Sunday, May 30, 2004

The Price of Pleasure

The Price of Pleasure

Sometimes we don't exactly know why we behave the way we do. Our behaviour is guided by in-born tendencies and past experiences--both painful and pleasurable ones. We often do not have time to reflect on every of our word or action--they just happen instinctively.

Only in the aftermath of our actions and with the clarity of hindsight are we able to attempt to decipher the inner motives and the underlying principles behind them. I am fond of using my daily blogging sessions for such a purpose.

After more than a year of blogging consistently, I realised from all my cyber-meditations that many of my actions are based on a few simple principles (one might even say that these principles are even a bit simplistic). I'll discuss one of them here, with the hope that I can further unravel its inner meaning--if there's any at all.

The principle which I am referring to is this: Everything comes with a price.

Yes, even though this is a bit of a cliche but I think I tend to push this principle to its very extreme. I see almost everything that happens in this world in its sober terms. This principle is nothing but a corollary to the axiomatic Law of Karma which I've referred to either directly or indirectly in so many previous entries: Pain and pleasure comes bundled in equal proportions--pain is the price that one has to pay for the pleasure that one chooses.

What is the price that we have to pay for all the pleasures in this world? Money, time and energy. It is usually a combination of all three. There is no free lunch. If something doesn't cost you a single cent, then it'll cost you a hell lot of time and energy.

For example, if a married man fools around outside with other women, he has to pay heavily in all three departments. True, he could be rich and can afford to throw money around; but he'll still have to spend a lot of mental energy keeping his affairs secret from his family and possibly even his friends too.

He'll have to pretend and lie a lot. The cost of maintaining a lie is a very high one because every lie needs to be supported by a hierarchy of other lies. One misstep, and the whole structure falls.

And because time is finite--there's only 24 hours in a day--work and family will suffer. The man will probably also have to sacrifice his hobbies--could be golf, could be reading--just to be with his lover. Well, I can understand the pleasure, but the extra-marital affair would end up consuming all his time and energy.

If a man is undeterred by its hefty price, then by all means enjoy philandering! In my universe, there's no right or wrong--only the price that one is willing to pay. I like to observe other people's investment portfolios--how they choose to invest their money, time and energy--too see what pleasurable returns they get out of them.

Like many business organizations, we often do not see the hidden cost in things--especially those that are measured in terms of time and energy. We think our energy is inexhaustable. It is not. Everytime we cheat and lie, we have to face the fear of being discovered. Fear saps the mind of its valuable energy. Fear hinders our life severely and forces us to seek convoluted ways to achieve simple things. If we know how to free up all these wasted resources, we can use them to achieve greater things in life.

I know exactly what the pleasures that I seek for in this life. There are many aspects of my life which to other people would be seen as painful--but I am perfectly aware of them. I am willing to live with these pains because they are the very price that I have chosen to pay for the pleasures I seek.

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