Up@dawn 2.0

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Pain and Pleasure (H1)

Epicurus wanted to argue that the absence of pain was in itself pleasure, that this was the type of life to seek out. While an absence of pain certainly sounds like a good life, it must also be rather boring and dull to the senses. An argument could be made that the painful experiences we come across in life are some of the most enriching and the ones we learn the most from. If we remove pain, then we in turn remove these experiences and what they benefit us. Pain itself affords a kind of appreciation for the times in which we are not in pain and gives us a certain clarity when we come across situations similar to those that originally harmed us, whether in a physical, mental, or emotional sense.
On the other side of the coin, one can say that we cannot truly have pleasure without pain, or vice versa. How is one to exist without the other? how does darkness exist without light (being define as the absence of it)? You need pain to experience pleasure and understand when you are experiencing it, so the absence of pain itself could not be pleasure, it would just be dull.
Neither singularly the absence of pain or the presence of pleasure is most important, for neither truly exists without the other. They are both important to really understand the human experience and to gain some kind of meaning and knowledge from life.


  1. I agree with you that the two sensory elements of pain and pleasure are not possible without one another. The first time I read what Epicurus said, I didn't even question it, but I do think your explanation that pleasure can only be experienced in regard to the lack of pain. You cannot truly appreciate pleasure without the experience of it's contrast. However, I do think Epicurus sees it in his way because he was so ill during his life. He was in pain so frequently that I'm sure it decreased his threshold of pleasure by a considerable amount. To him, perhaps the lack of pain was ,in a sense, pleasurable because it was relief from his usual state.

  2. its the whole concept that love and hate are opposite feelings, but really how opposite are they? Pleasure and pain go hand in hand just as love and hate are not completely black and white