The Principle of Equalization

It’s counter-intuitive but restricting choice, crossing out options, raises the intensity of what remains in a process automatic and self-stabilizing. For example avoiding sweet food eventually heightens our tastes to the complex flavors and latent sweetness of non-sugary alternatives. In general any change in our habits has this self-regulating property of long term equalization of pleasure; any loss or gain is insubstantial and transitory. To abruptly move above or below the original level is only to asymptotically approach it again with time. This constant chase after pleasure ends with no more than when we started 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. The realization arrives contrary to our assumptions that health is the variable we control and pleasure is what’s fixed. Instead of selecting for pleasure and ignoring health we optimize for health and without a mad pursuit take pleasure when and where we can.

Insight as art and science