Pleasure & Enjoyment

Attention Pleasure Enjoyment

Why am I writing this? I know, from the beginning, that it is going to take me about an hour, and chances are I will lose myself into writing for some other extra minutes. I will be in a trance-like state, searching for the perfect words to convey my ideas, in a non-native language. And yet, surprisingly, writing on my blog is one of the few moments of happiness in my present life, despite the difficulties. It would require concentration, inspiration, a careful calibration of my emotional state and attention to details. I will be exhausted in the end, but I will be happy.

This is Enjoyment. It requires an active process of creativity and… Attention. It is demanding. It drains you. But you are rewarded with an increase in the energy of the Self and a sense of achievement of an even greater complexity of the Self.

We are in a constant battle against inner entropy. Entropy means disorder. At a very low level, each of us has the instinctual drives, which were designed to keep everything in order. If we’re hungry, this is the sign that our existence is in danger, so we eat and reestablish balance. In medicine we call this homeostasis. If we’re cold, we seek a shelter. Same mechanism. We protect our body from external aggressive elements. Same mechanism for sex. The reward for satisfying our instinctual drives is relaxation, and relaxation means Pleasure. Pleasure is how we protect ourselves from entropy.

But from Pleasure we don’t learn anything new. We do not increase the complexity of our souls. We’re just some satisfied beings. And this happens even without the participation of our awareness… for some of us… It is not rare the situation when people have sex and, when questioned, they can’t remember basic details like with whom, when and how… Often this happens after heavy alcohol consumption… or in a total forgetfulness of self… or, to put it psychologically, in complete dissociation…

How do you think the bulimia attack happens? You break the fridge, totally absent-minded, and you wake up hours later that you’ve eaten everything in it, during a twilight state… Bulimics aren’t aware of the taste of the food; they just gorge all the available food, in an exceptionally impulsive act.

After heavy eating… or heavy sexual activity… follows the relaxation and pleasure, soon to be replaced, in some cases, by guilt or shame or regret. But the cycle is reenacted, sooner or later. For some, it’s a way of life…

Impulsive pleasure has noting to do with enjoyment. Ask a bulimic to enjoy each mouthful of food and they will likely begin to lose weight or struggle to enjoy, because this requires attention, focus. Ask a sexually hyperactive individual to pay attention to each movement and sensation and he will likely fail to do it. It will be too much work…

This article has a suggestive image for attention: walking on barbed wire. You need skill; things don’t come easy. You need attention or you might fall. You will learn something, eventually becoming skilled into walking on the barbed wire, and therefore you will increase your self-complexity. You will certainly get tired. But apart from arriving safely on the other side – which is going to give you pleasure from the instinct of survival – it will also give you enjoyment.

Most of us have a cup of coffee or tea in the morning. How many of us just drink the coffee for the pleasure of the waking effect or out of habit? And how many of us drink that coffee like a prayer, fully aware of the texture of the liquid, of its aroma and its taste? That’s Pleasure versus Enjoyment.

Some of us are lucky to have sex partners. How many of us engage in sexual activity just for the fun of it, for the pleasure coming from relaxation? What would happen if we will decide, at least once, to pay attention to the entire sexual act? What would happen if we cease, at least for some time, to think about the past or the future? Or about the present and the “skill” or the “technical details”? What would happen if we could use our attention to clean our consciousness state from all the parasite thoughts, concepts or emotions, and immerse ourselves in the flow of the process? What would happen if we could close our eyes and also our “mental eyes” and stop seeing the other and judging the other? What would happen if we could cease to “care” (think) about how the other feels? Or cease to “care” (think) about how we are seen by the other in the midst of the process? And what if we could pay attention to each touch, each breath, both ours and theirs? To each movement, each sound, each change in the texture of the skin or each shift of the other senses?

Sounds like walking on barbed wire?…

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One thought on “Pleasure & Enjoyment

  1. Pingback: Understanding Nietzsche | Cezar Danilevici

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