So after yesterday’s dramatics of “will I / won’t I?” I figured today it would be required to put a bit more effort into whatever I wrote. And last year when I kicked this whole thing off I started with a philosophical question of sorts from my friend Glen and it was a fun thing to do. To explore a question that meant a more essay like answer was different from a prompt but still got all my creative juices alive and pumping in a similar manner. So today when I got ready to write I just went in search of “deep” questions and came across a tumblr page with a whole slew of them. Most of them were pretty interesting and I found myself taking a few moments to ponder on each before I picked one I thought I could go on about for a bit.
Is it possible for happiness to exist without sadness? Can someone feel pleasure without ever knowing what pain feels like?
I’m a believer in balance so my simple answer is no. It only makes sense (for me at least) that to have one you must have the other, you don’t have to them at the same time necessarily but one’s life just can’t be a constant stream of happiness/pleasure without any sadness/pain and vice versa. But I like the acknowledgment to the idea that you can’t dispute the two into their categories until you’ve experienced both. Like when you’re a baby and feelings are a thing you can’t really comprehend fully does it all just sort of feel the same until you’ve developed enough to decipher from the two? And at what point to you understand there are “good” and “bad” categories and then how do you figure what goes in which?
And further more when do you begin to realize that emotional pain can be just as hurtful as physical? That an emotional euphoria can feel just as amazing as physical pleasures? Or is it even maybe possible that you can grasp and organize emotional and mental feelings before physical? As adults we translate babies thoughts by things like their laughter and their tears, but are we actually speaking their language and getting it all correctly? And is it possible that babies are feeding off of us to understand things they are confused on? Do they see us enjoying certain food with our moans of pleasure or disliking it with screwed up faces and possibly just mimic us? When they are little and they mostly understand that tears = sad do they believe a person crying of laughter is actually in pain? And if when they finally become old enough to navigate feelings and emotions better do they feel like everything they’ve believed before is a lie? Or is it some beautiful moment where it all makes so much more sense?
Then you have to take into consideration those who think and feel “differently”. We hear about individuals who take an interest or get excited by pain, both physical and emotional, and how does that translate into understanding pleasure? Was it that as an infant they misunderstood what should be pain and what should be pleasure? Or is it simply a chemical imbalance in their brain and bodies that they don’t experience things in “normal” ways. I feel like in trying to word this I come off really horrible and discredit some individuals and their feelings or to say anyone who doesn’t fall under the typical ideas of pain/pleasure are “sick” or bad people and that’s not what I intend to do at all. But it’s a fact some people subscribe to different beliefs of what pain is and what pleasure is and I think it is really valid to try to understand that. How did they come to these conclusions about feelings and emotions and what seems to be the majority of people come to a different one?
Clearly I’ve gone far off topic of the original question but for me that was a very simple one to answer but it spawned this side question. Not to mention there is a spectrum of pain and pleasure both physical and mental and we all can place difference circumstances on the spectrum and where one person places “having kids” can be vastly different from another. But for me personally it still comes down to experiencing both to fully understand either. Not that you must go through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows to properly know either feeling but it helps to have at least dipped a toe into the waters of each to better understand the other.
But obviously I am not the authority or the end-all-be-all of opinions on the matter so what do you guys think? Is it possible to have one without the other? And what are you’re thoughts on the conception of understanding these complex feelings and how we begin to organize and file them into their proper places.