The Pleasure in Pain
June 1, 2009
is sometimes addictive.
It’s been two years since science figured out that dopamine is responsible for instigating both pleasure and pain. But I guess we humans understood that in some level perhaps even before we could put it into words.
I had my first heartbreak was when I was about 8 or 9. I distinctly remember the feeling as a spear piercing my heart again and again, but I also remember that I craved the feeling much more than love itself. Well, perhaps as equally as love.
I played professional basketball for awhile after I left school, and I remember every ounce of the physical pain that we all endured; 1000 skips a day, 100 pushups, 200 situps, 200 crunches, and a whole heap of running on the beach. We waged war with our bodies for profit and principle, but we endured the pain for its pleasure.
I had a part time lover who was also an athlete. And at times I wondered whether she was testing me or whether she really was into these fantasies of non-consent.
It’s hard to tell really, whether we enjoy the pain, or whether we enjoy the “high” that is left afterwards. The universe divides itself whenever there are two poles. We feel happiness better if we know unhappiness. We feel intense joy, if we are aware of the condition of depression. A simple unadulterated glass of water feels like heaven if we put our bodies through hell before drinking it.
So I don’t know. Is it pain that I crave? Or is the pleasure that comes afterwards?