Author and researcher Robert Greene writes
that our pursuit of pleasure frequently violates a basic element of human nature.
For many of us, work is just an irritating necessity of life.
We’re really motivated to avoid pain and find as much pleasure as possible in our time outside work.
Those pleasures can take many forms: sex, stimulants, eating, shopping, entertainment, gambling, technological fads, games of all sorts, and so on.
But regardless of the form or object, our pursuit tends to lead to diminishing returns.
“The moments of pleasure we get tend to get duller through repetition. We need either more and more of the same or constantly new diversions.”
Our need can become an addiction.
The problem is that this goes against a law of human nature: “ to have deeper levels of pleasure, we have to learn to limit ourselves.”
For example, if you read a variety of books for entertainment in rapid succession, you’ll experience a diminishing sense of satisfaction with each new book.
But if you read one excellent book and absorb yourself in it, this can have a relaxing and uplifting effect as you “discover hidden riches within it.”
And in the moments when you’re not reading the book, you’ll find yourself thinking of it again and again.