The Principle of Equalization

The principle of equalization says that any sensory change will have its compensating counter-movement that will 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 pleasure-seeker will often end up in the same position as someone who actually avoided it.

For example, indulging in sweet food is both to excite that sense and also to blunt it 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 its intensity is doubled.

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 urges make it out to be.

This is why in the long term anyone choosing more wholesome 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.

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. 

The 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. 

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 will optimize for health and take pleasure when and where we can.

We find that the compounding effects of health on awareness – and thus our choices – and awareness back onto health are powerful and beneficial, a virtuous circle indeed.

Understanding as art and science