Actual Truth

The Need for Pleasure

Our True Identity
Evolution of the Self
The Greatest Mystery
The Need for Pleasure
Reach Out
Which Religion is Right?
Holy Names of God

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Why do we seek pleasure?

Psychologists and behaviorists throughout modern history have factually established that living organisms are pleasure-seeking creatures. We all seek pleasure in one form or another, struggling throughout our lives to achieve it. We struggle for physical satisfaction: Through the senses of touch, sight, hearing, taste, and smell. We seek pleasure through these senses by attempting to consume physical objects directly or by accumulating physical things such as wealth and material possessions as means to consume through our senses. We also may seek pleasure through the consumption of living sense objects as well. This will include attempting to consume the physical bodies of humans in the form of sexual satisfaction, or consuming animals by way of eating meat. Further consumption can take place as these attempts are frustrated, leading to efforts to control others. Often we see the achievement of wealth and power as a means to accumulate sense objects to consume, while exerting control over others.

All living creatures have a basic need to achieve pleasure and avoid pain. Animals, insects, fish, and all other living organisms carry the same desire to enjoy the objects of the senses—relative to whatever senses their bodies provide. In research, we have seen that animals will overeat beyond their needs or eat sweet substances that are obviously unhealthy because of a common desire to feel pleasure. In fact, living creatures will sometimes risk survival in order to obtain pleasure. Cruel studies on animals have shown that once given a pleasurable substance such as cocaine, an animal will risk starvation in order to repeat the pleasurable feelings cocaine will bring.

Aversion to pain is probably the easiest trait to identify pleasure seeking among lower living organisms. Through cruel experiments on many types of animals, plants and even bacteria, modern science has consistently observed that even the most insignificant living creatures seek to avoid pain. Sensitivity testing on plants and simple observation shows their affinity to the sun, along with their aversion to pain. We have all seen insects scurrying away under the threat of being squashed or hurt. They seek to avoid pain. They seek freedom from pain. This fear of being harmed is part and parcel of the quest for physical pleasure. Pain and pleasure are opposite yet connected elements. Their distinction is merely blurred by their relative assembly. An organism under the constant thumb of pain will feel pleasure with the simple cessation of pain, even if temporary. This type of pleasure is typically called comfort.

These observations illustrate that the drive for constant pleasure is not unique among humans. Rather, it is a common characteristic among all living beings. Whether or not we are conscious of it, every living being innately seeks pleasure.

Our modern society has gone pleasure-crazy.

Humans in modern society have developed elaborate methods in our determination to obtain pleasure. Restaurants bustle with business as we seek the pleasure of extravagant tastes and foods. Our markets are full of so many various recipes and formulas, catering to every desire for different tastes. Meanwhile, our attempts at sexual pleasure have led to so many different extremes and perversions. We have also developed so many complex devices that cool, heat or massage our bodies. We have developed many other entertainment facilities as well: Many different media and high-tech equipment are now available to us as we attempt to obtain pleasure. These include computer video games, satellite music, high-definition television, and so many other electronic devices. We have also learned to stimulate the pleasure-centers within our bodies with various drugs. Morphine, cocaine, and other opiates have been refined over the years to maximize attempts at physical comfort and pleasure. Over recent times, we have invented so many devices in search for pleasure. The government patent files are jammed full of applications for new devices, as we maximize our attempts for pleasure and comfort.

Together with developing new devices, we also maximize whatever facility we have, as we become desperate to achieve real pleasure. As soon as we begin to see that a certain facility or device does not fulfill our need for pleasure, we turn the dial up. As we turn the dial up we continue to be unfulfilled. Then we turn to the next thing, repeating the process.

It is never enough.

Today we can easily observe that our modern society is spinning with the effects of this seemingly endless search for pleasure. Thanks to modern media, we are also seeing among our society a host of negative consequences of these maximized efforts. Famous people are seen struggling for more and better extravagance, sex, success and food, often followed by depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and sometimes even suicide. Wealthy people are seen struggling to acquire more wealth, though the amount of wealth they have is enough to retire and live without working for multiple lifetimes. Meanwhile obesity has become a major problem in modern society. Many of us have become severely overweight as we consume well beyond our needs. This is all in the name of plea-sure because after all, that next meal just might bring us the pleasure we’re seeking.

For the purposes of this essay, we will call this endless search for fulfillment through the achievement of pleasure the pleasure principle.

Pleasure is not chemical.

Modern science has focused on the chemical aspect of pleasure and pain for the past few decades. The way modern science explains it, the human body introduces certain substances into the bloodstream and nerve networks in response to particular events. These neurochemicals are supposedly responsible for feelings of pleasure. If a person’s body eats good-tasting food or has sex, for example, certain neurochemicals such as dopamine and endorphins are found increased in the blood and tissues. These neurochemicals apparently impact—or bind with—certain nerve and brain cell membranes (called receptors), sending what we interpret as a pleasurable response surging through the body. Many modern scientists will thus connect our search for pleasure with a theoretical physiological need to attain these neurochemicals.

In reality, these neurochemicals are merely messengers for instructions and feedback between the mind of the living being and the gross body—signaling devices if you will. The living being is connected to the physical body through an intricate system of the mind, chakras, meridians, and the nervous system. This system, coordinated through the facility of the mind, allows the living being to instruct the body to function in certain ways while receiving feedback from it. Once sensual functions are underway, neurochemicals and nerves vibrate responses from the gross body to communicate feedback onto the mind’s screen. The living being views and interacts with the mind. Via this facility of the mind, the self is receiving sensual input through various messenger or relay systems, which include the optic nerves, vestibulocochlear nerves, the central nervous system, etc. All these systems utilize vibrational neurochemicals to relay messages from the senses to the brain cells and through to the mind.

Once these various sensual input vibrations have been reflected onto the screen of the mind they are viewed by the living being. The living being can then respond to these sense inputs, and use the mind to send vibrational responses back through the various messenger systems to parts of the body that are appropriate. These messenger systems will stimulate the production of other neurochemicals, which in turn effectively trigger various physical responses. Emotions of the living being such as depression, sadness, or elation for example, are relayed through this system to elicit the release of neurochemicals, which will in turn cause tears, laughter, nervousness or any number of other physical/emotional responses.

Neurotransmitters can also relay sensual feedback from various other tissues of the body onto the mind. This feedback system allows the living being via the mind to respond to things like hunger, thirst, fatigue, etc. These survival-feedback responses by the body can also be misinterpreted as potentially pleasurable by a living being desperately looking for fulfillment within the physical dimension. The feeling of hunger is not directly seen as potentially pleasurable. However, once a person eats after feeling hungry, the digestive system will signal back to the mind that the body is satiated. This neurochemical-relayed feedback can easily be misconstrued as potentially pleasure to a desperate, unfulfilled living being.

The feedback response of the physical body onto the mind using the nervous system and neurochemical messages might be compared to the instrument panel on an automobile:

An automobile is equipped with a gas gauge, an oil gauge, an RPM gauge, a speedometer, and an engine temperature gauge. These various gauges are all designed to indicate how well the engine is running, and whether there is any specific problem. Once assured that all systems are operational, the driver can start the car and drive. While underway, the driver checks the instrument panel often to make sure that the automobile is operating correctly, often responding to the gauges with different actions. If the speedometer shows too high of a speed, the driver will slow down. If the fuel gauge gets low, the driver stops to get some gasoline.

Now if the driver is really thinking that he will gain some pleasure through the operation of the car, he might try to get some gauges to indicate high levels. A driver might think that if he can get the RPM gauge or the speedometer to higher levels, he might experience some pleasure. When that doesn’t work, the driver might concoct a way to get the gauges way up by going real fast, and then slam on the brakes in an attempt to jolt some pleasure out of it. Of course, the passenger might also interpret the high gauge levels and the jolted activities differently, fearing the car might crash.

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The pleasure principle has several characteristics:

        --All living beings are designed for and addicted to the continual seeking of pleasure.

        --Those living beings who misidentify with the physical body seek pleasure through physical means within the physical world.

        --Physical means for attempted pleasure include the five perceptive senses for hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell; the five action senses of the hands, legs, speech, evacuation, and reproduction; and the three subtle senses of the mind, intelligence and false ego.

        --The objects we attempt to consume with these senses (sense objects) are captured by these senses and reflected onto the screen of the mind for the living being to view. They are not actually consumed by the living being.

--In an attempt to establish a means for future concocted sensual enjoyment, we may endeavor to accumulate wealth and possessions.

--In an attempt to gain further future pleasures, we may seek to control other living organisms through the misuse of power and governance.

--None of these physical attempts for gaining pleasure provide fulfillment. Because the living being is transcendental to the physical world, our needs run too deep to be satisfied with the temporary physical pleasures of this world.

--Our need for pleasure can only be satisfied by loving and serving the Supreme Being, the Source of real pleasure. 

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