“Directly after copulation the devil’s laughter is heard.” – Arthur Schopenhauer
- The Hedonic Reset Point: Striving exclusively for outcome. Outcome dependence leads to overall dissatisfaction it is here the “devils laughter is heard.”
- Unconscious Pursuit of Pleasure Leads to Conscious Pursuit of Pain: Mindless hedonism & destruction
- Developing A Grounding Discipline To Gain Power: Pleasure comes from the process itself & outcome independence.
- We Have True Power Now: In this sense, true power is predicated on mastery of a craft.
The Hedonic Reset Point
We want what we want and though we receive it, we aren’t satisfied. I’ve been told that the devil comes to us in the form of everything we’ve ever wanted. I’ve been told that we should be careful what we wish for because we just might get it. These proverbs are all predicated on one theme.
We start off with a desire, we stoke this desire to a point where it burns within us and churns our pistons which propels us into striving to obtain it. This is a healthy way to commence engaging our desires but can turn pathological once misguided. Once we have obtained our desire, this thing, we get our fill of it. It is akin to that post orgasmic clarity. It’s that refractory period in which we are left in the wet spot: cold, numb and sticky.
More often than not we are so focused on the end game that we aren’t fully enjoying the present moment during the process. We dither from where we were to where we want to be, from hopeless depression to anxiety. When we focus on where we were/are in comparison to the endgame we get depressed from hopelessness due to the gap, when we focus on the future exclusively in regard to the impending pleasure or reward, we get anxious. We can hardly contain the excitement. We plot out our plan, moving from point A to Z. We start at point A then go into a fugue state, end up at Z, receive the reward, get the dopamine ticks, enter the refractory period which is characterized by the “devil’s laughter.”
Unconscious pursuit of pleasure leads to conscious pursuit of pain
At this point we skip the striving altogether and go straight to pleasure seeking just for the sake of pleasure, outcome dependence. We indulge in hedonism to its fullest extent, engaging in any and everything that gives us the tingles. We reach the heights of pleasure. Once that height is reached, there is no where else to go but down. We seek pain as a source of pleasure. We engage in violent, thrill seeking activities. At this point, inflicting pain not only on ourselves, but others, becomes a cherished past time, a hobby that thrills us into euphoria.
Developing a grounding discipline to gain power
The path to mastery is the panacea to this pathological behavior. When engaging in a craft for the sake of engaging in the craft as opposed to seeking pleasure for it’s own sake, we forego the emptiness of base pleasure identification. The path to mastery is being in love with the process itself rather than the outcome of the craft. This is called outcome independence. This is the single most powerful thing the human mind can partake in. Pure genius is developed through the forging of the mind under the stress of a path to mastery. Under the process, the toil of mastering a craft, we transform into the actualized version of ourselves. We become like a torch that is capable of lighting other torches. This is called being of service to others.
We have true power now
We’ve mastered ourselves via our path to mastery of a craft. Now what do we do with it? We have the option of going back down the path of self-destructive hedonism. We can use our newly found power to attempt to light the torch in others. Even if it is one person who we reach, that is a win.
So, what have we learned? Essentially, it is much more beneficial to take the time to go deep within ourselves to find a passion that is not predicated on material wealth. Material wealth will come, ironically, when we don’t focus on it. When we focus on a passion, something that wakes us up and gets us going and something that keeps us up at night, we become to immune to emptiness.