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Friday, June 17, 2011


Today we want to look at plesure and try to figure out exactly what kind of this positive feedback mechanism you like the best. There are three different kinds of pleasure all of which excite the emotional as well as the physical senses.

When the hypothalamus of the brain is stimulated by an electrical current dopamine and endorphins are secreted and pleasure is experienced. These two chemicals are different but in subtle ways. Dopamine produces a feeling of enjoyment while endorphins produce a sense of well-being. Eating, sexual intercourse and exercise will stimulate the hypothalamus similar to an electrical current. A natural rewarding positive feedback mechanism is at work. "I like it, it feels good, I feel fine" are statements you might say or think while experiencing pleasure. The reward is the sense of pleasure you get from the experience. It becomes a positive feedback motivating you to recreate the experience. This is what makes you want to continue eating, procreating and getting stronger. It has everything to do with survival of the species.

Pleasure is like an aphrodisiac, a feeling of euphoria making you yearn for more. It is positive energy which is more primitive than mental energy and because of that it can override the thinking and intellectual process of the mind. There is no desire in the mind to stop pleasure, so moving toward the feeling of enjoyment and delight encounters little resistance.

Pleasure is strictly subjective and one person's pleasure may be another person's experience of shear boredom. Other activities and events like eating chocolate, looking at a sunset, listening to music, meditating, receiving recogniton and accomplishing a task can also produce pleasurable feelings. The list of things that can engender pleasure is never ending. However, having said all that, all aspects of pleasure can be lumped into three general categories: stimulation, novelty and aesthetics. See if you can pick the one from which you derive your pleasure.

If you are into stimulation, you love things happening around you and even to you. You like it when you are moved or affected. This might be lots of loud music, social activities, conversations, an exciting television program or movie, almost anything to fill an empty space of experience.
Sky diving, bungee jumping, base jumping, rock climbing, cave diving, big-wave surfing, bull riding and bull running are all stimulating activities but they don't necessarily mean that one who takes up the activityh is into stimulation. A person might consider sky diving or cave diving peaceful and soothing for instance. On the other hand, if a person pursues such activities for the stimulation of it, he/she is definitley into stimulation. It's hard to tell what another person's motive is for seeking pleasure. The only one who really knows is the person doing the activity.

If stimulaton doesn't seem to be your cup of tea, then possibly novelty is your pleasure. Novelty can include stimulation, but it must be new and different. Doing things out of the ordinary is important to someone who is into novelty. Finding out what's behind the next door is interesting and intriguing. This could mean taking risks or experiencing things that are taboo or anti-social or even immoral. The key is experiencing the unusual. You might enjoy going on an intense roller coaster ride for the first time but repeating it might lose its value. For one who is into stimulation, however, repeated rides can still bring the "rush."
A person who likes novelty usually is going from one thing to the next, seeking the pleasure of diversity. If a person robs a bank one day, goes to church the next day, has illicit sex the following day and then takes a trip to a country he has never been to could be into novelty. But the only person that would really know would be that person.

If stimulation and novelty are not who you are, you might prefer aesthetics. Those who seek aesthetics enjoy beholding things that are beautiful such as a work of art, music, a landscape, animals, other humans, etc. The thing that you consider beautiful gives you a good feeling and you could behold it for a long time wihout becoming bored.
The old saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder is true when it comes to the pleasure of aesthetics. Do you like Bach or Rapp, Picasso or Rembrandt, oceans or mountains, sunset or sunrise? None of these may appeal to you and that's okay, but as long as you seek pleasure in the form of what you consider beautiful, you are definitely into aesthetics.

So what is your pleasure? Is your pleasure stimulation, novelty or aesthetics?

Tomorrow we will take a look at how you seek comfort.

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