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The Pleasure Principal

An Intro

The pleasure principle is a term originally used by Sigmund Freud to characterize the tendency of people to seek pleasure and avoid pain, look for joy and stay away from torment.

Freud contended that individuals will, once in a while, put forth an admirable attempt to maintain a strategic distance from even momentary pain, particularly at times of psychological weakness or vulnerability.

People in their lives come across many a moments where they are given a choice and they would be most likely to pick the choice which either seems easier of the two or one with which the least harm befalls on the thing they want to protect the most, which can be an object, another human or even themselves – differing for each individual. The point of contention here is that people are always looking for the easy way out, searching for the way with the least amount of thorns and expecting the end reward to be the same as that of the other more dangerous and longer pathway.

Smaller effort=Bigger reward. That is today’s workings of the mind.

Good Therapy states that early in life, children tend to seek immediate gratification. They want pleasure, and they avoid pain to the best of their abilities. However, as children grow up, they become more realistic about their desires as they begin to understand that at times they must tolerate pain and delay gratification, simply because of the constraints of life. Once this realization takes place, children begin to operate under the reality principle, which still seeks pleasure, but in a way that does not disregard the constraints of reality.

However, even when operating under the reality principle, a person may still experience intense anxiety, depression, and other behavioral disturbances when needs for pleasure are not met or when he or she experiences unwanted pain.

It is common knowledge that when you work hard, from day till night and till your blood, sweat and tears all join to form a weird brown pulpy liquid, you can’t say you won’t feel satisfied when you eat a piece of bread out of your own money which you collected after actually working for it. When you actually work hard for something it shows in your emotions. You start appreciating the reward for what value it truly holds, no matter how small it may be. You start to know that for some pleasures, some pain is necessary to undertake.

According to Good Therapy:  people do not always act to maximize pleasure and may, in fact, engage in self-defeating behaviors that serve to increase pain. However, these behaviors might still operate according to the pleasure principle in that they were formed as an adaptive response or as a result of addiction.

For example, a person who frequently starts fights with a partner may still be aiming to maximize pleasure because the apology after the fight might benefit that person more than the fight harms him or her. When the emotional or physical pain associated with a particular event outweighs the benefit a person receives, and then he or she is likely to cease engaging in the self-defeating behavior.

A person with addiction problems, for instance, is more likely to stop using when the pain of his or her addiction exceeds the pleasure obtained from the substance.

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