Saturday, June 11, 2016


Pain's inevitable, it's the nature of our reality.

I've come to this conclusion via 62.75 years of experience in the subject as well as well as by studying the thoughts, opinions, and conclusions of others. Particularly the thoughts, opinions, and conclusions of a gentle-man by the name of Thaddeus Golas who wrote a book entitled, "Love and Pain." He may be known to some of your for being the sorta/kinda famous author of a sorta/kinda famous book that was published in 1971. It's called, "The Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment."

I don't recommend either book for most people, particularly those of you that are comfortable believers or non-believers, that are content with what you believe (or don't). Most members of both groups will find them to be "out there" and dismiss some of their wilder premises early on, probably regretting have spent the money and/or time to obtain a copy.

Also, the latter book contradicts the former. Or rather, corrects it. And, if you liked the first one you might find Love and Pain to be rather depressing.

However, since Mr. G's conclusions about pain happen to coincide with (and clarified) my own, and since he expresses them so elegantly, I have to acknowledge him. As it happens...

[For the love of a higher power that can be defined any which way you like, for whom am I to judge? (my imaginary gentle reader, or IGR, has been trending politically correct as of late) would you please get on with it! Marie-Louise gives him a dirty look while simultaneously gently smacking me on the back of my head. This significance of this is that though she may agree with him her first instinct is to defend me. She's a very good muse.]

Fine then. First, I must declare a personal (respectful and low-key) rejection of the notion that we're all being punished for an original sin of some sort. A sin that was committed by persons known or unknown that's resulted in everyone born since, that is, everyone, arriving here having been tried, convicted and sentenced -- before they existed. If this works for you, well, you might as well stop reading here. Have an OK day.

Next, to get it out of the way, I'll readily stipulate that pain serves as a very effective survival mechanism. "My hand seems to have caught on fire, that really, really hurts. I should put that out as quickly as possible."

[Oh, before I forget, as to "respectful and low-key," while I'm not a believer, at least in a traditional, conservative way, I'm very much a live and let live sort of dude. It's a cage match! Believers v. non-believers v. non-traditional believers -- or my personal favorite -- traditional v. different traditional. If everyone was to make a conscious effort to redirect the time and energy we use up demonizing (pun intended) each other we could all get our laundry caught up. (Another gentle smack from Marie-Louise.) Suffice it to say that the subject of next week's column is demonization.]

Now, the specific point that Mr. Golas brings up that I'd never thought of before, at least in quite the same way, is that pain is survival. Pleasure, in more than very limited doses, is disintegration and death.

No, I'm not saying that we should resurrect the philosophy and lifestyle of ancient Sparta. Yes, I acknowledge that all work, and no play, not only produces dull dudes/dudettes, it sucks sweaty socks.


If I get drunk every day after work, and/or while at work, and if I get and stay drunk the entire weekend, because I really, really like to get drunk, I will begin to disintegrate, I will eventually die. The best I can hope for till the fun turns to cirrhosis of the liver, is that I don't trash/damage/kill anyone else along the way. Please feel free to substitute the pleasure inducing substance/activity of your choice. Don't forget sugar, sugar.

[Stuff and nonsense! Sez my IGR. You're talking about abusing substances/activities that if used in moderation...]

...No, what I'm talking about is that the nature of life on Earth, assuming, as I suspect most folks do if they wish to survive for more than a minute, is that pleasure must be limited and controlled.

[Well sure, everyone knows that moderation in all things...]

That's only true if you define moderation as doing really fun stuff in severely limited and controlled doses. If moderation is the answer why do we spend so much of our time working, be it for a living or the 1,001 other dreary things that must get done to get through the day?

Moderation? My idea of moderation would be a world in which I spend as much time having fun as I do working. That lifestyle is only available to an infinitesimal percentage of people, and for a limited time. Pain finds everyone. Even love hurts.

I hear two questions begging.

If you had the wherewithal to design reality from scratch, or could reboot it any which way you want to, wouldn't you set it up so it was possible to exist in a state of bliss 24 x 7? I'm not even remotely as forgiving as God is supposed to be and that's what I'd do.

On a more practical note, if you concede the inevitability of pain, and don't want to pleasure yourself to death (GRIN, sorry, I can't help myself sometimes) how should you structure your life and personal philosophy?

Have an OK day.

©Mark Mehlmauer 2016

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