Val has evolved his own model of a happy and out-of-box processing of the reality with different techniques and routinized daily practices.
A Strange Sensory Tandem
Did you know that the same chemical compound that gives odor to feces is used in the production of some of the finest perfumes on the market?
And not only that, but you may have never thought that it's also used in making chocolates. That chemical is called skatole and in mammals it is a derivative of the amino acid tryptophan.
As we are about to see, this strange tandem of an unpleasant stimulus and our neurobiology of reward and pleasure could be found in many more examples. If anything, it definitely points at the fact that at one level of our nature, opposite emotions may be much closer to one another than we would suspect it.
I have cultivated my hysteria with pleasure and terror.
-- Charles Baudelaire
Laughing or Crying -- Which One Is It?
Let's start with something very familiar; albeit something that we hardly ever see as strange.
It's this fact that the same stomach muscles and diaphragm are utilized in both, a happy belly laughter and a spasmodic, uncontrollable sobbing.
As you know, we can also laugh to tears, while hysterical folks take it to the next level by actually blending laughter with crying, so you can't tell what the heck they actually feel.
It is for this network of nerves located at our solar plexus, interestingly called "second brain" in some Far East philosophical disciplines, whereas here in the western hemisphere we like calling it "guts".
From the laughter and sobbing example we can deduct that it will cater with the sam energy to completely opposite emotional outlets.
Now, how is that for weird.
The trouble with hypochondriac these days is that antibiotics have cured all the good diseases.
-- Caskie Stinnett
Who Hasn't Seen One Yet?
There is something slightly pathological, albeit innocent in the tendency of so many folks to obsess over their nonexistent, imaginary ailments and health conditions -- usually called hypochondriasis.
My best definition of a hypochondriac is "someone who only feels good when they feel bad."
Constantly spying on their body and panicking over any apparent irregularity, such folks may be a true definition of a pain in the ass to their families, friends, coworkers, or anyone forced by politeness to listen to their incessant health complaints.
What makes it really weird is that they are deriving quite some crazy pleasure out of getting some extra attention, packed with some phrases of untrue compassionate "understanding".
Inside every sadist is a masochist cringing to taste his own medicine.
-- Robert Ebert
Pleasure of Self-Tormenting
Somewhat similar are those so called "masochists" who, with a dark passion torment themselves emotionally, if not physically as well.
Reason for that peculiar behavior is usually a deep seated self-hate treated with a self-punishment for their irrational guilt. It's probably nowhere else pronounced as much as in religious fundamentalism -- we may also call it fanaticism -- as those believers specializing in matters of "sinfulness" turn it against themselves.
Painfully aware of their "unholy" urges, along with the whole package of "unforgivable human imperfection for which their religious idol sacrificed his life in vain" -- there they go tormenting themselves.
Oftentimes they don't do it just emotionally but also with a bad health, believing that the "divine justice is being done" and masochistically enjoying in the process of it.
While hypochondriacs enjoy in complaining about their bad health, masochists enjoy in "deserving it".
A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.
-- Edward R. Murrot
Bad News Feeling So Good
One could almost be tempted to call "borderline masochists" all those folks who can't enjoy their morning coffee without reading or watching the news -- all that crap about those fresh murders in town, rapes, arsons, natural disasters -- even if they are happening in the opposite side of the world, burglaries, court cases, and of course, their dessert -- political circus.
It's like they need to be pissed off at somebody or something in order to get their body's engine going first thing in the morning. Hey, they even call it "a normal need to be informed".
I call it an unnecessary cocktail of adrenaline and cortisol (two stress hormones, for anyone who didn't know), plus they need it for maintenance of their crappy and gloomy worldview. As if telling themselves: "A-ha, what did I say, this world is coming to an end".
It's truly beyond me why people enjoy torturing themselves with such a passion over something where they have absolutely no control to change it. It's almost as if they think how, "if they are only pissed enough, those Democrats/Republicans may disappear from the political scene".
Irritating Entertainment -- A Weird Source of Pleasure
It must be for mentalities like those loaded with depression that so many tear-jerker movies become box-office sensations, which can also explain the big number of seasons of certain TV soap operas.
Such entertainment specimens are feeding the emotional needs of those misery-craving audiences making them so unhappy that they are enjoying every scene. By empathizing with the suffering main character, they are allowing their own inner mess to surface a little and get discharged. Good for them, shrinks are too expensive and they don't do much anyway.
Or take all those musical hits, even a whole musical subculture of that screaming in notes. How the heck does that pass for music, with that musical agonizing, hysteria, and discharging of unhappiness sounding much like an ultimate psychological suicide.
How can anyone enjoy that crescendo crap?
I don't think it's a matter of taste, much more like a symptom of cultural ailment to be diagnosed as "anything goes". What kind of the massive Primal scream therapy is going on there indeed?
If Not Painful -- Why Those Faces?
As we further look into these strange examples of expressions suggesting both pain and pleasure, how could we miss the fact that our facial expressions during love making are those of pain. not pleasure. Indeed, it's more like noticing your mother-in-law at your doorsteps -- than a display of officially the highest level of pleasure our nervous system can produce.
What a bunch of dirty tricks can our nature play on us.
Something similar we could witness with those passionate violin or piano performers who seem to go into some kind of "painful ecstasy". Ever seen those Argentine tango dancers displaying the same?
And there, for our last example, we go to those Oscar winners, giving that gratitude speech and wiping their eyes.
O.K., it seems like I have run out of examples, but I certainly hope that I made a little point here. Really, how close in our emotional nature are suffering and joy?
I also hope some of you had fun reading, while I surely had fun writing it.
© 2022 Val Karas