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Old 12-04-2012, 12:24 AM
 
Location: Orange, CA
8 posts, read 11,453 times
Reputation: 10

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I have an idea -a SERIOUS one: Why would humans be subjected to pleasure if we were not meant to seek it out and satisfy it? Sugar is delicious - why is it "bad" for us? Sex is (usually) pleasurable, why is it considered bad in so many cultures to indulge oneself outside of the social or religious doctrines? Who decided to hypnotize the population to believe this? I myself am biased because -lucky or not - I can eat sugar day and night and not feel guilty about it. Is it because at some point in my life I stopped caring whether or not it would make me fat and It didn't? Is it the attitude about it that makes it physically act on us?
Sex is slightly different because I DO care about catching a disease and I have discretion when taking a partner for the purpose of...uh...exchanging bodily fluids...if you will.... and have never caught a disease from it, or been abused in any way.
Is this overconfidence on my part or is there something physical which takes place when a belief we hold contradicts our behavior? I would love the opinions of others before I go write a book about it (LOL, JK)
Humor me, please, before I make a fool of myself at a dinner party!
Bless!
~Q
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Old 12-04-2012, 05:49 AM
 
Location: Portsmouth, VA
75 posts, read 74,872 times
Reputation: 100
I view pleasure as an evolutionary incentive to other activities, not as an end in itself. The pleasure produced by eating sugar rewards the procurement of an energy source for the body, the pleasure of sex is a reward for procreative activity. That we have today separated the stimulation of pleasure from the actual survival enhancements being rewarded by it is something we have to deal with using our intellect. Clearly, pleasure-seeking in and of itself does not enhance our survival, in fact, it can often reduce our chances for survival as in the case of drug addiction.
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:35 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,663 posts, read 74,025,881 times
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It is important to recognize that humans are not the only life forms that are "subjected to pleasure". Even unicellural organisms can experience pain/pleasure, which is a survival mechanism. A species that has no capacity to recognize pain and escape from the source of pain will quickly become extinct, and the evolutionary survivors are those which avoid pan and seek pleasure.
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:09 AM
 
Location: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
336 posts, read 281,519 times
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The perception of pleasure, as a sensation or qualia, differs in some fundamental ways from other perceptions (such as of "blue," or pain or nausea or even emotional perceptions such as fear or anger).

When I smell a bottle of vanilla extract, I have a perception of the odor of vanilla; I also have a perception of pleasure. I "like" what I am smelling. The perception of the odor is purely informatory; the perception of pleasure is a way my body has of telling me to smell it again. I suspect, with appropriate aversion therapy, that I might be trained to no longer find pleasure in the odor of vanilla.

Obviously our ability to experience pleasure has evolutionary consequences. My pet cat chases the poor gecko, not because my cat is hungry, but because it enjoys the chase. I dare say the gecko probably gets a certain pleasure out of staying out of the cat's reach and frustrating her (although of course I have no ability to read gecko body language).

In nature these pleasure reinforcements generally serve the animal well. In the artificial human environment, as other posts above point out, things are more complex.

I would make one last point: the fact that we can show how natural selection would make use of our various sensations should not be taken as a solution to the mystery of what they are. Our sensations are entirely in our minds, not of the external world, and can be interpreted, therefore, as elaborate illusions -- even though they do serve to inform us, more or less, about what is going on out there. What they really are remains mysterious, and, in fact, disturbing -- at least to a comfortable physicalist (aka "materialist") perspective.
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:38 PM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
13,143 posts, read 19,134,646 times
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I would say the cultural aversion to pleasure is an evolved trait for survival. Most things that bring pleasure in small quantities are detrimental in large quantities and/or distract us from survival so we need some counterbalance to keep our lives moving forward.

Our ability to comprehend and plan for future events is important too. For example, if people banged like rabbits all the time we wouldn't be able to care for all the resulting babies (humans of course take far longer to grow up and become self-sufficient!). Monogamy and cultural pressures to wait for sex until marriage help insure we don't have more offspring than we can handle at one time.
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:05 PM
 
Location: Whittier
3,007 posts, read 5,083,823 times
Reputation: 3033
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Merton View Post
The perception of pleasure, as a sensation or qualia, differs in some fundamental ways from other perceptions (such as of "blue," or pain or nausea or even emotional perceptions such as fear or anger).

When I smell a bottle of vanilla extract, I have a perception of the odor of vanilla; I also have a perception of pleasure. I "like" what I am smelling. The perception of the odor is purely informatory; the perception of pleasure is a way my body has of telling me to smell it again. I suspect, with appropriate aversion therapy, that I might be trained to no longer find pleasure in the odor of vanilla.

Obviously our ability to experience pleasure has evolutionary consequences. My pet cat chases the poor gecko, not because my cat is hungry, but because it enjoys the chase. I dare say the gecko probably gets a certain pleasure out of staying out of the cat's reach and frustrating her (although of course I have no ability to read gecko body language).

In nature these pleasure reinforcements generally serve the animal well. In the artificial human environment, as other posts above point out, things are more complex.

I would make one last point: the fact that we can show how natural selection would make use of our various sensations should not be taken as a solution to the mystery of what they are. Our sensations are entirely in our minds, not of the external world, and can be interpreted, therefore, as elaborate illusions -- even though they do serve to inform us, more or less, about what is going on out there. What they really are remains mysterious, and, in fact, disturbing -- at least to a comfortable physicalist (aka "materialist") perspective.
Hey! Someone else who knows what Qualia is!

To answer the OP: There are plenty of books already on the subject.

I hate to be reductionist here but I do think that a big part of "pleasure" is a reaction to our biology. We also sneeze and do other bodily functions because it feels good as well.

Vomiting on the other hand doesn't feel good, in part, because it signify's that something is wrong.

There are another 1,000,000 answers to this topic as well. Namely this one:

Experience machine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anecdotally, when I eat too much food that is "pleasurable" to me my body craves vegetables and things that are less fatty and bad for me.

Society regulates pleasure by use of "the other," IMO used as a reflection to ourselves and the eventual progression of society. Anarchic Hedonism (although touted by a few too many) would lead our race to extinction, again, IMO.
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:14 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,847 posts, read 30,265,720 times
Reputation: 22342
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quinnlain View Post
I have an idea -a SERIOUS one: Why would humans be subjected to pleasure if we were not meant to seek it out and satisfy it? Sugar is delicious - why is it "bad" for us? Sex is (usually) pleasurable, why is it considered bad in so many cultures to indulge oneself outside of the social or religious doctrines? Who decided to hypnotize the population to believe this? I myself am biased because -lucky or not - I can eat sugar day and night and not feel guilty about it. Is it because at some point in my life I stopped caring whether or not it would make me fat and It didn't? Is it the attitude about it that makes it physically act on us?
Sex is slightly different because I DO care about catching a disease and I have discretion when taking a partner for the purpose of...uh...exchanging bodily fluids...if you will.... and have never caught a disease from it, or been abused in any way.
Is this overconfidence on my part or is there something physical which takes place when a belief we hold contradicts our behavior? I would love the opinions of others before I go write a book about it (LOL, JK)
Humor me, please, before I make a fool of myself at a dinner party!
Bless!
~Q
According to the teachings of Kabbalah, mankind was created as a vessel in which to receive light from the creator. By the act of giving and the subsequent act of receiving we are fulfilled in the spirit.

You see, your idea isn't so wacky after all.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 12-07-2012, 03:02 PM
 
Location: England
784 posts, read 830,089 times
Reputation: 862
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quinnlain View Post
I have an idea -a SERIOUS one: Why would humans be subjected to pleasure if we were not meant to seek it out and satisfy it? Sugar is delicious - why is it "bad" for us? Sex is (usually) pleasurable, why is it considered bad in so many cultures to indulge oneself outside of the social or religious doctrines? Who decided to hypnotize the population to believe this? I myself am biased because -lucky or not - I can eat sugar day and night and not feel guilty about it. Is it because at some point in my life I stopped caring whether or not it would make me fat and It didn't? Is it the attitude about it that makes it physically act on us?
Sex is slightly different because I DO care about catching a disease and I have discretion when taking a partner for the purpose of...uh...exchanging bodily fluids...if you will.... and have never caught a disease from it, or been abused in any way.
Is this overconfidence on my part or is there something physical which takes place when a belief we hold contradicts our behavior? I would love the opinions of others before I go write a book about it (LOL, JK)
Humor me, please, before I make a fool of myself at a dinner party!
Bless!
~Q
Excellent question. I believe that these social limitations are about instituting control. Religions couldn't possibly compete with the bliss associated with pleasurable human activity unless they somehow deemed it inappropriate. I believe a lot of aspects of "civilization" have hijacked the human condition and warped it for their own ends. For example, why couldn't we have a society where human beings didn't have to punch a clock 40 hours a week to feed their families? Couldn't we have a cashless society where the basics are covered for everyone (and where those who wanted more would have to be more productive, of course)? The simple truth is no we couldn't, because the powers that be couldn't exert control over the populace.

So instead of living for the pleasures of life, most people labor away to enrich a limited few, while praying away the "sin" that has been artificially created to subdue them. We work our lives away to acquire useless crap that we do not need.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:01 PM
 
Location: Orange, CA
8 posts, read 11,453 times
Reputation: 10
"Anecdotally, when I eat too much food that is "pleasurable" to me my body craves vegetables and things that are less fatty and bad for me. "


Exactly! This is true for me! Not so for a lot of people though, does that necessarily indicate a deviation as far as our human evolution is concerned?
Is it because our ability to mass-produce the tasty sugary things increased faster than evolution could adapt our metabolism?
How then did some of us escape with the ability to tell the difference between a bodily craving and an emotio-physical craving?
The older I get, the harder it is for me to agree with evolution a la Biology.
It still cant explain "Intent" because it's a slippery 'lil fellah when determining the origin of a craving.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:14 PM
 
Location: Orange, CA
8 posts, read 11,453 times
Reputation: 10
It's like something I heard Nassim Haramein say about "informing the vacuum", as in we are gathering information by simply being conscious (vessels) and in the recognition of being conscious, we are informing "Source".
I find comfort in the idea that we might each have a purpose after all and that is to gather information -that of a human or a trout or a toadstool - and report back to Source so that it always remain informed.
What a gorgeous thought!
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