Pleasure- enjoyment or satisfaction derived from what is to one’s liking; gratification; delight.
Pretty simple definition. I think I can make it simpler.
Pleasure is what we are searching for in life.
Long-term pleasure, mind you. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say long-term pleasure leads to long-term happiness.
And if pain is the great moderator in life, then pleasure is the great instigator in life. It’s what guides our actions.
I think life is all about finding the perfect balance between these two forces. Not that we should try to feel pain. In fact, you should strive to avoid pain. But it all goes back to that saying about “too much of a good thing.” Too much pleasure is going to lead to pain…. every time. So, just as the drive for pleasure instigates all our actions, so too does pain step in to moderate these actions.
If you drive too fast because it’s fun, eventually you’ll get pulled over. (Trust me, I know.)
If you eat too much of a food you really love, you’ll definitely get sick and avoid it. (Trust me, I know.)
And if you party too much because it is cooler than studying, you’ll most certainly bomb an exam. (Trust me, I unfortunately know.)
The point is, there is a trick to all of those examples. Manipulating the way you see things. Learning from your mistakes. Finding the right balance that keeps you happy.
If you go through the pain of driving the speed limit, then you keep the pleasure of being able to drive. (Trust me, I know.)
If you deal with the pain of moderation, you maintain the pleasure of consumption. (Trust me, I know.)
And, if you go through the pain of really studying for an exam, you go through the exceptional pleasure of acing that exam. (Trust me, I’m glad I know.)
So…how does a person lead a happy life? Don’t look to the celebrities for the answers, as many young people in our generation do. The courts are currently telling Miss Lohan she is feeling too much pleasure. The courts already told Paris Hilton she was feeling too much pleasure. And the courts didn’t even have to tell Britney Spears that she was feeling too much pleasure.
Given all I’ve said it would seem the right answer is that you can lead a happy life by finding the balance between pleasure and pain. But how much pleasure is too much? And how much pain is not enough?
Honestly, I don’t know. I’m still fairly young and inexperienced. I haven’t found the definitive answer for leading a happy life. But I think I’m on the right track…so I’ll keep you posted.