The principle of equalization means that any repeated sensory experience will have its compensating counter-movement in calibration that will in the longer term partially cancel it out. It has particular significance for anyone seeking pleasure, that is every human who’s ever lived. It has such power that a frantic seeker of pleasure will ultimately gather it no more than someone who made no attempt to seek it out at all.
For example, indulging in sweet food is both to excite and blunt that sense so that eventually our tastes become deadened, needing ever stronger formulations to be aroused. Whereas if we largely avoid the sweet that sense becomes so heightened to complex flavors and latent sweetness that any normal intensity is multiplied.
Is total pleasure actually increased by avoiding it? What is the path that maximizes pleasure? It’s hard to say but it’s clear that things are not as simple as our innate childish urges make it out to be.
The degree of pleasure is in proportion to the long term restriction of it. One freely available and indulged in is soon not a pleasure at all but a joyless urge.
This is why in the long term anyone choosing more wholesome and less pleasurizing foodstuffs will not suffer any loss in joy of eating and if anything in the very long term this joy will increase beyond what it was originally.
Any loss or gain in pleasure is self regulating and transitory; to abruptly move above or below the original level of pleasure is only to asymptotically approach it again with time. Do what we may; we largely end up where we started.
To gain is to lose. Always. And to lose is to gain…sometimes.
The constant chase after pleasure ends with gaining no more than when we began and with generally worse health for our troubles. This being true we may as well forget pleasure-seeking altogether and choose for the greatest well-being.
If, contrary to our usual assumptions, well-being is the variable we control and pleasure is largely fixed then instead of selecting for pleasure and ignoring health we would do better to optimize for health and take pleasure when and where we can as it naturally and sometimes unexpectedly arises.
We find that the compounding effects of health on awareness – and through that our choices – and awareness back onto health are powerful and beneficial, a virtuous circle indeed.
And what are we but our judgment? Indeed our lives are the crystalized expression of our choices.