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

“In one study, subjects were given experience with a painful electric shock and then asked how much they would pay to avoid getting the shock again.

Then they were kept by themselves for fifteen minutes, with the shock machine in the room.

Even though they said they would pay to avoid the shock, many of the subjects chose to indulge in the pain. (There was a big sex difference here. Two-thirds of the men shocked themselves—usually just once, though one man shocked himself 190 times—while only one-quarter of the women indulged.)

This is yet another source of benign masochism—pain to escape boredom.

One reason why doing nothing is so unpleasant is that our thoughts, unfettered by distraction, take us to uncomfortable places.

Boredom is the opposite of BDSM: instead of escaping from the self, you’re wallowing in it.

We are starting to get a sense here for why boredom is a poor candidate for benign masochism.

Unlike other masochistic pleasures, it doesn’t capture our attention or our interest (indeed, it does the opposite).

It doesn’t lead to escape from the self.

It might set up a contrast with future experience—something interesting is probably more interesting if it was preceded by a period of boredom—but apparently the contrast isn’t so great as to make the choice worthwhile.”



4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on November 23, 2021 at 8:00 pm

    Interesting information.

  2. How about the guy who hit it 190 times

    A masochist

  3. He can’t tolerate his own inner experiences..? Pain better than facing oneself….

  4. That could be true

    He had to almost hit that button continuously to reach 190

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: