It is a sad fact that we are hard-wired for pain. Our old brain is constantly looking out for danger. Survival is its primary concern. It is a risk to enjoy pleasure because we have to relax … let go … and be vulnerable.
You deserve it
We meet pain from birth onwards and learn how to deal with it. It is the first confirmation we get that we are alive. By contrast pleasure is strange and we are not sure if we can survive its intensity and so we often resist and play safe.
All this freely available pain has a subtle message – somehow or other you must deserve it. In the simple logic of the dualistic mind pain is conflated with being bad, possibly evil and destined for eternal pain, or hell. We end up hating ourselves for deserving it and not knowing why. We can’t accept pleasure because we don’t deserve it and to do so would be wrong, only confirming what we already knew – perfect catch 22.
This is probably why so many religions major on pain. Salvation through the cross, self denial and making up what is lacking in the suffering of the saviour … as if there was a lack. The cycle of reincarnation and suffering that purifies the person on the way to a higher state of consciousness. Very few religions major on pleasure or seem to endorse it as the true purpose of the body and its nervous system. No wonder the clitoris was such an enigma to the Victorians … a God-given organ … with no other purpose than pleasure, and that in multiple, seemingly endless, orgasmic spadesful.
Another deterrent to pleasure is the pain when the pleasure ends. In another twist of logic it becomes safer to not participate in pleasure to avoid being tortured by the memory of it. What you haven’t tasted you can’t miss and so ignorance becomes bliss.
The truth is that everybody understands pain. Suffering is the universal human condition in which we see another’s pain and feel a oneness with them, known as empathy. Pleasure is almost an affront. People who enjoy themselves openly display a separateness that only minorities such as the rich, famous and elites willingly foster.
A just reward
So, if we deserve pain, then we have to earn the right to pleasure. It comes in packages like heaven, nirvana and paradise… all at a very high price. Of course, if you control the market on pleasure you can exercise amazing power over people. How so? Because deep down we know it is all a lie and we know this because we have hope. This hope yearns for better things, a better life and a better world. We believe in justice, which is the ultimate balancing of pain and pleasure – the true and right perspective on life.
Having had authority endorse our unworthiness for pleasure we often need authority to allow us to enjoy ourselves. True authority would say be free, go ahead and enjoy life until you are replete … even if you vomit along the way. False authority says no, it is sinful, unholy, unlawful and can only be metered out in proscribed behaviours on set days in certain circumstances … ALL of which are controlled by US, the God-ordained authority! Of course, some authorities are self-appointed and thus they keep the divine authentification in-house.
Heaven on earth
Thankfully, these days pleasure is being seen for what it really is … the human raison d’être. It is vital for life and the source of both physical and psychological health. Justice is the glue that holds communities together and makes a better world. Heaven on earth is what a God of love would surely want … so go out and enjoy yourself. Maybe, with just one caveat … ‘do unto others what you would like them to do unto you’, consensually, of course.