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Essay/Term paper: The pleasure principle

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Society

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The Pleasure Principle

The Oxford Dictionary defines pleasure. It is a feeling of satisfaction or joy. It
is enjoyment. It is a source of pleasure or gratification. It is formally a persons will or
desire. Finally they define it as sensual gratification. Now if we put these all together
in one sentence, pleasure is something that brings an overall feeling of satisfaction and
gratification while fulfilling desires. If that doesn"t sound good, what does? We have
already determined that people naturally are drawn to altered states of consciousness.
Its a fact that we are drawn to that which feels altered. It starts at a young age and
hypothetically we realize the world of drugs and their ability to enhance normality by
young adulthood. When we add in the pleasure principle to that already sought out
feeling, you get something that feels so amazing, and is also potentially addictive.
It is important to acknowledge the overpowering seductiveness and appeal of
drugs. Because some drugs directly affect the way that the brain works and operates,
the ecstasy that results can be overwhelming. This is exactly where society comes into
play. If someone can only feel that sort of pleasure from the high of heroin or that
calmness from a cigarette, why would they want to stop? What would their alternative
be? It would be the pain of withdrawal and the numbness that they felt before they
discovered the high. I can only liken my drug theory to a circle, because in reality
there is no one who is really sober. There are things that make us all feel better. It can
range from chocolate to caffeine to crack, but whether it be hard or soft, legal or illicit,
a drug is something that makes us feel something other than "normal". (Not that there
is even a set normality.) The circle theory is that even if you are a heroin addict and
get sober, the likeliness of you finding something else that makes you feel better than
normal is high. It might not be heroin again, but chances are it will be something. It
all comes back to the inherent human nature to find a plane of reality other than this
We remember what feels good to us. It is something that our brain does for us.
Because sex feels good, there is a natural desire to participate. We remember which
foods we like best and how they make us feel when we eat them. It is a system in
which we selectively remember what we like, how it made us feel, and causes the
desire to do it again. Drugs go hand in hand with this theory. Things that are
pleasurable to people are held on to dearly. No one wants to miss something that feels
good, or makes them feel better than just normal. If I could drink a glass of water and
feel pleasurably numb and introspective, I would, instead of smoking pot. The only
thing about that is, I can"t. So when I want to really relax, I do what I remember
relaxes me, and that is marijuana. Its the same anywhere you go. Introspective people
who want to be outgoing in social settings drink alcohol and call it "liquid courage".
They enjoy the feeling of being a little looser and able to talk to people that they might
not have otherwise. I could go on for days about this, but it all would come back to
the same thing. People naturally seek out that which makes them happy, and
happiness is often confused with pleasure.
There are those who still feel that drugs are causing the demise of our society
and that if we could just get everyone off drugs then the world would be peaceful and
happy. What they don"t understand is that the drug problem is social. It is easy to
scapegoat drugs instead of looking at the internal workings of the actual problem. I
found some interesting things on the Internet. In this quote a Reverend talks about
"For some, drugs are simply easier to get than alcohol. (I (Rachel) and going to interject
with this, when did alcohol stop being a drug?) Some attempt to justify their actions by claiming
that marijuana, for example, is a non-addictive, natural herb. Sadly, the current college generation
is ignorant of the tragic lessons learned by their counterparts in the 60's and 70's. Sadly, a new
generation of addicted students are finding they can no longer think, study, stay in school."
I guess this Reverend has never visited UC Santa Cruz"s campus. I think that I
can honestly say that over half of the people I know smoke pot everyday and they are
not what we will call the social description of "addicts". They also do very well in
school and have no problem thinking. I don"t know if it is because of religious
reasons or because he is older, or just ignorant, but the Reverend that is quoted above
makes a gross overstatement about drug use among college students. I would say that
most of the college students use drugs to relax from the pressures of school, and
because they work so hard. Smoking a bowl at the end of the day sounds awfully good
after an arduous afternoon of back to back lectures.
Professor Reinarman talks about how most people don"t progress in drug use.
Marijuana users usually don"t move past marijuana. It is safe to say that it may
because of the other stigmas that surround harder drugs. Marijuana can be considered
a soft drug as compared to Heroin and Cocaine, for various reasons: One is that it is
smoked and not injected or snorted. The study that we talked about in class showed
that there were only three physical effects that marijuana had on the body; the heart
rate when up, the eyes got red, and the mouth got dry. Those were the only effects that
were measured. Yet marijuana still carries a deviant status. It can be considered softer
than many prescription drugs. Personally when I take Vikadin I feel dizzy and
removed. When I smoke pot I feel removed, but I hardly ever feel like I can"t do
something. The way we feel about certain drugs are feelings that are socially
constructed from birth. We learn all these things about hard drugs, but then we are
given numerous prescriptions throughout our lives, and hardly ever told about what
they are, and their internal effects on the body. It seems awfully strange that people
have no qualms about popping a half a dozen pills a day but are against a plant that is
completely natural and contains incredible amounts of medicinal qualities. This is
incredibly connected to the race and class issues that surround drugs in Society as well.
The thing about the Pleasure Principle is that there are problems that go along
with it. Pleasure is certainly addictive, and why not? If something feels good, then we
usually associate it with being good as well. If life isn"t all you thought it was going to
be, and you are poor, or have family problems or are even just bored, a drug that can
take away those feelings is easy to fall deeply into. We live in a society where mass
consumption is the norm. People buy things that they don"t really need. We are
encouraged to do things which make us feel happy. Like the ads say on television,
"Because I"m worth it." The truth is we don"t need all the things we are told to buy.
But we buy them anyway because there is pleasure in the feeling of having something
that isn"t a necessity. We indulge ourselves and in that indulgence we lose self
control. That loss of self control has nothing to do with the individual. It has more to
do with how our society dictates we should live. Everyone needs to be rich and own a
BMW and marry a model and be happy all the time. For those who cannot live out
that American Dream, there is an easy and more affordable dream: Drugs.
We have to remember that they key to a healthy drug relationship is to use
drugs in moderation, and not for the wrong reasons. It is important to keep in mind
that drugs effect the body and the mind as well. Addiction is prevalent when the user
can"t simple walk away from the drug and not miss it in some way or feel some type of
withdrawal. We have to also understand that it is ok to feel the pleasure that drugs
give to us. I will never condemn the use of drugs for recreational purposes, however
we must each individually take responsibility for our own health and know when it is
time to step away from a drug. Drug use does not always lead to addiction, but
because pleasure is such a powerful drug within itself, it is easy to become dependent
on something synthetic. Rather than relying on drugs for that pleasure high it is
important to seek out other things besides drugs that induce the same types of pleasure.


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