so many people still not happy with life? In such an easy time in our lives, no hunting and killing for the food, no working at a job without pay, and practically everyone can go to school and get an education, why are we still unhappy?

Why Are We Still Unhappy?

To explain why we are still unhappy is to recall the episode from The Twilight Zone, A Nice Place To Visit. I talked about this episode in one of my articles titled: What would happen if you got everything you ever wanted? In this episode, this a robber was stealing jewelry from a jewelry store and died in a shootout with the police. But he ended up in “heaven”, which reminds me of the world with live in today.

The robber is woken up from this guide named Pipe and brought to a palace. And in this palace, he can get anything he wants. No losing, no struggles, no pain, just everything he wants. If he wants to win at poker, he wins, if he wants to get beautiful girl, they appear before him, if he wants money, he gets it. The list is endless for this robber in “heaven”.

But the robber grows bored and tired of always winning and getting what he wants without struggle. The robber grows sick of always winning and getting what he wants. So he tried to plan something where he could possibly lose but the god says he can’t lose at anything, all he can do is plan that he loses but the he would know. There is no gamble or risk.. So the robber asks the guide to let him out of heaven, complaining that he isn’t ready for heaven and wants to go to the other place(hell). His guide Pip responds by saying: “what gave you the idea that you were in heaven? This is the other place”. Then the door becomes locked.

Today We Have Everything But We Have Nothing

Similarly today, we have everything, food, cars, advanced technology, houses, anything you could ask for but we have nothing. No ambition, no love, no peace, no confidence, no sense of self worth, no respect, no morals and so on. All we have is the opposite of everything I just mentioned. No one wants to work, no one loves one another, no one feel at peace, no one believes in themselves, no feels like they are worth anything, no one respects others, and no one cares about their reputation.

The moral of the story was hell is actually a place with only pleasures. Reason being is because when you only have pleasures, it actually creates pain. You takes away fulfillment, it takes away gratitude, it takes away the love for things, it also takes away your ambition to work for what you want. Heaven is a place of both pleasures and pain.

The Paradox Of Pain & Pleasure.

A balance scale

Life itself is a constant balance. Nothing is out of order. When it comes to pain and pleasure, it’s like a balance. If you have too much pleasure, the scale will tip back to pain. And if you have too much pain, the scale will tip back to pleasure. Hence that’s why everyone is miserable today, because we have too much pleasure and so little pain. The scale will always tip back to pain.

An example of too much pleasure will tip the scale back to pain is whenever you watch a movie for the first movie, you feel pleasure, so naturally we repeat this behavior because it gave you pleasure. So you watch it every week for months. Around the 10th time watching that movie, you won’t even enjoy it because you’ve seen it a bunch of times, that there is no more excitement.

Any repeated behavior that gives you pleasure will lead to sadness.

The reason repeated behavior leads to sadness is because the feel good chemical in your brain called dopamine is operating under surprise and novelty(new). That’s why we are always looking for new things. We are always searching for new cars, new houses, new jobs, new lovers, new gadgets, new locations, new friends, and new foods to try. We would much rather search for a new relationship than fix the one we are currently in. We would much rather be have someone else’s fit body than get in shape ourselves. This seeking new things feeds our dopamine center.

If you do the same thing everyday with the same people, you will eventually become bored and maybe even sad because your brain stopped releasing the feel good chemical. So that leads us to seek new things.

Human beings are designed to seek pleasure and avoid pain but the paradox of it is the fact that too much pleasure will eventually lead to pain. Any pleasure that is repeated, your brain will stop releasing a high amount of dopamine and start releasing very little to keep balance. So whatever you do, you now need more of what you are doing to get the same release of dopamine as the first time doing it.

That’s why everyone overindulges because that’s the only way you can feel as good as the first time you watched that show or movie, or ate that meal, or drank that drink. That explains the overeating, the binging of screen time, and over drinking. Nothing today is ever done at moderation. We do things until we stop feeling good from it, then we either find something else to watch, eat, drink, or do, or we overindulge in that same thing until it makes us feel good again. But the kicker is it won’t make you feel good again because the novelty has wore off. Your brain now needs either more of it or something new.

How Pain Leads To Pleasure

This is something I owe the last 4 years of my life to(always choosing pain over pleasure). I have deep experience of pain leading to pleasure. 5 years ago, I would overeat unhealthy foods, overindulge in TV and video games, watch porn twice a day and drink heavily on the weekends. This led me to being diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, and that made me depressed because I would feel anxious all the time. So I decided to change my life completely.

I cut out all unhealthy foods, and only ate healthy foods. This was painful because eating healthy is not fun and for most people it’s challenging. While my family would order and eat a pizza, I would eat my bland kale, chicken, and rice. But whenever I ate something unhealthy like a pizza on the weekend, it was so much more pleasureful and tasty. My mouth and brain was so used to the healthy foods that when I eat that pizza once a week it was overwhelming for my brain and mouth. But when I ate the pizza and unhealthy foods regularly, my mouth and brain was so used to the foods that it wasn’t enjoyable.

Then I stopped watching TV, playing video games and watching porn. It was painful at first because real life was boring in comparison to the video games and porn. But eventually life started to become enjoyable and blissful, as it should be.

This made me wonder what other pains could lead to pleasure. Another great example how pain leads to pleasure is school. School is perfect example because we all have to go to school. And we all had to take exams but not everyone passes their exams. For the ones who feel the pain of studying hard while their friends are out playing, will feel the pleasure of getting a passing grade. While the ones who choose playing(pleasure) over studying(pain), now feel the pain of failing their exam and lowing their overall grade or getting yelled at by their parents.

The Pleasureful Pain

If you have read my other articles then you know I love cold showers. Reason being is because although they cause pain, they make you feel great. Hot pleasureful showers, don’t make me feel good after the shower, only during it. While the cold showers, make me feel pain during it but after it I feel less anxious, mentally clear, and full of energy.

Looking back, any time in my life that was challenging and even painful were the happiest moments of my life. But the time in my life when I was overindulging in pleasureful things like porn, video games, junk food, drugs, and going out drinking were often the most unhappiest moments of my life. Today I’m practically a boring old man to some because I don’t do drugs, go out partying, play video games or eat tons of junk food and I’m the happiest because I always choose the painful thing over the pleasureful thing like going to bed early over staying up late, or reading a bed over playing on my smartphone or veggies and fruit over pizza. But whenever I do ZigZag and play on my phone every once in awhile it’s so enjoyable.

Balance is key

Pain Teaches You Gratitude

From reflecting on why the people who have been through so much hell, are the most happiest people. It’s because the people who have felt pain and went through hell have gratitude. They are gratitude for all the highs and lows. While the ones who never felt no pain are miserable because they aren’t grateful for anything. Ultimately, anytime you can choose pain, if that’s talking to stranger, speaking up in class, agreeing to publicly speak, eating a healthy meal, studying for an exam, lifting weights, going for a run, going to bed early and waking up early, there is most likely a pleasureful reward waiting on the other side.

Basically the keys to a happy, successful life is: Have moderation, find a balance, be grateful, and practice delayed gratification.

Thanks for reading 🙂

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