The idea that pleasure can be our innate guide to good health involves no exaggeration or stretch of the imagination. This concept is based on scientific facts and will stand up to the strictest scrutiny. The exhortation to learn what pleasure is and how to incorporate it into our lives is an ebullient call to return to good health and happiness.
Following the path of natural pleasure works because it leads people to find pleasure in all aspects of life. The big question is how do you make pleasure the foundation of a happy and healthy life? To accomplish this, you need to know yourself, know your body and understand what are the obstacles in the way to living a pleasurable life.
Life seeks out pleasure. Pleasure involves reaching out to the world. A pleasurable life is robust, challenging, happy, flowing and healthy. Our own biology will lead us to health-promoting pleasurable activities if we pay attention to what our senses and emotions are telling us. The healthiest people are pleasure-loving, pleasure-seeking and, most importantly, pleasure-creating people.
When all the senses are in play, we can fully relish everything that Life offers us. Pleasure as a guide to healthy living does not imply a "one size fits all" prescription or approach to life. Healthy, pleasure-creating people don't follow fads, formulas or other people's prescriptions for living. They create their own lives. For such people, pleasure is a guide to rediscovering that unbridled enthusiasm within and using it to create a rich, rewarding life at home, at work, at play, in school and in intimate relationships.
We are built for pleasure. Pleasure boosts the immune system, strengthens the heart, helps ward off depression and anxiety, and provides many more benefits to physical and mental health. In a society in which most of us do not receive even our “Minimum Daily Requirement” of pleasure, is it of no surprise that few of us live a happy and healthy life?
When pleasure is the guide, the whole person is taken into account. There is as much emphasis placed on how a person feels about what he or she is doing as on what the person is doing. Basically, any activity must be pleasurable to achieve maximum effect.
There is a continuum of pleasure in life that involves all the senses and all the systems of the body. From the pleasure that results from the relief of pain, through the wide variety of emotional and physical pleasures life offers, to the intense pleasures of sexual love, health entails incorporating the full spectrum of pleasure into one's life. By adding natural pleasures to daily life, each person can fulfill his or her pleasure potential.
Those who allow pleasure to be their guide experience excitement, enthusiasm and inspiration. They find that repeated exposure to pleasure softens their hard edges, makes them more resilient, flexible, generous, altruistic and empathetic. Many daily activities enhance pleasure in life.
Pleasure is the key to health and a pleasurable life is achievable by all of us. Exploration, discovery, adventure, variety and excitement are basics in a life guided by pleasure. They are all part of feeling alive and satisfied. Each person needs gratification in life to be healthy. And, when we are gratified, we also tend to be more empathetic, loving and caring. Pleasure opens people to a world of delights and human relationships they may not even yet have dreamed of. Once they experience what this new world has to offer, they will want to keep coming back for more.
Pyrrhus of Epirus (died 272 B.C.), was a king with a lust for conquest. He set out from his little state of Epirus, Greece, to conquer the world. As was the style at the time he took not only warriors with him but cultivated men to discourse with. One of these men was Cyneas, a wise man who occasion to speak of Epicurus and his philosophy, which places chief happiness of man in pleasure and declining public affairs as a disturbance of a happy life.
Plutarch in his Life of Pyrrhus* records one of the conversations between Pyrrhus and Cyneas:
Philosphic inquiry took two distinct approaches in searching truth. The first one recognized the precedence of nature and the second of logic.The natural approach took the lead in the course of time through Thales and later with Democritus, but it suffered a recession by the revolutionary teaching of Socrates, Plato and partly of Aristotle, who gave precedence to logic and its ideas. Soon though the theory of Platonic ideas was abandoned and the tradition of Ionian science of Thales was reviving supported by Epicurus and Aristotle who in the later part of his life turned to the study of biology.
This historic evolution of philosophical thought had the immediate effect to create a competition between Nature and Reason for the command of philosophic attention. Epicurus the last of the eminent philosophers of antiquity denied the existence of Platonic ideas on the ground that the only existences were atoms and empty space. Thus to his thinking man stood face to face with physical reality primarily through his senses and secondary through his logic. For if we assume that a human being has been deprived of all his five senses, this is tantamount to death and the person has ceased to be a rational creature; the possession of sensation (and additionally of feeling and anticipation) seems to be construed as antecedent to rational activity.