Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024



By Geoffrey Curtis

COMMENT – It’s My Pleasure!

On the way to the shops, you stop at a service station to top up the car with petrol so you can quickly head off on holiday with the children. Just in the nick of time before closing you buy some goodies at a shop and as a special treat everyone gets hamburger and chips at the fast food drive through.

Today you decide to go to the movies to watch a film on your own. Dad is at home on his mobile placing a bet while the two children areplaying independently of each other on a computer game.

It is time to buy another book on line to read in bed. The TV is on, but no one appears to be watching.        A delivery at the door meansanother parcel box has arrived with instructions on how to assemble the little framed ornament that will eventually be placed somewhere.

All of these scenarios have one thing in common and before you try and work what they are here is the answer in a single word, ‘pleasure’. Now before readers have a go at me that fast food is not a pleasure let me assure you it certainly is. You do not have to eat fast food there are much better nutritious foods and just as cheap. Liking fast food and convenience if you think about it are pleasures. Therefore, the pleasure is the type of edible food and the quick and effortless way to get a meal.

By now you may be asking what is the point in all of this? For most of human life on this planet until very recent times trying to stay alive, eat and be healthy was paramount. And while

you could argue it is to some extent still true our everyday life increasingly is created around the amount of pleasure we think we need.

You see our brain is a machine that runs all the time and if advertisers on line platforms can tap into our sensory organs of smell,hearing, touch and seeing then yippee, profit for one and pleasure for the other.       Of course, pleasure is not only food and beverage but is a multitude of things including for some of us bungy jumping, being a volunteer and seeking a partner. We do not necessarily always go out to buy or seek pleasure it is nevertheless so much part of our lives we consciously don’t think about it.

What therefore is pleasure? Psychologists and philosophers say pleasure is a fleeting or temporary experience, a kind of a short term feeling of enjoyment or gratification as described above. And while for example taking that holiday and eating that hamburger can be a positive and pleasurable experience in the shorter term, the longer term eating of fast foods may run into an addiction with poor health. This was well demonstrated by the individual in the documentary ‘Supersize Me’ in 2003 after eating so much fast food.

It is important not to get mixed up between happiness and pleasure even if they are not mutually exclusive. Pleasure is more of a short term here and now quick fix, like I must have that new car or that i-phone, where-as happiness tends to be longer term emotional state and most important not dependent on external circumstances or material possessions. Being hedonistic is recognized as someone in the pursuit of pleasure for self-in- dulgence or gratification. You may want to read more on line about the value and normative forms of hedonism for pleasure at your leisure.

And just for the fun of it why not try this experiment for one day on yourself. Keeping a note of all your activities from the time you got out of bed to what you ate and drank, the actions at work and what took place, arriving back home, and in the evening. Record what you believe were the pleasures taking place throughout this period. You may want to re-examine on another dayto find upon assessing your results other pleasures to add to your original list. What may you discover about yourself?

In conclusion this article is about how we have become beholden to the consumer society more than we have realised. The next and succeeding generations are already being programmed for their insatiable appetite for pleasure and none more so than what takes place on social media and the rate of progress being taken by AI to work out what the next pleasure will be. We can of course ignoreand dismiss all of this as nonsense, or we can be more aware of what we seek in our daily life. Pleasure does not have to be dominated by materialism that is to say possessions over ideas, values, spiritual or simply commonsense. Learning more about the quality of life rather than the enormous pleasure of quantity might be a consideration.

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