Social Question

LostInParadise's avatar

Is pleasure a state of being, or the passage from one state to another?

Asked by LostInParadise (23636points) September 6th, 2012

When I was child, I had this great epiphany. It was a hot day and I remember walking into an air conditioned store. I felt a great sense of relief as I entered. The air conditioning was not very satisfactory and after a while I started to feel uncomfortable. How could I feel good again? What if I walked outside and came in again? It worked! I tried this two or three more times to verify my observation. Being just about as nerdy as a child as I am now, I concluded that at least some pleasure results from the cessation of unpleasantness.

Scientists have identified a pleasure center in the brain of humans and other mammals and relates to the release of dopamine. The pleasure center is known to be stimulated by drugs, food and sex. However, the effect wears off. Hence my question. Must there be a change in state for the pleasure center to respond? It would seem to be the case. Otherwise someone would have come up with a way of continually triggering the center, leading to a permanent feeling of euphoria.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

11 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Depends on what you’re experiencing at the time. If what you’re experiencing isn’t pleasant, then relief from that could be pleasure. For example, working in god awful heat, then getting a break in the shade with some tepid water would seem like pleasure. But if what you’re experiencing is nice, pleasure is the state of being. I was thinking of laying in the arms of your lover. That starts out nice and just stays right there for as long as you get to do it.

marinelife's avatar

Well, what you are describing is true of any emotion. Anger and sadness also wear off.

Coloma's avatar

Someone has, they are called antidepressants. lol

Not everyones pleasure centers respond to the same things. I’ll take cheesecake over sex any day of the week, and marijuana over alcohol. All things need an opposite to have the pleasure center impact. One cannot enjoy being warm if they have not been cold, nor full if they have not been hungry or happy if they have never experienced sadness. All things have an a pain/pleasure dichotomy that needs to be in place for maximum pleasure.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Coloma Interesting. Do you think we always need the opposite? I’m thinking I don’t have to know what it feels like to have my heartbroken to know that being wrapped up in a lover’s arms feels good. The warm and the cold make sense, but some things are good just on their own merits. Really good food comes to mind too. I don’t need crappy food to know what good food tastes like. Just curious.

Coloma's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Well, to a degree, of course. I don;t need to know what it feels like to break my arm to know I would prefer to not have that experience to enhance my unbroken, pain free arm, but yeah, in general it is true. The sweetest pleasures can only come from knowing the opposites most of the time. I just ordered a space heater to comp. my propane bill this coming winter. I LOVE being warm and warmth can only truly be appreciated by first being COLD! lol

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Coloma True. I almost froze to death once, to the point the brain was shutting down. It does make the warmth so so nice. Yeah, the opposites enhance the good stuff.:)

whiteliondreams's avatar

Aside from the neurological aspects of what pain and pleasure do or do not produce along the lines of sensory experience, the next question is (which is what I gather @LostinParadise may have contemplated) is, do we need to rely on external or psychological stimulants to activate the dopamine-euphoric experience, or is there another method of creating pleasure without it being emotively conduced? I.e. Sex + Climax = Pleasure; Reading + Interest = Pleasure.

Does reading have the same pleasing effects as sex?

rojo's avatar

Mac Davis used to say that “Happiness is Lubbock Texas in the rear view mirror”. From this perspective it is passing from one state to another.

YARNLADY's avatar

The experience you described could also be attributed to a particular balance of ions in the air, which can be controlled and which can produce a feeling of well-being.

flutherother's avatar

“But pleasures are like poppies spread,
You sieze the flower, its bloom is shed;”

Robert Burns

Cruiser's avatar

There are many things in this world that trigger this dopamine response as it is the very mechanism that triggers activities that ensure survival of I assume animals and mamals or anything capable of feeling pleasure. When you do anything that either feels good or satiates a need as in finding a new source of food or water triggers a dopamine response that says to you…“WOW!!!...that was good!” Let’s find more or do it again. That chemical rush that a good food can bring, or sip of water that satiates a severe thirst or copulating that feels amazing ensures the species will do it again and again thus preserving the species survival.

Drugs, alcohol, sugar, sex are all top contenders that provide this dopamine response and why so many people become addicted to any one or more of these activities. In the old days, our caveman ancestors only had sex, food and thrill of a chase from a saber tooth tiger to get their dopamine jollies but as man was able to create and control their environment he created drugs and alcohol that duplicates these dopamine survival responses that now create conflict and possible destruction of the person consuming these things to recreate this desirable high.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther