Saturday, May 4, 2013

The limits of desire

Roosh and Frost are both in the process of learning that there are limits to a man's ability to enjoy hedonistic pleasure:
Somebody call the CDC. There’s an epidemic of Player Burnout in the air. Edward Thatch, YouSoWould, and Roosh are all contenders for patient zero. I myself recently took a medically-imposed month of vacation from The Game, and I don’t feel like I missed much.

Could it be, fellow gentlemen of ill repute, that our pride- and lust-fueled romp through the wreckage of western civilization is an insufficient means of slaking our manly thirst for purpose in this life? Could there be more to life than the pursuit of our next notch? How often do we even consider the question?

A hungry man cannot imagine a higher purpose than his next meal. The sex and love-starved young men of America cannot imagine a greater goal than woman. But gorge a man on either food or sex, and he will start to see the base and biochemical nature of the pleasure they offer. Roosh spent a decade honing his social skills and traveling the world in search of nubile young babes. He lived the literal dreams of so many men.  Still, he returns to us and tweets: “I’m bored of women.”
This was eminently predictable. It is one of the reasons why I have staunchly insisted that Game is entirely compatible with Christianity, and is, in fact, one small facet of the Christian worldview.

Sin is sweet. But the pleasure one derives from it is fleeting. I threw myself into the pursuit of pleasure with no little abandon and burned out for the first time by 23, at which point I shaved my head, devoted myself to training martial arts six days per week, quit drinking, and refused to have anything to do with women for six months.

Four years later, I became a Christian. Man cannot live as a lotus eater. The same perspicacity and pursuit of truth that caused players like Roosh and Frost to take the red pill will eventually lead them to seek the deeper truths. They are truth seekers, but there is every likelihood that they will become Truth seekers in time.

And while pleasure does not last, joy does. For some, the emptiness of hedonism cannot be grasped until its depths have been thoroughly explored.

59 comments:

Charles said...

I am sure it was Chesterton who said something like "every man with his hand on the door of the brothel is trying to find heaven" -- quote is very loose; In this day John Eldridge ("Wild at Heart") said something to the effect that we are "haunted" by Eve; but that we need to get over her (very very approximate quote) in order take our wound to God and get it healed, and thus become men (again, loose paraphrasing).

retrophoebia said...

Player burnout. This. I'm not a hedonist per se (as I'd much rather find a woman, a companion, to really enjoy the world with than a ONS or even a few-month-lay) but thus far the absence of such a one has caused me to go to a substitute good (pursuit and pleasure). It's exhausting, mentally, financially, and emotionally, but at the same time it's at least an active posture. I recall the saying "A good plan executed violently now is better than a perfect plan too late". So I continue to be out and seeking although it's not my preferred state.

Matthew King, of all people, had a great comment on this point some months (years?) ago. He said something to the effect that the lifestyle and mindset of game, even successful game, will fail its practitioner when he needs it most. That is to say, after all the hedonism, without a larger purpose, it's still a fundamentally empty pursuit and so when the Player is really trying to find something real, he won't have the capacity or ability to do so. That's what's worrisome about the mental framing of a lot of contemporary game.

It's probably called "being jaded."

Pieter said...

Thanks.

Beefy Levinson said...

Truth cannot contradict truth. Either the principles of Game are objectively true or objectively false. If they're true then there can be no real incompatibility with Christianity. There can only be a contradiction with Christianity in how we use those principles. The way I put it to my Churchian friends is, "Women too were affected by Original Sin." That alone helped some of them along the road of knocking down the pedestals.

St. Augustine was one of the greatest players of his day before he converted to Christianity. I sometimes wonder if Roissy, Roosh, et. al., will have a conversion experience before the end. I hope so.

tz said...

I think both epicurian and the asian tantric schools are about burning out.

But it requires getting burned to get burned out.

In this world, there are two transcendent things and expressions of power: sex (which used to represent liffe) and death. Some seek thrills in harm and killing, often justifying it as defense, but there is bloodlust and bloodporn (e.g. "24") and apparently something which corresponds to masturbation.

What most want is something transcendent but amoral, or practically so. Pantheism or Gnosticism. They will seek the spiritual, but they will find not merely beauty and truth, but goodness, and they will not be good. What often happens is they become spiritual (as in -ism) and refuse to see God because the path is narrow and there are thorns.

Even "christians" stumble some even to the point where they keep the name but deny most of Christ't teachings - note the churches that are now feminized so preach that, and they preached slavery when that was popular, and accept every fad without evaluating it. But you know a tree by its fruit.

Stickwick said...

The Christian faith has codified the wisdom that pleasure-seeking is a zero-sum game; every moment of pleasure in life is purchased with an equal moment of pain. One of the great failures of humanism is the exaltation of the vain attempt to defeat this overarching law of biological existence, which is why depression and other functional disorders are rampant in humanist societies.

There are only two directions in which a libertine can go once he reaches burnout: 1) continuation, followed by mental illness and self-destruction; or 2) the realization that pleasure-seeking is pointless, followed by the adoption of an austere philosophy.

tz said...

The same perspicacity and pursuit of truth that caused players like Roosh and Frost to take the red pill ...

They might have been persuing sex. For that the Red Pill is sweet. But it is also like an antibiotic. You either keep taking the Red Pill to kill off every lie, or they become resistant.

Christians have a megadose, but can return to the blue pill. A lot of it are the "incomvenient" teachings that aren't immediate or obvious, but joy and happiness follow obedience - that is how the 10 commandments begins, ... out of the house of slavery...

Finding God is a choice, but so is every step in the ascent. Each verse can be rationalized - the intelligent can't see the truth, only the humble. The meek shal inherit the earth, the wayward the wind, the unrepentant, fire. Game is the mirror image. What about marriage? Divorce? Headship and submission? Contraception and NFP?

Flannel Avenger said...

This post could have been pulled straight from the pages of Ecclesiastes.

To borrow some other of Solomon's wisdom, there's nothing new under the sun.

tz said...

Pleasure seeking is NOT zero sum if there is nothing beyond this life. Enjoy until you can't, then drink the Hemlock. That is another possible fate of the seekers if they seek pleasure and not truth.

rofl said...

Roosh and his hedonistic sexual predatorism has reached its limits. He has his soul to worry about...

Ivan Poland said...

I am happily married but I use Game nearly everyday at the office as well as with my wife. What I have learned here and at other Game sites have given me better insight on how to deal with sh!t tests women throw at you. I never was a player per se but I can see what Vox is saying and I agree.

stg58/Animal Mother said...

Someone said it is easier to be a stud for a woman who only knows you for one night, but much harder to sustain that for one woman for the rest of your life, who sees you at your best and worst. That is the real challenge, to be an authentic Man 24/7, not just a facade that gets you laid.

Stickwick said...

Pleasure seeking is NOT zero sum if there is nothing beyond this life.

Let me know when you find a cure for a hangover.

wwoeiru said...

"St. Augustine was one of the greatest players of his day before he converted to Christianity."

You're probably thinking of St. Francis of Assisi. Augustine was more like an average American today. He was a teacher who had a live in girlfriend and a son out of wedlock.

woeur said...

St. Francis was a charismatic, partying son of a successful merchant. He probably had a lot of native game. He went on to lead a very austere life and found the Order of Friars Minor.

woeur said...

Here's a famous poem St. Francis wrote and I'm also trying to figure out how to make a links:

<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canticle_of_the_Sun>The Canticle of the Sun</a>

woeru said...

didn't work oh well

Sensei said...

"And while pleasure does not last, joy does."

And it does so defiantly.

Jacob Ian Stalk said...

"Game is entirely compatible with Christianity, and is, in fact, one small facet of the Christian worldview"

Game does appear to be a facet of the Christian world view. If that's true, it'd be as compatible with Christianity as the elevation of women and other worldly pastimes.

Leap of a Beta said...

I think you see this in every kind of hedonistic lifestyle - be it women, video games, television addiction, food, work, etc.

Anything you escape into you lose yourself within.

Finding myself after finding the red pill has taken a lot of doing. I had to stop reading sci-fi/fantasy because I personally used it as a way to escape. I had to stop playing video games. I had to stop drinking as much. I had to stop hanging out with many of my friends because they'd reinforce one of these behaviors.

Now, when I read, I read to find myself. Classical literature. When I drink it is to relax into a good discussion rather than into a drunken good time. And I still avoid video games where there's not a specific end to it - I stick with 'rounds' or competition games because they both have an ending and quickly begin to bore me after I've released any tension.

It's not that these are hedonistic or sinful in and of themselves - I simply lived my life from the end of high school through my mid 20's losing myself in those pursuits. I'm not going to do so again.

Beau said...

Leap of a Beta's comments are well worth consideration by any man.

We are not free until we surrender to Heaven.

asdf said...

This is the same thing every young woman says. I'm X years old, so I'm going to have fun. I'll sleep with a few guys, binge drink a few times, and they land a guy in my mid 20s when I shape up.

That's hardly Christian. We criticize women who miss the window and end up spinsters, but their successful sisters are no different. And from a purely Christian perspective neither were the men (who exactly where they experimenting with during their experimentation phases).

Bob Wallace said...

It has been noticed for thousands of years, running in the West back to the Greeks and the Bible, that those who devoted their lives to physical pleasure become degraded. I have seen these several times in the lives in what the Lost Boys of the Manosphere call Alphas.

By the way, Alpha refers to canines, specifically the parents.

If you transfer that to humans, the closest to an Alpha is the patriarch of his family.

A said...

Leap of a Beta is spot on. I too escaped into television and video games in my teens and early twenties, and I find that I can barely do either anymore without quickly feeling an intense urge that I am wasting my time. I didn't start reading intensely until my mid-20s, and reading is a means and end that I can deal with for the rest of my life. Spending three hours leveling up a character does nothing for me anymore, nor would a killstreak do anything.

I don't even view sex with my wife as pleasure in the same way I viewed it before being married, but rather a way to express a different level of intimacy that one cannot find in a ONS.

Doom said...

At points through that life, taking breaks just makes sense. It is akin to playing one, any, game you have mastered. At some point there just isn't anything new to it. The cynicism about love and bonding sets in.

As the Godless do, everything possible is tested. Once you realize that they are set up to lose you simply hotwire their brains to fight your battles. You collect their eggs, then split. You start thinking, if you didn't start out, that sex and love are the same thing. Bonding becomes impossible. You keep looking for that one that can resist, rightly. None can, do. If some of that may have to do with your chosen hunting grounds? You even begin trying to chase them away with cruelty and bitterness, and by that point, and that you can't play to lose, you just get softer butter. Bleh.

Different name, day, rinse and repeat.

In her smile folly,
In her thighs, thoughts, only you-
Over and over, same.

I still hope to recover, maybe see past it and find a wife. But I will always know the truths. I suppose, hope, once one of them puts out some kids I know are mine, things might turn around. Just woke from a dream about it all. Great sex, lousy life. Not because I was wrong, or right, or they are what they are, mostly just that the truth sometimes sucks.

Ian Ironwood said...

Gentlemen, I would argue that Mssrs. Frost, Roosh, et. al. are merely approaching the end of their Puerarchy/MGTOW phase and are now looking at the advantages of a more mature masculinity.

That's not a "step back", it's a natural progression of a man's worldview that's brought along by age, wisdom and experience. The Puerarchy is eternal, but it isn't forever. And that's . . . OK.

Of course I approach this from a Pagan, not Christian perspective, but there comes a time in a man's life when he realizes "Y'know, they're all pink on the inside and none of them gave me superpowers" and he either devotes his life to more solitary pursuits or seeks a woman of quality. Either way is a legitimate road to a mature masculinity.

And hey, if you want to stay in the Puerarchy forever, by all means, pump and dump until you're 80. The more women know that men are willing to blow them off as a gender, the better all of our negotiating positions become.

YouSoWould said...

Love your work, but the day I end up turning to a belief in the supernatural to find meaning in life is the day I consider that I've spectacularly failed to do so... Each to their own.

Atheistic spirituality is providing me some sort of perspective of late. I'm just more content to "be" than to continually be questioning everything all of the time, and consequently I'm much more focussed and relaxed simultaneously.

Loki of Asgard said...

I'm just more content to "be" than to continually be questioning everything all of the time, and consequently I'm much more focussed and relaxed simultaneously.

Slouching is much more comfortable than standing upright, in the short term.

Stickwick said...

Atheistic spirituality

What in the world is atheist spirituality?

Carlotta said...

There is a sadness in the posts that they write. Yes, they have had their blindness lifted in that they realize that women are not divine, but they still have a need for the divine. We are both fallen. The pursuit they are in never ends in joy.

I pray they come to Christ. Stranger things have happened and stranger men have. I hope Christians who know them will encourage them on that path and it helps to see Godly Men who are manly as well.

There is another option and I hope they find it. Men hit a wall too and it is just as ugly.

Eric Mueller said...

I wondered what happened to Edward Thatch. The same day he published that "Why Christian Men Don't Deserve Virgins" post, his Internet persona vanished. His (pseudonym) Twitter Account disappeared, and his ROK profile says he died under the weight of his own massive ego.

bobert said...

Pleasure, like anything else, can be enjoyed to the Glory of God, but *only within the limits* that our Creator placed around it.

God did create many pleasurable activities (like sex) - He also put 'walls' around them that constrain our pursuit of such. Regarding sex, that wall is called marriage.

This ties into a very interesting metaphor that Chesterton brought up - since someone already mentioned Chesterton here, I will bring up his other metaphor regarding religion and pleasure.

To paraphrase him (well more like summarize actually), he said that faith does put limits on man's pursuit of pleasure, but those limits are like the walls of a playground situated on a cliff. They do not restrain real pleasure, they do not prevent real freedom. They serve to prevent us from overstepping boundaries that we really should not cross - freedom to transgress the boundaries of the wall and over the cliff is not real freedom. One may chafe at the wall hemming one in, but it is there to enable true and real enjoyment of pleasure. A playground on a cliff with no wall would be far less enjoyable and bring more hazard than pleasure.

The wall is there for our own good, and when obeyed properly, enables us to fully realize pleasures.

And in any event, this is a fallen world, so we don't always get to enjoy the pleasures that our Creator intended for us at the Beginning, and even when we do, we can fail to glorify Him properly, and willfully transgress the walls that He put there for our own good.

Unknown said...

"Let me know when you find a cure for a hangover. "

Amphetamines. You may not like the source of the cure, but it does work.

Anonymous said...

As a 50-something man: eventually you figure out that all the things in life that are worthwhile, don't happen overnight - whether it's a life, child, family or friendship.

And so wasting time on trivial pursuits (computer games, women you'll never see again, TV, etc.) is exactly that: wasting time.

While agnostic, I have observed that Christianity helps provide a framework for a better-lived life, and the Bible examples of it.

Denton said...

A very appropriate post for the Orthodox celebration of Pascha...

Markku said...

Or you could double down on depravity, the Fight Club way.

After all, Satan has a competing offer....

Stickwick said...

"Let me know when you find a cure for a hangover. "

Amphetamines. You may not like the source of the cure, but it does work.


That's not a cure, that's temporary avoidance. And while we're at it, let me know when you find a cure for the post-amphetamine let-down.

If this approach to seeking pleasure and avoiding pain actually worked, people like Keith Richards wouldn't look like death warmed over by the age of 40.

bobert said...

The Christian faith has codified the wisdom that pleasure-seeking is a zero-sum game; every moment of pleasure in life is purchased with an equal moment of pain.

Not disputing this necessarily, but where are the Scriptural references for this?

Clearly Christianity instructs us not to follow a path of empty hedonism, but I can't think of any verses that list all pleasure and all pain as a zero-sum game.

For some (irresponsible) pleasures this is undeniably true - I would actually argue that the pain of sinful pleasures tends to far exceed their pleasure in both time and intensity.

But is this true for (responsible) pleasures?

Matt said...

Let me know when you find a cure for a hangover.

It exists and it's easy. Learn the point at which another drink will mean a hangover, and quit drinking two or three drinks before that.

I don't suppose this advice fits the hedonist lifestyle very well though.

Beefy Levinson said...

"Let me know when you find a cure for a hangover. "

A prairie oyster usually does the trick for me.

earl said...

Lust burns you out...love keeps the flames going forever.

Stickwick said...

Not disputing this necessarily, but where are the Scriptural references for this?

It's indirect, but it's there. First of all, don't misunderstand me -- I'm not claiming the Bible says all pleasure is bad; but the Christian lifestyle as prescribed in Scripture says that we are to enjoy pleasurable things in moderation and in the proper context. There are Scriptural passages advising us not to drink to drunkenness, not to engage in fornication, not to indulge in overeating, to name a few. But, if you think about it, why shouldn't we just indulge all of our desires? Is God arbitrary with his rules? Does he want us to obey just for the sake of obeying or is there a valid reason why, say, sticking vast quantities of donuts into our faces should be considered immoral? The reason is that the Bible encapsulates the wisdom that the pursuit of pleasure is a hollow one. You feel pleasure, you'll pay for it with displeasure. You eat a dozen donuts, you feel like crap and get fat. There is nothing to be gained, because there is no lasting material gain in this world. This hollow pursuit distracts from fruitful pursuits, like our spiritual relationship with God and other people.

It exists and it's easy. Learn the point at which another drink will mean a hangover, and quit drinking two or three drinks before that.

That's prevention, not a cure.

Is this concept really all that difficult to understand? Seriously, folks. Think of any long-term drug addict or alcoholic you know, and I'll bet you a dollar that they look "rode hard and put away wet." If pleasure isn't acquired at a price, then people who overindulge in pleasurable things would all be the picture of health and super-happy.

earl said...

Crazier conversions have happened.

St. Paul killed a lot of Christians and then after his conversion he basically spread the church like wildfire.

earl said...

I always took conversion that Jesus knew talent when he saw it.

Anonymous said...

<52-year-old> As an older man I'd like to suggest to these "masters of game" that few pleasures in life are as fulfilling and long-lasting as marrying a good woman, and raising children with her. The real way to "win" the game of life is to have raised successful children, IMHO. It does sadden me to see smart, articulate men who just don't get around to having children.

Anonymous said...

Technically, spiritual atheism would be Buddhism. (Or could be. Buddha did not speak on the matter.)

Beau said...

few pleasures in life are as fulfilling and long-lasting as marrying a good woman, and raising children with her.

A hearty Amen.

Having known many friends who've blown up their lives, then found Jesus, I can say with confidence the repentant who turn back to God can still know the great joy of Christian marriage and family.

bobert said...

but the Christian lifestyle as prescribed in Scripture says that we are to enjoy pleasurable things in moderation and in the proper context.

Sounds like we are saying the same thing then.

There are Scriptural passages advising us not to drink to drunkenness, not to engage in fornication, not to indulge in overeating, to name a few.

True. But I still don't see how this implies that *any* pleasure, no matter how in line with God's Directives, is automatically countermanded by an equal pain - maybe I just have reading comprehension issues, but that seems to be what you are saying. My take on it is that when you go outside God's boundaries, long term pain exceeds the short term pleasure, and when you follow his boundaries, the pleasure itself does not have some sort of 'commesurate pain follow-up'. Of course, due to this fallen world screwing stuff up, pain could still follow, but it is not some cosmic or divine law.

But, if you think about it, why shouldn't we just indulge all of our desires? Is God arbitrary with his rules? Does he want us to obey just for the sake of obeying or is there a valid reason why, say, sticking vast quantities of donuts into our faces should be considered immoral?

If God said to do it, we should, arbitrary or no. But as I exposited on above, the rules He puts in are walls that prevent us from taking pleasure outside of it's intended boundaries, to our own hurt.

The reason is that the Bible encapsulates the wisdom that the pursuit of pleasure is a hollow one.

Do you actually mean "pursuit of pleasure above other more important things, or as the sole goal of life (aka hedonism)" - as opposed to the pursuit of any pleasure, at any time?

You feel pleasure, you'll pay for it with displeasure. You eat a dozen donuts, you feel like crap and get fat. There is nothing to be gained, because there is no lasting material gain in this world. This hollow pursuit distracts from fruitful pursuits, like our spiritual relationship with God and other people.

Again - the 'pain counterbalance' to the pleasure you list above is based on its' abuse, not its' use.

Sorry for being so pedantic - it just seems that you are advancing a theory that *any pleasure* is *always* met with an *opposing pain*. Kind of like a Spiritual Newton's 3rd law of motion...well you are a physicist after all... :-P

bobert said...

As a quick followup, this is the quote from Stickwick that motivated the above post

every moment of pleasure in life is purchased with an equal moment of pain. One of the great failures of humanism is the exaltation of the vain attempt to defeat this overarching law of biological existence

I don't see how one can make the case that every pleasure always has a painful follow up. As I mentioned above, it seems that sinful pleasure has a far more painful followup, and that non-sinful pleasure generally does not, barring of course the machinations of this fallen world.

Anonymous said...

If you think joy lasts, you just don't know how hard the path really is. You think you're all going to heaven but you live and act as if it doesn't matter. You are depending on forgiveness, and in life that's when it's least likely to be granted.

As for puas, they first thought love would be their salvation, then they thought pussy would be. Now they're lost.

Markku said...

I don't think it's a one to one relationship between individual moments of joy or sadness, like karmic law. Rather, it's a phenomenon of reverse hysteresis. The soul is trying to calibrate its normal state to the midpoint between highs and lows. If it is put in an environment that provides an unusually large amounts of either, the calibration goes wrong in relation to a normal environment. Returning it there will then bias the normal state in the opposite direction for quite some time.

Mart said...

Pick-Up Artists like the ones getting "bored with women" and the "community" as a whole face a new challenge. Here's how I'd lay it out:

The PUA movement has always demonstrated two major characteristics: cynicism and arrogance. The cynicism is justified in many ways because of the feminized culture we are surrounded by, the misandric legal system, the socialism and political correctness everywhere you turn. It's also justified because once learned and practiced, game turns women into easy prey and objectifies them even more than we ever did before. However, the arrogance that is so very apparent in PUA discussion is really just plain ugly and unbecoming. I would suggest that this is because the "community" of PUA's is predominantly guys in their 20's and perhaps their early 30's at most. You guys are picking up 20-something girls, rarely older, and many times younger, and are finding out - duh - that these girls are boring to talk to after sex. Women this age are technically and legally women, but in reality they are just girls. They know very little and have nothing interesting to say. As such, you yourselves know nothing - or very little. Your game "skill" consists of tricking silly idiot girls into dropping their panties. While clever - and a very interesting phenomenon in the history of sex and culture that has not yet gotten the recognition it deserves as a positive development (as opposed to, say, the disease of feminism,) this is only the beginning for those guys who have the imagination to take game further....

Mart said...

...What I have rarely, if ever, seen in PUA discussion is humility - the opposite of arrogance. It is one of the finest attributes a person can possess, and it affords one strength and wisdom the predominantly 20-30 something typical PUA male can only guess at. Perhaps this is what Roosh and Frost are experiencing right now.

The challenge now is to evolve game so as to attract a woman who is GOOD. Not just a 7, 8, 9 or 10, or who is great in bed, but who is inherently GOOD and is a woman worth knowing more and giving more back to.

While you PUA's have been operating in all the London's, Paris'es, Prague's and New York's of the world, picking up ditzes whose reason for being there is to be met and whisked off her feet by "the one" - a weak-willed concept that seems to have evolved in parallel to feminism - GOOD women who have been raised with alpha fathers and GOOD mothers are out there, but probably mostly not in the city and mostly not vulnerable to PUA's because they were taught from an early age - and know better. They look for a man of virtue, honor, humility, strength and character - just like their brothers and their father.

It's overdue time for this interesting but tired PUA movement to move on to greater challenges. Sure - the overall effect is positive in that men in general need to wake up to their beta-ness and women need to not be so precious. But these guys experiencing "burnout" are showing how shallow the psychological trick they've learned is over time. When it comes down to it there is more to life than fucking a new girl every day of the week. Get that out of your system - (or masturbate like an Olympian for years) and eventually you end up realizing that what the Beatles said was true: "Love is all there is". You 20-somethings think you are immortal and nothing can harm you, but sooner or later you are 50 or 60 or 70 years old and if you have nobody in your life to love or who loves you are going to be a very sad, bitter, lonely soul.

Game needs to be developed so that it makes the man himself better, as well as raising the game for the women. As well as an "art of seduction" technique it should perhaps add further stages such as tests of character. And as such, that would require the man, the proponent himself to possess the character to judge. Some of you, many of you seem to have turned to Christianity for some reason as a way to evolve. Personally I just read Kipling's "If" every so often, many times a year and it serves to put me in my place. I think it applies to a woman as well as it does to a man.

Stickwick said...

Sorry for being so pedantic - it just seems that you are advancing a theory that *any pleasure* is *always* met with an *opposing pain*. Kind of like a Spiritual Newton's 3rd law of motion

Yes, that's precisely what I mean. This isn't the venue to get too deeply into this, but very briefly, here is how to derive, for lack of a better term, Newton's Third Law for Human Behavior:

1. Start with the principle of homeostasis. The human organism must simultaneously maintain physical and chemical balances within relatively narrow biological limits. This is totally uncontroversial.

2. The next principle is that every experience we have results in a physical / chemical change to the body. Even something as mundane as looking at an object results in a change to the body; light causes chemical changes in the rods and cones that make up the retina. Again, not at all controversial.

3. Things get interesting when we derive NTLfHB syllogistically from the first two principles. If an organism must stay the same to survive but has to change in order to have experiences, then everything that happens to a human results in an equal but opposite reaction by the human organism.

This is why we have hangovers. This is why people who drink coffee feel more lethargic without it than people who never drink coffee. This is why people get addicted to heroin -- they cannot stand the opposite feeling that comes after the drug euphoria. This is why people later feel agitated and paranoid after using marijuana to feel calm. This is why Ritalin -- a stimulant -- acts to calm people down. This is why successful PUAs burn out on women after a time. Every high results in a low; but the opposite is also true: every low results in a high. The benefit of understanding this law of human behavior is that you can store up potential to experience pleasure by doing things that are displeasurable, like exerting yourself physically and abstaining from women for a time.

We are not meant to be ascetics, eschewing all pleasure; but we are meant to regulate our experience of it. I do not claim that the Bible explains any of this; it merely codifies it into a system of behavior that prevents physical and emotional burnout by the endless pursuit of pleasure. This is one reason devoutly religious people tend to be healthier and happier than non-religious people.

KG said...

Stickwick, another example of your thesis in real life:

my father suffers from mental disorders. He was diagnosed with bi-polar, manic depressive, schizophrenia, etc. We've come to recognize precisely when he will experience an episode of deep depression - it always follows a period of manic, where he is on top of the world.


As far as the limits of desire goes, i've seen this firsthand. I used to work with a couple of guys whose main pursuit in life was to sleep with as many women as possible. One of them admitted to me at one point that he was becoming increasingly unhappy with his way of life and that it did not bring him the fulfillment he'd hoped for. Another guy told me I had what they all secretly wanted: A solid marriage to a really good woman. I was never once jealous of their sexual conquests. I know it didn't bring them happiness.

ray said...

It is one of the reasons why I have staunchly insisted that Game is entirely compatible with Christianity, and is, in fact, one small facet of the Christian worldview


your Staunchness and Insistence means doodly squat

Christianity was defined by Christ, that's why it's not called Voxianity, and you dont get to add your vanities and schemes to it at personal pleasure

if you want Game as subset of Christianity, then start your OWN religion, well obviously youve a good start on that! lol

(ok, time for Outraged Reactions from his disciples)

bobert said...

Yes, that's precisely what I mean. This isn't the venue to get too deeply into this, but very briefly, here is how to derive, for lack of a better term, Newton's Third Law for Human Behavior:

1. Start with the principle of homeostasis. The human organism must simultaneously maintain physical and chemical balances within relatively narrow biological limits. This is totally uncontroversial.

2. The next principle is that every experience we have results in a physical / chemical change to the body. Even something as mundane as looking at an object results in a change to the body; light causes chemical changes in the rods and cones that make up the retina. Again, not at all controversial.

3. Things get interesting when we derive NTLfHB syllogistically from the first two principles. If an organism must stay the same to survive but has to change in order to have experiences, then everything that happens to a human results in an equal but opposite reaction by the human organism.


You are assuming that pleasure and pain are exact opposites, existing on a single axis. So if I get '+40 pleasure points' and must in general maintain a 'pleasure state' of 0, then at some point I must experience '-40 pleasure' to return the zero.

But pleasure and pain form a 2-d cartesian coordinate system. You can experience both, or neither. Even if I am at coordiniates (40,0) [pleasure,pain] and I must return to the origin, this does not mean that I had to experience pain - aka a movement of (0,-40) - I had a movement of (-40,0) - aka the pleasure subsided.

The 'pleasure axis' returning to the origin, aka the pleasure receding back to the norm, or even a state of diminished pleasure, is not the same thing as pain.

@KG
Stickwick, another example of your thesis in real life:

my father suffers from mental disorders. He was diagnosed with bi-polar, manic depressive, schizophrenia, etc. We've come to recognize precisely when he will experience an episode of deep depression - it always follows a period of manic, where he is on top of the world.


Not to sound like a jerk but by definition a mental disorder means that things are not operating how they should - hardly a basis by which one can extrapolate to the general operational case.

Markku said...

Perhaps the brain, which is geared for caveman survival, is constantly asking "should I be content in these circumstances?" If it is experiencing constant abundance, then eventually it will answer "no". Such a situation can only be because it is in an abundant environment, and there are other cavemen there, constantly plotting against you. They have the same resources. Soon they will bash your skull in if you don't do better than them.

If on the other hand you experience constant poverty and want, then it's probably a famine. Other caveman are in the same circumstances. Better start treating this as the new normal, lest you get apathetic and they come and bash your skull in.

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