Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pleasure preferences: gentle or intense?

There are two general types of pleasure: gentle or intense.

In a marital relationship, the companion component offers relatively mellow pleasure, while the sexual component is more intense in nature. A stroll along the beach is a calm sort of pleasure, while running is more aggressive. Listening to classical music is subtle, while rock music offers heavy excitment.

Kabbalah compares the tranquil sort of pleasure to water, and the more aggressive form to fire. The former is cool and flowing, the latter is heated and jumpy.

Scientific studies have shown that people have a proclivity for more of one type of pleasure, and may be dissatisfied with the other. This may account for many peoples' need for more extreme activities in order to feel alive.

The biblical archetype for these two kinds of individuals is the story of Jacob and Esau. Jacob is described as one who 'dwells in tents' [that is, prefers the more tranquil pleasure of study and contemplation], whereas Esau is described as 'a man of the field' [a hunter]. Each personality type has it's advantages. It was for this reason that Isaac, their father, wanted to give his blessing to Esau rather than Jacob. Esau is more dynamic, passionate, and energetic.

Often, the two types of personality are incapable of appreciating one another, Typically, the fiery personality views the other as boring; while the water-like personality sees the fiery character as crazy.      

I realize that skateboarding is a fiery activity, one of intense vigour and thrill. I realise that those with a more water-like disposition may consider it to be reckless and risky. They may think skaters are crazy - as I believe bull riders are. This is predictable. Equally as predictable is that skaters will consider many of their enjoyments to be unstimulating, dull, and lifeless...     

The question is not so much, 'Which is better?', but rather, 'which am I?' If fiery people are deprived of constructive outlets for their preferred forms of pleasure, they may resort to less agreeable ways of expressing them...



  1. Whether the sword is pointed outward or inward, it's stll destructive. Rather, the key is to divert Esau's passions and energies into truly constructive pursuits, that are of BENEFIT both to others — and to himself.

  2. Skateboarding brings happiness to many people. It offers: incredible excercise, a great diversion, an opportinuity to socialize, a way to vent tension, a medium to learn about one's self, etc. And when one is happy, it is much easier to fulfill one's duties to others.
    Skateboarding may be a sword for some, but it is definately a medicine for many others.

    A person must know who he is and live the Truth according to his level. People must be realists. Those who ascend into idealism tend to fall - eventually - into cynicism.

  3. All the advantages you listed could be achieved by any number of other sports which don't represent a danger to one's life and wellbeing. So although someone who is emotionally unwell, for example, COULD use skateboarding as a medicine, it is a foolish one to choose. It would be like taking morphine — it provides temporary relief, but it ultimately destroys the body. And certainly, a healthy person who tries to take medicine will only succeed in MAKING himself sick. In a similar vein, a Jacob who tries to pretend he's an Esau will only land himself in trouble. As you said, a person must strive to live the truth on HIS level.