People have many reactions to the word pleasure. For some who are perhaps more fortunate, pleasure is a normal part of everyday life whereas for others the idea of pleasure is a motivator and a desire to alleviate their unhappiness.
In terms of how we experience life pleasure is the opposite of pain and without it life could be even more unhappy than what it is today. We experience pleasure from a great many things from the air we breathe, the warmth of the sun, the food we eat, the myriad relationships that we have with both people and the environment, and many other things.
Yes sometimes is good to remember that pleasure is a sensory perception, and as such we experience that within our minds. This is something that we so often overlook and forgets. With a sense the world through our five senses of sight, sound, taste, touch and vision.
It seems rather strange trying to comprehend that we actually have no experience of the outside world, it is our senses that gather information, then that information is transported to our mind which then interprets what is being perceived through either of the five senses.
There is no doubt that everyone desires a life that is more pleasurable as we have a natural aversion to discomfort and pain. This causes many people to seek pleasure and avoid pain yet most people have a little wisdom and realise that pain sometimes part of life's growing process.
Yet if we consider pain, there are growing pains and pains associated with learning from mistakes in life which most people recognise makes us stronger and often a little wiser.
But this sometimes initiates a little dance of seeking pleasure in order to avoid pain, but this seldom really works. Pain is as natural to life as pleasure, but it is only there to remind us that we are on the wrong path or is every moment of everyone's day is pleasurable, that is an indicator that life is going well provided that the pleasure being experienced does not come at someone else's expense.
There is a word called karma which loosely translated means cause and effect. In other words everything we do in life produces a reaction and if we do things which are harmful to others, that harm will come back or other. In other words, profiting and causing harm to others will eventually bounce back to affect the person causing harm.
Conversely, the person who is generous in enhancing aspects of other people's lives in a way that is pleasurable will get the same in return. It pleasure is only part of the equation in the process of generating happiness, joy and blissfulness.
The different kinds of pleasure
There are innumerable things that give us pleasure in relation to our senses. These are all to do with our bodies and minds from the way that we identify ourselves as individuals.
The pleasure of taste and delicious food
The pleasure of physicality, of touch, action and sex.
The pleasure of what we consider beautiful which is most often found in nature and also human creativity.
The pleasure in sound as we find again the sounds of nature and human creativity form of music.
The pleasure of seeing the world around us.
Interestingly all these pleasurable forms of perception are learned. When a child is born it sees the world upside down because the light that shines from any object through the lens of the eye is inverted, that information is conveyed to our mind which then reverts the image.
We know all too well the values we associated with pleasure are learned because people with different diets, different social values and different upbringing all have different understandings as to what is pleasurable and what is not.
In terms of food, some people get pleasure from eating food and its taste whereas many people don't care about the taste because what they like is the sense of having a full belly and the energy to carry out their daily activities.
In terms of physicality some people limit their pleasure to the fulfilment of sexual desires whereas most people experience a simple bodily pleasure from being clean, healthy and well fed.
When we over identify with our bodies, our minds and the subjectivity of pleasure, it is very easy to become addicted. The drug addicts becomes addicted to a sense of pleasure they experience from ingesting some drug. Yet people get addicted to food, to sounds, to sex and other sensations.
But perhaps the most unfortunate thing about addiction and the misunderstanding of pleasure is that it forces people into antisocial behaviours. These are the people who are in a sense see pleasure as an equation for happiness, yet this is an illusion because pleasure and happiness are different.
There is no doubt that pleasure supports happiness and in that sense, it's a little like the icing on the cake that just makes life that little better.