Stop Wanting Casual Sex

Got a question on Reddit:

Hey, I saw your post on [removed] and it hit a nerve. “I stopped pursuing sex with random women.” I’m a former sedditor, was reasonably successful PUA about 6-7 years ago, got into a relationship, but now married.

I still remember casual sex as intoxicating. I never felt so alive as having success with random women, I loved it. I still yearn for that experience. I’ve lived a good/varied life: married to a good woman, good friends, professional success, traveling around the world, skydiving, motorcycling, mountaineering. I’ve had people die in my hands, I’ve saved people’s life.

But nothing quite gives me that thrill that I had with casual sex.

I’m wondering what changed in your life to make you stop wanting that? Or if you do still enjoy it, could you clarify your position? I think about this a lot and don’t know many folks from the rationality community do.

Thanks

————–

And I answered that question:

Hey [removed] thanks for saying hi!

In short – casual sex still feels physically good but it doesn’t have the psychological reward it once did. This is because of an evolved worldview (from my studies and life experience) where I find it better long-term for both me and others to not pursue casual sex.

In long (this got out of hand when I started typing but I felt my story necessary to explain my answers to your difficult, and important questions)…

I got into pickup pretty immediately after graduating from college. I graduated a virgin, and had been plagued by sexual insecurities since middle school. I found the game community through Patrice O’Neal standup of all places, which led me to Heartiste, RSD, and the likes. I found these around the same time I started lifting weights and feeling good about my career.

I started becoming attractive. Both physically (weight lifting and social skills developed from game), and I started to feel attractive internally. Results followed (and reinforced both the internal and external feelings).

Losing my virginity was big, but it didn’t “solve” my problem. I became obsessed. For about 2 years I was going out to bars 5-6 nights a week hitting on women with the intention of having sex. And I had lots of sex.

This obsession led to indulgence. I became psychologically addicted to it all. The chase, the flirting, the sex, the sense of intimacy. You’re absolutely right that it was a thrill. Casual sex is a conquest. Like your mountaineering and skydiving, it is an accomplishment of a goal that we are rewarded for our efforts. Unlike mountaineering and skydiving, the conquest is another person. It’s primal, it’s animalistic, it’s *powerful*. It is awesome.

At least, that’s how I felt in the moment. In hindsight, it was the similar sense of power that comes with a good drag from a cigarette – it made me feel strong and powerful, but I didn’t feel as strong and powerful without *it* (nicotine, women).

After 3 years immersed in game, I started to doubt my end game. My end game was *happiness* and my method was to become the most attractive person I could. In the process, I destroyed my inhibitions and insecurities (which I see as a good thing), but I started to feel this wasn’t the ultimate good.

I took my “main chick” at the time as my monogamous girlfriend as sort of a personal experiment. I wanted to see if this was truly an unhealthy addiction and if I could find happiness without the constant pursuit. Not the best reason for entering a relationship (lol) but it was radically different from what I’d been doing.

Around the same time, again, I found my reading evolving. Instead of game blogs, I started reading a lot of old great texts. The latest on rationality is great, and Scott’s the best writer I know in this “sphere” but most writing on virtue and happiness is just boring regurgitation of the wisdom contained in old epic poems and religious texts. Those are easily dismissed because they’re 1) old and 2) didn’t show their data. More psych communities should start with the hypothesis that the old wisdom (eg biblical) is true and work to disprove it. /side rant lol

These old books preach virtue as the path to happiness. Virtue mostly being defined as living in accordance with nature while rejecting the pursuit of things (money, status, sex). Sex for me was the big one. I removed my want for money and status in my pursuit of sex as a PUA. Now, I wanted to focus on removing the unhealthy desire for constant sex and female attention.

This led to changing how I view the women I was interacting with and my actions. When I was in pickup, I saw the highest goods as *being attractive* and *honesty*. If I was attractive, as long as I was being honest, I was doing “the right thing”. For example, I always told girls I wasn’t monogamous and wouldn’t take them on dates to “get their hopes up” to keep their expectations in-line.

This is what changed, for me, the shared thrill you and I had with casual. Casual sex is fun, but it’s certainly not the ultimate good. I see what I was doing to women (even when they all enjoyed it) as ultimately destructive. I was giving myself hits of heroin by having sex with them, and I was giving them heroin at the same time. I was making them want more heroin, instead of *not wanting things* which makes a relationship based on virtue possible.

I know I keep making drug references but I’m not an addict and I don’t really have an addictive personality lol. It’s just for comparison, and I think it’s a fair comparison. Also I promise I’m not a Bible-thumping religious zealot. I just see a lot of wisdom in the Bible (and similar old books), and more and more modern science backing that up (short version: happiness isn’t found in hedonistic pursuit).

Now I see virtue as the highest good, and the true path to happiness, which I see as a *true contentedness*. I highlight this because it must be genuine – you must want this contentedness instead of secretly wanting attention from the hottie at the gym. I see this also in the case of relationships. Relationships based on this virtue (where each other’s happiness is the goal and virtue is the means) are much more likely to last than trying to maintain your attraction and attractiveness as the primary reason for the relationship (which, by definition, will fade over time). My reason for being in my monogamous relationship evolved over time, and that relationship eventually ended, but I’m grateful for all the experiences.

I’m happy to talk more about any of this.

I’m also happy to hear that you’re now married. I’m truly envious of that, and I hope you search for beauty and happiness in that and in you. Because it isn’t elsewhere… I looked 🙂

Heartiste and GBFM, the Best Of Collections

I do not own any of this content. I’m just a fan of Heartiste and GBFM’s work. Someone else compiled Heartiste’s. I put the GBFM book together. If anyone has a problem with me hosting this, let me know and I’ll take it down.

For those that don’t know, Heartiste is one of the best writers on game/relationships. His blog was banned. GBFM Great Books for Men is a poet/renaissance man that posted comments on Heartiste and Dalrock. He’s more interested in restoring honor and virtue to the world than game. For that reason, I thought about only posting GBFM’s book, but Heartiste helped shape me into the man I am today, so maybe he’ll have a positive influence on you and your relationships.

Heartiste will make you attractive. GBFM will make you happy. I recommend the latter.

Best of Heartiste: https://gofile.io/?c=Ed3lz4

Best of GBFM: https://gofile.io/?c=STDr0d

Stoicism FAQ

  1. What is stoicism?

From wikipedia, which I think provides a great definition:

Stoicism is a philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to eudaimonia (happiness) for humans is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or fear of pain, by using one’s mind to understand the world and to do one’s part in nature’s plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly.

The Stoics are especially known for teaching that “virtue is the only good” for human beings, and that external things—such as health, wealth, and pleasure—are not good or bad in themselves

Basically, not wanting material things and finding our sole meaning in acting virtuously which, the stoics propose, is how we can achieve happiness by living the present. Virtue basically means not wanting things.

 

  1. Who are “the stoics”?

From Daily Stoic:

It had three principal leaders. Marcus Aurelius, the emperor of the Roman Empire, the most powerful man on earth, sat down each day to write himself notes about restraint, compassion and humility. Epictetus endured the horrors of slavery to found his own school where he taught many of Rome’s greatest minds. Seneca, when Nero turned on him and demanded his suicide, could think only of comforting his wife and friends.

 

  1. Isn’t ambition good?

Ambition can be a good thing. The problem is that ambition – having a strong desire to accomplish, is often aimed at a goal that was developed with external influence. We are chasing a goal that we desire not because it is good for us, or will make us happier, but because of outside influences that are directing us to want things.

When we want things, we are necessarily not free. We can work hard to achieve and get those things that we desire (something, success with women, a promotion), but it doesn’t solve the problem that we want things.

Stoicism teaches to stop wanting things. To be an ambitious stoic is to be a by-the-book stoic – to renounce pleasures and most all things society asks us to participate in. Stoicism is internal work with internal reward, rather than working on external appearances or results.

 

  1. Then what do you do all day?

As a stoic, you don’t have to do anything. But you can do anything. The point is to be perfectly content at all times. It’s to find beauty in any moment.

Your Senecas and Epictetuses would probably be big fans of meditation. Simply sitting and being still for large amounts of time. Walking in nature. Appreciating nature. Being in love with someone who loves you and raising a family.

These are things that you can enjoy in the moment and that can keep you in the moment. The stoics stress living in the moment because it means you aren’t living in the future (wanting something different) or living in the past (regretting or wishing things were different). Happiness is found in the present moment, and no other.

 

  1. Aren’t experiences a good thing? Travel, etc?

This largely goes back to the ambition question. Experiences aren’t bad. It’s helpful to be a strong, well-rounded individual. This helps with stoicism because you will be more able to be content in the moment.

There are a couple problems with travel and racking up adventures or other experiences. One is that you don’t need to travel to get a unique experience. There are new experiences waiting for you in nature, at the sports bar down the street, and with the person walking past you in the crosswalk.

When we look to travel to give us new experiences, we ignore the beauty and the variety that surrounds us every day.

Don’t do that.

 

  1. What if I want my children to live easy lives?

People don’t live easy lives. While I think it is important for a person to be happy to be well-educated, most of that education will come outside of school systems. Your peer group and the influences your child is exposed to will have a tremendous effect on his upbringing and his opportunity for happiness.

Does your child start wanting at a young age – the newest toy or video game in the commercial and develop insecurities from children’s magazines? Or is he outside being creative with his friends with sticks and rocks in the park?

Do you work 80 hours a week so he can go to a great college, but put him in front of a screen so that you can stay focused on your job? Or do you go out to the park with him to foster that creativity and enthusiasm for play?

Wanting the best for your child, like most things, can have different meanings. Society’s definition of good life for your child might mean he has access to all the video games and snacks that he wants. Your definition might be he develops a joy of reading and makes friends easily. These require different types of parenting.

 

  1. Can you stop wanting without achieving success?

Yes.

This is a tough one. I’m not poor. I have decent savings. Marcus Aurelius was the emperor of Rome at the peak of its power. It can be easy for us to say “stop wanting things” because we either have it all or have the option to have things that other people want. We have achieved “success”, to some extent, in the material world. Can this stoicism, this virtue, this lack of wanting, be achieved without first having that material abundance?

Stoicism can be practiced by anyone. It is probably more difficult to leave the material world once some success has been found. There is always more you can have. More money, more things, more friends, more status. No one will ever have more than everyone else in all these things. Especially when their metric is determined by others.

Once we achieve some success, we are rewarded. We get the promotion, and we get more money that we can buy things with. We buy a car and our neighbor gives us props on having a cool car. We charm the girl, and are rewarded with an orgasm.

These rewards are temporary, but they reinforce that we are doing the right thing. So, we continue to strive for more money, promotions, cars, and women.

 

  1. Isn’t stopping a pursuit just weakness or sloth?

No.

To change course, to stop a pursuit that you were working on because it no longer aligns with the person you want to be is one of the smartest things you can do.

There is a distinction to be made with weakness and sloth. Your virtue, your rejection of material things, must be genuine. If you are not honest when you are practicing stoicism, you will secretly envy others who achieve success, while you gloat to your friends that you don’t want things and quote the old stoics or my FAQ.

You cannot be happy while pretending to be stoic and virtuous. Honesty is a virtue, and all other virtues are false if you are not honest. To be virtuous in a world that discourages contentment and virtue requires more courage and strength than anything else in life. It is the opposite of sloth and weakness.

The strength is mostly internal. You are not signalling your intelligence or muscles to the world, so you are not externally rewarded for your strength. That is why, from the outside, it can appear as if you are weak and lazy. But if you are honest and virtuous, you will be unaffected when others call you names to try to bring you down. They chose their path, the material path, and yours conflicts with theirs. They live for external rewards, so just as it is important for them to be seen in the new sports car, it is important for them to be seen as strong and intelligent.

Strength and honor.

Arguments against evolution are more practical than arguments against God. Change my mind.

[Note: I wrote this post for R/Atheism. It was kind of a troll post but also there’s meaning behind the argument I make. I didn’t expect an intellectual discussion to follow, and I didn’t get one. I also didn’t expect zero people to get the argument. I got a louder version of what I expected, “You don’t believe in evolution you RETARD that’s now how evolution works.” I’m paraphrasing. They don’t use the word retard on r/atheism because it’s inappropriate. It’s a weird subreddit.]

Argument against God: there is no physical evidence of a superior being/creator. Therefore we should not believe in the concept. If presented with physical evidence, we will change our mind.

Argument against evolution: we didn’t evolve from monkeys because there are still monkeys. Science is trying to destroy our connection with God, whose message is that we don’t need things to be happy.

By practical, I mean that which leads to the most long-term individual happiness/contentment.

The problem with the arguments above is there is lots of wisdom in the Bible and in finding contentment not through hedonistic pursuits but rather by rejecting vice and our “animal” instincts – which lead to more cravings. The Bible isn’t the only source that discusses hedonistic pleasure, you can build this up from science, but science lags behind religion in this department.

So while evolution is true, its findings don’t lead to further individual happiness but only lead to more addictions. We can fall back on the excuse “we’re just animals” but that’s a weak excuse, given our cognitive abilities that aren’t shared by other animals. There are all sorts of incentives at play by companies and grant approvers to prioritize theories that will lead to more profits. There isn’t much profit in the rejection of consumerism and vice, so there are lots of natural forces working against the theory of God.

I am not denying evolution. I’m saying the arguments against God are not that helpful to the individual’s long-term happiness given this context. Truth is an important element in happiness – one cannot deny the truth willingly and be happy. But also, one cannot deny the truth repeated in history that chasing simple pleasure doesn’t lead to long-term happiness.

Belief in God is more practical than belief in evolution. Change my mind.

Kill Your White Whale

I just finished Moby Dick by Melville. This is a book report. 

 

The great sea monster haunts many dreams and many imaginative stories. Moby Dick is one of largest, darkest, great sea monsters. The cursed white whale brings his size, strength, and aggression against anyone that tries him. He lies in the remotest parts of the deep, mysterious ocean. Everything about the beast inspires fear.

The deep ocean was the source of Captain Ahab’s mission in life. Ahab was a whaler that had his leg bit off by the evil Moby Dick. This attack, and the loss of his leg, introduced chaos to Ahab’s life. He wasn’t complete with the whale out there swimming around. Then, he sought revenge. He needed to kill Moby Dick.

The imagery is powerful. Ahab needs to go to the deepest depths of the mysterious ocean to fight the mighty sea monster to restore his own order. In the Bible and other mythologies this sea monster imagery is used metaphorically. Here, literally.

One example of the whale in popular stories is its use in Pinocchio. Pinocchio becomes detached from his father and in doing so loses the order that was in his life. He must combat the scariest creature (whale!) in the scariest, most unknown deep part of the ocean. Only there is Pinocchio’s father Geppetto found so that order can be restored. Spoiler alert.

For Pinocchio, reward was restoring the wisdom and order maintained by Geppetto. Geppetto kept Pinocchio sheltered from the darkness of the world during Pinocchio’s younger years. Pinocchio wanted that shelter back – that sense of order, more than anything. He faced his fears and conquered and returned Geppetto.

For Ahab, the world is without order until the white whale is dead. It is his mission to go out, fight the winds and oceans and defeat his rival.

The greatest rewards in life are found by facing the greatest fears and uncertainties and defeating them. For Ahab, reward would have been found by ending the monster that was the source of malevolence that interrupted his career and took his leg. He felt his calling to restore order in an ocean that contains his source of chaos so that he could sail uninhibited.

To restore order to Ahab’s world, many other elements had to be in order. The Pequod, the ship, had to be in order. The individual boats that departed the Pequod to deliver the harpoons had be in order. He had to be in order. Only then could the whale be destroyed, or even an attempt made at the great whale.

The other passengers on the Pequod, the ship in pursuit of Moby Dick with Ahab at the helm, can be seen as the different voices in all of us. They are our collective conscious. There’s Starbuck, who is the voice of reason. He is calm and virtuous and speaks in facts. There is Stubbs, who is funny and skilled but reckless. The Farsi represents the evil that is within all of us. Ahab is the passion that is a part of all of us. Not a sensual passion, but one driven by meaning. He isn’t complete until he accomplishes his mission. Or, of course, dies trying.

In a more literal sense, the others on the ship make us question our mission as it relates to our social responsibility and our commitment to do good to others. Do we have a right to pursue a danger that can hurt or kill others?

Ahab asks this question to his crew. The crew consents – they will join Ahab on his death-mission. But, as we’ve seen from the #metoo movement, consent can be a funny subject. When the Pequod is finally in hot pursuit of Moby Dick, the crew changes sides and some crew members express a wish to stop the pursuit. At Ahab’s insistence, they don’t. Now, dissenting seamen could have abandoned the ship and the crew and taken one of the smaller boats, but all chose to stay.

We find meaning in serving our family and other people. Not only is there a camaraderie that was built over years traveling the seas together, but the passengers onboard the Pequod shared a commitment to the mission and to serving one another. Ahab, however reckless, united the ship against this whale that must be killed. The others on the boat had their role their job on the ship (blacksmith, harpooner, mate). All supported the mission and were a necessary piece of the Pequod puzzle. Their honor laid in their commitment to the mission.

Ahab was blinded by his passion. We see him make mistake after mistake after avoiding sensical advice from his mates. In the end, this not only kills him, but kills all his mates as well. Spoiler alert.

I have faced my deepest fears and insecurities and come out on top. For ten years from middle school through college I suffered as a virgin that wanted to have sex and didn’t. I felt weak and insignificant because I wasn’t recognized by the other sex and rewarded with intimacy and sex. I needed to have sex. My lack of it affected my confidence which affected my relationships, my draw to other vices, and my mood. I was angry. Women became my mission.

Getting good with women was the first time I killed a white whale in my life. I had to fight off every insecurity by facing the deepest fears in my psyche and in living form. I had to build the social skills to maneuver nightlife, dating, and seduction. I obsessed, and then I conquered. I had to achieve with women, and I couldn’t move on until I did.

Yes, in life we can change course. When the crew presented evidence that Ahab should change course, the new options should have been weighted. We can always change course. But that must be a fully conscious decision. The new mission, the new passion, must be greater than original.

When faced with a great problem, the best approach is the most direct route. Stand up to the most fearful aspect of the source of pain and defeat it. You don’t kill other sperm whales and take time on a windy path to your goal. This is inefficient at best, and procrastinating damnation at worst.

There was never a plan B with Ahab. Although multiple whales were killed on the way to Moby Dick, they never interrupted his mission. Other sperm whales were killed and drained of their profitable oil which, in the end, was spilled over the ocean. These supplementary whales ultimately did not aid the capture of Moby Dick and, when the ship was destroyed and the crew killed, proved unprofitable financially.

When I sought out to attract women, I faced this decision. I could have built up less direct skills in order to attract women. If I built up my career and focused on making money, maybe one day a woman would love me for the resources I could provide. I could have spent more time in the gym and tried to become more beautiful. I could have learned an instrument or become a club promoter. I chose instead to build a personality that encompassed the wit, creativity, strength, and confidence characteristic of the master of each of those activities. I became sexy – no matter what I was doing.

Ahab had to kill the white whale – the source of his pain and frustration. In the end, he failed, but he failed attacking his pain and frustration head-on, and there is great honor in that.

Question is, should he have done it? Should Ahab have continued with his drive towards this grim reaper, where he faced probable death, or would he have been more miserable at home where he was safe?

While it was a destructive ambition, I argue, that for Ahab, it was a necessary ambition. If Ahab didn’t leave home and confront the whale he never would have been content with the whale swimming around in the ocean.

To die working towards your mission is to die with honor. To die any other way is to die with regret. To die with regret is shameful. Regret means we know there is something we should be doing, and we choose not to. It means we know there’s a whale that’s a source of chaos and unknown and fear, and we know that within the chaos is great reward, and we choose not to venture and capture the reward.

I killed Moby Dick when I became an attractive man capable of receiving intimacy from women.

These days, I’m fighting a new Moby Dick. I want to build a profitable business so that I can quit my day job. That is my new white whale that I must conquer.

This time, I’m better equipped. I killed a white whale once. I’ll do it again. Hunting whales itself is a skill. So is hunting the white whales – the biggest, meanest, most challenging source of fear. It is these monsters that instill so much fear that are the source of all great things.

What is your white whale?

That didn’t explain monogamy

I watched another trash show that cloaks itself as “science” yesterday. This one, a new Netflix show called Explained: Monogamy, set out to explain how we are not meant to be monogamous and that culture instituted monogamy to suppress people’s sexual desires. 

The show goes further. They take this fact and draw the conclusion that because sex with lots of people is natural because it feels good, we should therefore do it.

The documentary is right – it is unnatural to suppress our sexual appetites. And yes, that’s exactly why marriage and monogamy came about. That’s the point of marriage and monogamy.  And that’s not a bad thing. 

Monogamy gives us meaning. It’s good for culture. This isn’t because of arbitrary rules. It’s healthy when men at the bottom have a chance of receiving intimacy. Women don’t have this problem. Dudes at the top will have sex and share intimacy with many women.

Men at the bottom aren’t afforded that luxury. Men at the bottom do things like shoot up schools and commit crimes when they have no value and don’t receive intimacy.

We don’t just have sex because it feels good. If we did we would be much more eager to fuck the new sex robots and we would be content masturbating. There wouldn’t be angry kids shooting up schools because they have an outlet of their hand and a video. But that’s not what we want. We want intimacy.

Monogamy is a recent invention. That was cited as a reason it shouldn’t exist. You know what else is a recent invention?

Democracy. Modern infrastructure. Transportation.

Society civilized when it became monogamous. No longer were people physically fighting each other to maintain a dominance hierarchy and access to the harem.

With monogamy, the average man had a chance to be with women they didn’t previously have access to. This allowed him to focus on actually being productive instead of fighting for access to pussy.

The documentary says monogamy started for property rights and alliances between families. That’s not true at all. We’ve seen kings and queens marry but kings maintain their harems. Marriage and monogamy did not start to help the one percent. It started to help the 90% that did not have access to women and resources.

90%? Yes. It was, and still is that large of gap between the attractive and unattractive. This is evident in the modern dating world. There’s published data from all the dating apps, but it’s also observable in bars – men find more women attractive than women find men attractive. We don’t date people we don’t find attractive.

Without monogamy, women wouldn’t date 90% of men. It’s because of this phenomenon there aren’t a lot of attractive men. “There’s someone for everyone.” No, there’s not. Not in a society where we go for what’s attractive.

It’s not a bad thing to have freedom and choices. It is a bad thing when there are consequences to those freedoms and choices that women aren’t told about. I want women to have freedom. I want them to be aware of the consequences to those freedoms.

When women chase what’s attractive and don’t enter a monogamous relationship when they are at their peak attractive level, they remove the option to be with a very attractive man (because they too have options). When women settle, they get unhappy because they’ve had “more attractive”. When women are unhappy in a relationship, they leave. Cue divorce rates, split families.

“If marriage wasn’t a thing we wouldn’t have divorce rates.” Sure, but it’s not just men who are unhappy following divorce (which are predominantly initiated by women). Women have been getting less happy for decades (by every measurable measure). This is despite all the freedoms women have been given.

Monogamy should be in place to restrict the options of attractive men – more so than restricting women.

Marriage for love is an even more recent idea. It’s only a few hundred years ago. There were critics. The documentary says there shouldn’t have been – that love is noble. There should have been critics.

Love is largely defined today as the feelings of attraction, which is aimed at those top 10% of men. That leaves scraps for the bottom of men, and started this long journey toward nonmonogamy. Love is to blame for today’s rampant divorce.

Darwin says man surpassed women in cognitive ability because of sex. The documentary says this is sexist. It is. There are differences between men and women and they exist because of sex. Men need to develop our socioeconomic status, intelligence, and social skill in order to receive intimacy. Women don’t. It is sexist. It’s not misogynist.

Are people jealous? Yes. It’s a natural emotion that surfaces when we want something we can’t have but feel entitled to. How about when a woman is monogamous with you (manifests entitlement) and cheats on you? Cue jealousy.

Commitment to monogamy and not the person is a good thing, contrary to the movie. Before love people were committed to monogamy for monogamy’s sake. You could call in and out of love, but you honored he relationship. This goes counter to the modern “do what feels good” mantra.

Relationships based on love don’t hurt the 10% that are attractive. Even relationships with multiple people can work well for these people at the top. These are the people that were interviewed for the film – people with active sex lives, including those with multiple partners.

But this doesn’t apply for the bottom 90% of men – none of whom were interviewed in the making of this documentary. It would have been an entirely different movie, with a different meaning, if it were lonely unattractive outcasts that were interviewed for the film.

Pleasure is natural. We evolved to feel it, and to want to give into it.

Honor is a virtue.

Virtue doesn’t become less attractive, addictive, and with diminishing returns. Pleasure does.

Enter relationships built in something that will last forever.

Buddhism and Christianity

Buddhism and Christianity are closely linked. Deep Eastern philosophy and classic Western philosophy agree on the same core values.

So, too, do many great books. Those of Homer and Virgil and Shakespeare. Apparently. I haven’t read them yet.

The primary thing they agree on – do not give in to pleasure. Pleasure is the root of all evil. All suffering.

From pleasure we see the deadly sins emerge. Lust of the pleasure of women. Gluttony of the pleasure of food and drink. And five other sins.

Pleasure is at the root of the commandments. Thou shalt not seek pleasure in thy neighbor’s wife. Thou shalt not seek pleasure in killing someone, even if your life would be more enjoyable. More pleasurable.

In fact the devil, the tempter, represents the temptation to simple pleasure. The forbidden fruit, the mana in the desert.

In Buddhism, we learn pleasure is the root of all suffering, and that this suffering is inherent in all humans. In psychology, Buddhism is validated.

All disciplines are connected. Even different philosophies.

In psychology, we learn that the brain evolved to seek pleasure in order to fulfill two animalistic functions: survival and replication.

The modern world feeds on this evolution. It takes advantage of the evolution of the brain. It takes advantage of natural selection. Of our base nature.

We are sold candy which appeals for the same reason fruit of a tree appealed – its sweetness was once a sign of nutrition. Today that sweetness is replicated with processed sugars to give us pleasure.

Sex is awesome and has more obvious survival and replication implications. You either had sex or your genes didn’t replicate and your bloodline thinned and your tribe became smaller and weaker and more threatened by other tribes.

Sex, even the natural act that precedes replication, can be abused.

It is in the search of these pleasures that we find ourselves removed from the moment and we, according to the Buddha, suffer. We are living in the future. Being hopeful of things to change.

Buddhism says to eliminate the need to want pleasure. Buddhism teaches us that this can be reached by meditating. When we meditate, we learn to focus. We focus our thoughts and eliminate being subject to feelings, thoughts, and behaviors we don’t want.

The Bible also teaches us to not seek pleasure. Not just in the commandments, but in the imitation of Jesus. Jesus was repeatedly tempted with pleasure by the devil, which he rejected.

Eve ate the apple god forbid because it was the most attractive. She gave in to pleasure and lived her life in shame.

Now, one doesn’t have to live in shame because they chose pleasure once in their life. But it is shameful to always be needing a high – whether drugs, alcohol, food, or sex.

This chase of pleasure is shameful because it’s enslaving. Needing pleasure is voluntarily submitting to that pleasure and the need of that pleasure.

To be free, one must reject pleasure.

Pleasure is a powerful force with powerful bounds. Those bounds become stronger when pleasure is given into.

Psychology tells us the brain rewards pleasure. We are likely to repeat what is pleasurable, since it feels better than not pleasure.

If a caveman ate a fruit and didn’t die of poison, he was likely to return and eat that fruit. He was rewarded with nutrients which reinforce that he should be eating the fruit.

So, too, the pleasures today encourage us to return. Only now there are billboards and TV commercials and lingerie stores that throw pleasure at you.

If one follows the Buddha and Jesus’ example, he will see that the billboards and TV commercials and lingerie stores are only offering to tighten your own shackles.

At least, according to the Bible, Buddha, psychology, and me.