Two types of chosen pain and suffering


Pain does not always bring suffering.

Can pain bring pleasure?

Is there a purpose for some pain?

Excerpt from “The Sweet Spot” the pleasures of suffering and the search for meaning

“THIS BOOK WILL explore two different sorts of chosen suffering.

The first involves spicy food, hot baths, frightening movies, rough sex, intense exercise, and the like.

We’ll see that such experiences can give pleasure. They can increase the joy of future experiences, provide an escape from consciousness, satisfy curiosity, and enhance social status.

The second is the sort involved in climbing mountains and having children. Such activities are effortful and often unpleasant.

But they are part of a life well lived.

“These two sorts of chosen pain and suffering –for pleasure and for meaning—differ in many ways.

The discomfort of hot baths and BDSM and spicy curries is actively pursued; we look forward to it—the activity wouldn’t be complete without it.

The other form of suffering isn’t quite like that.

When training for a marathon, nobody courts injury and disappointment.

And yet the possibility of failure has to exist.

When you start a game, you don’t want to lose, but if you know you will win every time, you’re never going to have any fun.

So, too, with life more generally.”



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