Pain and Pleasure

“He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.”
- Aeschylus

    Every action that is taken by human beings is a result of continuum. This continuum is known as “pain and pleasure”. It is a fundamental duality that serves as a biological mechanism to protect and advance the human species. Humans are universally subjected to the pursuit of pleasure, and the avoidance of pain. Within our bodies are sensory input systems designed to give the perceptions of pain and pleasure using a reward-punishment method. When a person’s well being is threatened, stimuli is activated, giving the person the perception of pain. When a person’s well being is enhanced, stimuli is activated, giving the person the perception of pleasure. Why is this system necessary? Before a baby touches a hot surface, it has no knowledge of the feeling of being burned. Therefore it has no idea that hot surfaces shouldn’t be touched. However, once the baby touches a hot surface and feels the sensation of being burned, it associates hot surfaces with pain and becomes aware on a biological level that hot surfaces should be avoided. Why do we feel pain? Whether it is physical or emotional pain, pain serves us as a means to protect ourselves by initiating wisdom. This wisdom can be as simple as not touching hot surfaces, or as complex as to the wisdom of higher consciousness. Unfavorable circumstances and misguided actions are necessary in the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom. There is no form of growth that takes place without pain; hence the term “growing pains”. To quote the late Napoleon Hill, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartbreak, carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” Wisdom is the essential element in guiding oneself to favorable outcomes, and as a result, one will achieve more pleasure and satisfaction. The honest truth is that in your life, there will be both good and bad times ahead. By accepting this reality, and understanding that wisdom is the key to pleasure, one may be satisfied with the thought that every second in your life that you feel pain, you are in the process of becoming a better you. “When the winds begin to blow, and the skies begin to hail, seek great wisdom as you go, and set the better sail.”