Sean Berry's Thoughts on The Human Mind, Behavior, Movies, Video Games, Television, Technology, Internet, Culture, and Everything Else In Between


ArgueRants #15: The Fine Line Between Pleasure & Pain

Posted by sean berry on June 16, 2011 at 6:07 AM

This piece is not directed at or written for masochists, but it is more or less to explore the dividing lines of pleasure and pain for relatively normal individuals using some of my own experiences though I can’t claim to be completely normal as I am can easily inflict harm upon myself or take whatever pain comes at me, if the situation calls for it. I also don’t consider myself the type that would mutilate myself or impair a bodily function just for shits and giggles. Pleasure and pain are like warm and boiling, cool and freezing, and deep and bottomless, the latter being the former revved up much higher and though our nerves tell us many things about our bodies, it’s our minds in the end that determine how exactly those sensations are perceived. The mindset behind any pain is nearly as determinate as the injury itself, as we have the uncanny ability to redirect our focus and react untraditionally to an age old affliction. I myself am prone to fits of laughter if I happen to sustain a particularly painful injury, but from a purely logical standpoint, it’s simply a protective mechanism and the brain chemistry produced in laughter is certainly beneficial to any one experiencing pain.


We have to understand that pain tells us that something might be off or working incorrectly and at that point as individuals we can assess whatever threat it may happen to be and it may not turn out to be negative at all and that sensation can be transformed into something pleasure inducing. The line of pleasure and pain is one in constant flux, so an individual can test this boundary and push themselves farther in terms of stimulation as the sense of what feels “normal” is in reality much far off the persons original tolerance. This happens naturally over time as many women can probably say that the smacks they got on the ass as a kid were probably not half as hard as the ones they get now but I’m sure they thought they were much more painful than pleasurable as a child. So we can see quite clearly that time itself hardens us to certain stimulus but also makes us more sensitive to others, as a young kid rarely experiences the aches in his bones or the hard impact of the ground when he jumps from high up but daddy can rarely say the same and mommy as well.


How does the pain we endure define us and how does society itself push us to deal with pleasure and pain? I think for many pain can be a defining factor as it is usually the result of some trauma or medical affliction that brings one face to face with their own mortality and you begin to realize that living well takes a lot of effort and focus as the demand any constant pain can bring is nearly unbearable. We adapt though and we find ways to deal with things by adopting a different attitude and this strengthens us by adding another layer of perception to counter the one just telling you that you are hurting. Now the world we live in does not want you to hurt and with more ergonomical furniture and a multitude of sedentary activities, it would seem that most businesses don’t really want you doing much of anything at all save for going out to buy their product and even that isn’t necessary any more with the ever increasing presence of online merchandising. A lot of the products that are sold to people are for convenience and to make things more comfortable and the only people that want you to visibly suffer and make no denials about it are the fitness gurus pushing people to engage in intense physical workout sessions and gut-wrenching routines.


I’m sure your mind is dirty like mine and when you think about pain and pleasure you will undoubtedly think about sex. For me, that’s a huge example of how mindset can completely negate and often times transmute sensory information. If anyone were to run their nails down my back so hard that they would leave visible welts and tears I would probably turn around and elbow them in the head before they could finish, but when this happens during a sexual encounter, it may sting a little but it only serves to stir an already boiling kettle. Some girls like their hair pulled and to be spanked but try doing that in a normal social setting and watch how quickly you are slapped and accosted by that girls burly Guido friends. There are also people who are into much more intense interactions and though this is the internet I don’t feel the need to elaborate on S & M.


It’s a dog eat dog world and just how you take a bite may determine your very place in the food chain. We can all judge for ourselves all the things we feel and decide what to endure and what to flee. Add it to the million other things that set us apart as individuals but for the most part, we all tend to like what other people like and hate what other people hate, while accepting that there will always be those on either end of the spectrum and some completely off the charts or books for that matter. If there is a point to suffering we can’t forgo it and if we hurt ourselves needlessly, we must also figure out for how long we’ll do that because in the end, we all pay the price for the lives we live and though some may be taken suddenly, the lot of us will reap the sum of our years in often times inglorious terms.

Categories: ArgueRants

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