We Don’t Want Pleasure; We Just Want the Pain to End | Summary and Q&A

October 13, 2022
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We Don’t Want Pleasure; We Just Want the Pain to End


Consumerism and the pursuit of pleasure create a cycle of desire and dissatisfaction, hindering true satisfaction and happiness.

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Key Insights

  • 🚚 Pleasure and happiness are not the same; pleasure often fails to deliver lasting satisfaction.
  • 🏍️ Consumerism perpetuates the cycle of desire and dissatisfaction, making it harder to reach happiness.
  • 🖤 Experiencing the lack of something creates discontentment, and the fulfillment of desire brings temporary relief.
  • ❤️‍🩹 Satisfaction is a negative experience, characterized by the end of pain and desire.
  • 🥺 Consumerism leads to environmental problems, stress, debt, and mental health issues.
  • ❓ There are different approaches to address the pitfalls of consumerism, such as asceticism, practicing moderation, or seeking intellectual pleasures.
  • 👅 Developing a taste for simple pleasures and appreciating what we have can reduce the desire for unnecessary consumption.


Pleasure. We’re all after it in some way or another. Some limit themselves or are limited to simple pleasures. Others live lavishly, spending fortunes indulging in expensive delights just to experience a bit of satisfaction – and our consumerist culture encourages this. And thus, we’ve come to believe we need pleasure to feel good (whatever it may ... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Why do we equate pleasure with happiness?

Consumerist culture promotes the idea that pleasure is essential for happiness, causing us to believe that satisfaction is unattainable without it. However, pleasure and happiness are distinct experiences.

Q: Why does pleasure often fail to deliver satisfaction?

Pleasure is unpredictable and does not consistently provide the satisfaction it promises. What once provided satisfaction may not do so in the future, leading to a continual pursuit for more pleasure.

Q: How does consumerism contribute to our sense of lack and dissatisfaction?

Consumerism convinces us that we need more and more external goods to be happy, which deepens our inherent sense of dissatisfaction. The more we answer our desires, the stronger they become, making it difficult to reach satisfaction.

Q: What is the relationship between desire and happiness?

The desire for something creates a sense of lack and debt until that desire is fulfilled. However, true happiness comes from the cessation of desire and the experience of contentment.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Consumerist culture encourages the belief that pleasure is necessary for happiness, leading to the constant pursuit of satisfaction.

  • Pleasure is inconsistent and does not consistently deliver the happiness it promises.

  • Desire and the fulfillment of desires create a cycle of dissatisfaction, as new desires continually arise.

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