For me it is the taste of the first shaved ice of the season, which is usually coconut flavor. It is also, singing a song with my family, and dancing in my seat on a long road trip. Best yet, it is a nice quietly romantic night with my wife, without the kids. Pleasure. Pleasure is the gratification of being pleased. In other words, pleasure describes the feeling we get from the things we like. Pastor Iran Pitre gave me the best perspective on this by saying, we don’t have control over the things we like. We just experience them, by feeling, tasting, smelling, seeing, or hearing, and it pleased us.
The “Pleasure Principle”, as part of Freudian psychoanalysis, is the instinctive drive to pursue pleasure and avoid pain. Most of us find this instinct at play in most of our lives, and in just about every area of our lives. In our culture, we live by the philosophy, if it makes you feel good, do it. We have allowed the principle of pleasure to emerge as the principal force in our lives.
However, what makes us human is the ability to reason. We have the capacity to weigh options and to sensibly discern what is good or bad, or right or wrong. This is a gift from God, and it is the reason we have dominion on this planet (well …. that and opposable thumbs). If you allow yourself to be driven solely by the instinct to pursue pleasure, you make yourself just another dimwitted animal. Pleasure doesn’t always lead to happiness.
Instead of the pleasure principle, we should pursue the peace principle. I believe the peace principle is the reasonable ability to pursue peace and avoid confusion or chaos. There are plenty of times when, if we had only stopped ourselves long enough to evaluate the situation, we would have NOT pursued some pleasures, because they only brought us grief. You have the ability to willfully pursue peace, and it is peace that will consistently make you a lot more happy than pleasure will.
Peace will always be more beneficial than pleasure, because of itself, pleasure is empty. If you let pleasure drive you, it will often lead you on a road to nowhere. But peace, on the other hand, will consistently lead you on a road of contentment, satisfaction, and joy. Pleasure in the moment can bring misery in the future, just ask the kid who ate too much candy. But peace with yourself, peace with others, and peace with God will ultimately bring peace of mind. Peace of mind will keep you happy.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them (and pursue peace), may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them (by only pursuing pleasure), will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:24-27, New American Standard Bible).
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“Pleasure Principle” written & produced by Monte Moir. Performed by Janet Jackson. Released 1987