Sunday, July 31, 2011

Pain & Pleasure

In Sri Aurobindo's epic Savitri a question was asked by Savitri's mother to the heavenly sage Narad as to why there is pain in this God's world. "Is it thy God who made this cruel law?" focusedly she raises the issue of pain in this world of ours. This may be a wrong question, but that is how we frame it. The question should have been, how has pain entered into the scheme here. Narad gives a detailed answer. [Savitri, Book Six Canto Two] If things are to remain as they are, then there is no pain. But if they have to suffer change then both pain and joy play a distinct role in the process. Pain is the hammer of the gods, tells Narad, to break a dread resistance in the mortal's heart.

Pleasure Principle Kept Us Going… | SpeakingTree By : Mukul Sharma on Jul 30, 2011 ...because by wanting more than we could enjoy, we beefed up our chances of survival, writes Mukul Sharma
According to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, mammalian brains appear to have more mechanisms for desire than they do for pleasure. That is, most mammals including humans, experience feelings of irresistible longing — be it for food, sex or whatever — that can be followed by those almost magical moments of bliss if the desire is met. 
But the researchers also found that because of the way the brain’s circuitry has developed over millions of years, we’re far more likely to be left wanting rather than satisfied since wanting and liking are separate urges in the brain that are controlled by different circuits. When they occur together, there’s no problem and the impact on the brain is stupendous. But there’s a catch: the study results suggest that we are all inherently susceptible to wanting more than we’re actually capable of enjoying. […]
Since those early days, though, things have changed and we’ve been increasingly inundated with all kinds of over-stimulation whereas the basic brain circuitry has remained the same. Thus we’re not equipped to cope with the loud signals coming from the subconscious mammalian brain which always thinks more indulgence is better. Researchers believe this leads to addictions with drugs, sex, food and gambling. 
And this is the crazy crux of the problem — desiring more without necessarily liking it more. It’s a formula for instant suffering due to the sheer helplessness of the human condition which constantly craves but cannot consummate. It might seem like a hopeless situation, being caught in a biological double bind of greed and lack of knowledge. 

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